Rory McIlroy quit social media after a heated Twitter exchange with a former major champion

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy is taking a break from social media. Tim Bradbury/Getty

Rory McIlroy has never been one to shy away from a fight on the golf course, but when it comes to social media, the four-time major champion may have seen his last battle.

McIlroy, currently in Ireland for the European Tour’s Irish Open, recently revealed that he’s taking an extended break from sites like Twitter and Instagram. This comes just a few weeks after the 28-year-old found himself in a heated exchange with one of the most notorious figures in the golf Twitterverse, 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington.

Just a few hours after McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open for the second straight year, Elkington unloaded with a scathing indictment of McIlroy’s drive and ceiling.

Elkington is well known in the golf world for his strong viewpoints, like when the New Zealander’s 2015 tweets about Michael Sam led to an alleged suspension from the PGA Tour’s senior circuit.

But it seems that this insult really struck a chord McIlroy, because he responded with a convincing comeback.

For most fans, that was the end of it — McIlroy won the exchange. But ever since then, the Northern Irish golfer’s social media accounts have, aside from some promotional material, been strangely quiet, and on Wednesday, he provided the Irish Independent with an explanation.

“I must have wrote that tweet and deleted it about five times before I actually sent it,” he said of the comeback.

“I sort of regret sending it at the end but I actually gave my wife, Erica, my phone and my Twitter and told her, ‘Change my password to something else and don’t tell me what it is.’ So as of the time being, I’m off social media just because of that reason. I don’t need to read it. It’s stuff that shouldn’t get to you and sometimes it does.”

Only time will tell if the break proves helpful to McIlroy’s game — after winning four majors between 2011 and 2014, he’s gone nine starts without another title. He will play two more events, the Irish Open and Scottish Open, before his next opportunity: The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

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