Rory McIlroy last played a round of golf with President Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida in February 2017

By Georgia Slater
May 15, 2020 01:27 PM
Pro Golfer Rory McIlroy Says He Hasn't Played with President Trump Again 'Out of Choice'
Credit: James Wilson/MB Media/Getty; Sarah Silbiger/Getty

Pro golfer Rory McIlroy is opening up about why he hasn't revisited the green with President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, the four-time major winner appeared on the McKellar Golf Podcast where he explained that while he has been invited to play the sport again with the politician, he declined the offer "out of choice."

After the two last played a full round together in February 2017 at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, McIlroy was slammed on social media for his choice to play with the president.

Two months later, McIlroy told reporters that he would have to "think twice" about ever playing with the president again, The Washington Post reported.

The golfer, 31, shared on the podcast that he felt "guilt by association" after being criticized for playing with Trump, and he hasn't "done it since."

However, he noted that the day with him and others was "very enjoyable," stating that Trump was "nice to everyone" on the course.

Donald Trump makes an appearance prior to the start of play and speaks with golfer Rory McIlroy
Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty

"He has something. He obviously has something or he wouldn’t be in the White House, right?" McIlroy continued. "Whatever it is, an X factor, charisma, whatever. Most people that he came across that day he was cordial to, he was nice and personable. That was my only interaction with him the day I had with him."

McIlroy then admitted, “That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything — or in fact anything — that he says.’’

The Northern Ireland native, who has a home near the president's Florida golf club, went on to criticize Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest — there’s something that just is terrible,’’ McIlroy said. “It’s not the way a leader should act. There’s a sort of diplomacy that you need to have, and I don’t think he’s showing that — especially in these times.’’

Trump, a frequent golfer himself, has taken a break from the sport as he's been mostly confined to the White House amid the pandemic.

President Donald Trump
Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

At the beginning of May, Trump left the White House after a month of avoiding travel and social distancing, for the most part, to visit Camp David, the unofficial "country residence" for sitting U.S. presidents, in Maryland.

Before his visit, he last left the White House on March 28 when he traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to send off the USNS Comfort naval ship to New York City in order to help house hospital patients, as the city's hospitals threatened to overflow due to an influx of novel coronavirus patients.

The 73-year-old has split with health officials before regarding the coronavirus. He's ignored their recommendations about protective practices (such as wearing a mask) and floated suggestions for unproven methods of treatment, including hydroxychloroquine or injecting disinfectant into the body.

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