Martin Kaymer returns to what he describes as “the best course we play all year” looking to replicate his 2009 victory at Le Golf National.
The German won the Alstom Open de France that year and has finished sixth and fourth in the intervening years.
“I think to be honest with you, I said it many times already in the past, this is the best golf course we play all year, because it's just very difficult, and it requires a lot of different golf shots, especially when it's windy,” said Kaymer, who is still seeking his first win of 2012.
“It makes it even more interesting, especially the last four holes, when it comes down to Sunday when you have a chance to win when you are only two or three shots behind. Even when you are two or three shots behind, it's not over, because they are so difficult, the last four holes.
“I think it's very exciting and it's fun to play because you have to play good golf. You have to strike it very well and you have to hit fairways. I think it requires every part of your game in that particular week. It's challenging, and that's why I believe it's one of the best courses we play all year.
“Memories is one thing, but it's more the whole thing. The golf course is nice - obviously that's the main part - but how the people run the tournament, in what hotel are you staying, the food, the people who are here, the spectators, that makes it the combination. It makes you feel comfortable and that's what I have in Abu Dhabi, what I have here in France. It's just a great tournament overall, and that makes me feel calm and you can really enjoy those weeks.
The former US PGA Champion has had three top-ten finishes without pushing on and really getting into the mix on a Sunday, although he believes a good showing is not far away.
“I don't really get frustrated,” he added. “I need a lot of patience this year, but on the other hand I'm not that surprised that I have not won this year, because I didn't really have proper time to practise.
“At the moment I feel fine. I'm a little tired obviously from all of the last few weeks, but the next six weeks are very important and I'm practising more now and I have more time.
“I cancelled a lot of things in the next few weeks so that I can prepare and practise and have more time for myself, because that's the reason why I play golf, I want to play well.”