Rory McIlroy: 'To be called a fascist and a bigot' because I played golf with Trump 'is just ridiculous'

Rory McIlroy on Friday defended his decision to play a round of golf with US President Donald Trump.

McIlroy was one of several people to play golf with Trump at Trump International in Florida last Sunday. McIlroy said afterward that Trump shot around an 80 and “was decent player for a guy in his 70s.”

After receiving criticism from people opposed to Trump, McIlroy posted a statement on Twitter calling the criticism “ridiculous.”

McIlroy said the round of golf did not necessarily mean he supports Trump, but rather respects the office of the president and took him up on the offer.

The statement reads:

“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 that 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 travelled all over the world and have been lucky enough to befriend people from many different countries, belief, and cultures. To be a called a fascist or 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!”

The statement echoes Tom Brady’s defence of his friendship with Trump prior to the Super Bowl. Brady argued that just because you’re friends with someone, it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or do.

McIlroy has not played competitively since January, and is expected to return at the World Golf Championships in Mexico on March 2.

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