Was the chance to see the Secret Service in action worth it? Maybe not. At his pre-Masters press conference, Rory McIlroy talked about his decision to play golf with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in February, a weekend outing that attracted world wide scrutiny.
A reporter asked McIlroy why he’d objected to Muirfield Golf Club’s long-standing reluctance to accept women members but was okay accepting a golf invitation from Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women and bragged about assaulting and harassing women.
McIlroy said that he didn’t believe the two situations were analogous, but he went on to put some distance between himself and the president. “I’ve spent time in President Trump’s company before, and that does not mean that I agree with everything that he says. Actually the opposite,” he said. “But whenever an invitation or a request comes my way, I don’t want to say I jump at the chance, but at the same time, you know, to see the Secret Service, to see the scene, I mean, that’s really what I was going for. I mean, there was not one bit of politics discussed in that round of golf. He was more interested talking about the grass that he just put on the greens.”
Still, McIlroy said he’d think twice before participating in another round of presidential golf given some of the backlash he’s received as a consequence. “Would I do it again? After the sort of backlash I received, I’d think twice about it,” he said.