Rory McIlroy on round with President Trump: 'I wasn't going to say no'

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Rory McIlroy on round with President Trump: 'I wasn't going to say no'

PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy on round with President Trump: 'I wasn't going to say no'

For those who criticized Rory McIlroy for his recent round of golf with President Donald Trump, McIlroy said he doesn’t agree with the flak he’s received but he understands.

“I was a little bit taken aback by the blow-back I received, but I get why,” McIlroy said to media members, including USA Today, after a practice round for the WGC-Mexico Championship Tuesday in Mexico City.

“I get the divisive rhetoric and everything that was said. It’s a tough place to be in, it’s a tough position. But again, I was just doing what I felt was respectful and the president of the United States phones you up and wants to play golf with you, you know, I wasn’t going to say no.”

McIlroy, who returns this week after a six-week absence because of a stress fracture in one of his ribs, said that he and Trump didn’t talk about politics; it was all golf.

“It’s not as if we were speaking foreign policy out there,” McIlroy said. “We were talking about golf and the grass that he put on the greens and the grass that he’s putting on the greens at Doral. We talked golf the entire day. I think he was happier to talk golf than anything else that he has to do these days.”

McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland but lives in Jupiter, Fla., has also played golf with former President Bill Clinton, but never an active president until he teed it up with Trump.

“I wanted to go there and see 30 Secret Service and 30 cops and snipers in the trees,” McIlroy said. “I mean, it was just a surreal experience for me to see something like that. That was part of the reason I wanted to go and play.”

McIlroy added: “I just wanted to have an experience that I mightn’t ever get, like play golf with a sitting president. You can respect the guy, not respect the guy, I don’t care, but if someone has a chance to play in that scenario and just sort of experience the whole thing, I did it.”

Much to his critics dismay, McIlroy said, “I actually enjoyed myself, I had a good time.”

“I’m sorry if I sort of, I don’t know, pissed people off, but I felt I was in a position where I couldn’t really do anything but say yes, respect the office even if you don’t respect the guy that’s in it, go play and go from there.”

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