'I’d think twice about it' - Rory McIlroy changes his tune after THAT round of golf with President Trump
Rory McIlroy has admitted he may turn down the chance to play another round of golf with Donald Trump after the huge backlash against his decision to play with US President in February.
McIlroy was forced to accept days of criticism for his decision to accept an offer to play with Trump on his Florida course, with the Irishman belatedly forced to issue a statement on the event that did little to dilute the animosity flowing his way.
Ahead of his attempt to win the Masters that starts in Augusta on Thursday, McIlroy has revisited the subject and it appears that the hostile reaction he was forced to contend with has left a lasting impression.
“I’ve spent time in President Trump’s company before and that does not mean that I agree with everything that he says. Actually the opposite,” McIlroy said.
“We were never in a day and age where we could say those things, but some thought it was appropriate.
“But whenever an invitation or a request comes my way, I don’t want to say I jump at the chance but at the same time, to see the Secret Service, to see the scene, that’s really what I was going for.
“There was not one bit of politics discussed in that round of golf. He was more interested in talking about the grass that he just put on the greens.
“I felt I would have been making more of a statement if I had turned it down. It was a round of golf and nothing more.
“Would I do it again? After the sort of backlash I received, I’d think twice about it.”
McIlroy’s suggestion that he was opposed to many of Trump’s controversial views may be welcomed by some critics of the incident, with his comments now a step forward from the more reserved observations he offered in the aftermath of the round of golf that concluded with him posing for a photo with the US President.
“Whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds,” he wrote in a statement at the time.
“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 travelled 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.”
McIlroy received widespread support from his fellow golfers following the controversy, yet it seems that one of his more contentious decisions of 2017 continues to be a topic of debate ahead of the first major championship of the year.