When Rory McIlroy played a round of golf with President Donald Trump Sunday, a lot of people voiced their opinion.
Not very many of them had positive things to say about McIlroy, who has not played professionally since Jan. 15 — when he lost a playoff to Graeme Storm in the South African Open — because of a stress fracture in his ribs, yet found time to play with the president.
McIlroy was critical of Trump while he was running for office, but it appeared he had forgotten at least some of his issues while smiling in a Twitter post after his round with Trump.
Big battle today at Trump International with Clear CEO Garry Singer @McIlroyRory @PaulONeillYES @realDonaldTrump Drain the putt... pic.twitter.com/AZJqEVtlBT
— ClearSports (@ClearSportsLLC) February 19, 2017
McIlroy issued a statement explaining his thought process for playing with the highly controversial new president.
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"I don't agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them," McIlroy said. "Last week I was invited to play golf with the president of the United States. Whether you respect the person who holds the office 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."
Well, unfortunately for McIlroy, that likely won't be enough to end most people's criticism of his round.
But McIlroy further defended himself by addressing some of the criticism that he's a "bigot" or a "fascist" because he played with the president.
"Golf was our common ground, nothing else," he said. "I have 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."