Rory McIlroy took to Twitter on Friday to defend his decision to play golf with President Donald Trump on the prior Sunday.
McIlroy, who has been out of action since injuring a rib at the South African Open in January, got the invitation to play with President Trump at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Fla., late Saturday. The four-time major winner accepted the invitation to play with Trump and two others in an 18-hole round that White House staff originally billed as Trump playing just a few holes. Unbeknownst to McIlroy, in revealing his round with Trump to No Laying Up, he forced the Trump White House to revise their story.
However, McIlroy could well have known the backlash that was coming from those who do not support Trump, his policies or rhetoric. And, he got it in spades. After five days of hearing criticism that got personal and, in McIlroy’s view, went too far, he felt it important to explain his decision — and perhaps humanize it.
I don’t agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them. Last week, I was invited to play golf with the President of the United States. Wether (sic) you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds. This wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf. Golf was our common ground, nothing else. I’ve traveled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and cultures. To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone’s company is just ridiculous. I hope, to some degree, this clarifies my decision to accept the invitation that was extended to me. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I look forward to making my comeback in Mexico next week!
McIlroy will make his return from injury next week in the WGC-Mexico Championship, playing in a country which has a unique interaction with Trump, even before he came into the Oval Office.