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McIlroy blocks Twitter critic in bid to put row behind him


Rory McIlroy said today that he had blocked American commentator Jay Townsend on Twitter and he would not be responding to his criticisms again.

The golfing sensation was accused of being "childish", "immature" and "a spoilt brat" after launching an extraordinary attack on a former European Tour professional turned commentator who criticised the Ulsterman's "shocking course management" and his caddie.

"Shut up," McIlroy tweeted to Townsend, an American best known for summarising on BBC Radio 5 live. "You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing."

The 22-year-old may risk a fine from the Tour as Townsend is actually at the Irish Open working for European Tour Productions, who broadcast a world feed.

Immediately McIlroy's saintly reputation took a hit in America. The Golf Channel carried the coverage and after hearing of the unseemly row, presenter Erik Kuselias demanded on 'Morning Drive' that McIlroy apologise to former European Tour player Townsend.

"This is childish, immature," said Kuselias. "He comes across as a spoilt brat who feels entitled. This is dumb from someone we've all probably anointed just a little too quickly. I fully expect an apology in the morning."

During his commentary, Townsend was critical of McIlroy's decision-making as he struggled in for a one-under 70 after being four-under after 10 holes yesterday.

He described the 22-year-old's course management as "shocking" and "some of the worst I have ever seen beyond under-10's boys golf competition".

He also said McIlroy should hire Tiger Woods's former caddie Steve Williams, but the world number four stood up for his bag man JP Fitzgerald.

Claiming that Townsend first started criticising Fitzgerald three years ago, McIlroy told Press Association Sport: "This was the first time I've responded - it was the straw that broke the camel's back - but now I've blocked him on Twitter so I won't be reading anything more."