Rory McIlroy responded to critics of his recent round with President Donald Trump via Twitter on Friday, telling his followers that accepting Trump’s invitation was not an endorsement of his policies.
The four-time major winner teed it up with Trump at his course in Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend and faced immediate backlash from fans who interpreted the round as a political statement, whether it was intentional or not.
On Friday, McIlroy sought to clarify his position in hopes of calming the controversy ahead of his scheduled return from a rib injury at next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.
“I don’t agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them,” McIlroy wrote. “Last week, I was invited to play golf with the President of the United States. Wether [sic] you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds. This wasn’t an endorsement nor [sic] a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf.”
McIlroy acknowledged the anger the round had cause but said some of the criticism went too far and expressed his eagerness to put the matter behind him.
“To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone’s company is just ridiculous,” McIlroy wrote. “I hope, to some degree, this clarifies my decision to accept the invitation that was extended to me.”
You can read his full statement below.
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) February 24, 2017