Top-ranked Irish golfer Rory McIlroy accepted an invitation to play golf last weekend with President Donald Trump and ended up defending himself Friday against a social media backlash for playing what McIlroy called, “quite simply, a round of golf.”
Sky News reports that McIlroy was invited to play with Trump at the president’s Trump International course in Florida last weekend. By Friday, fans angered by his decision to play 18 holes with the president had taken to social media and called McIlroy everything from “bigot” to “fascist.”
McIlroy, a native of Northern Ireland, hit back quickly, saying on Twitter, “I don’t agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them.”
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) February 24, 2017
He also called the social media haters out for not at least respecting the office of the president, even if they found they could not respect the man that holds the office.
“Last week I was invited to play golf with the President of the United States. Whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds,” McIlroy wrote.
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) February 20, 2017
“I’ve travelled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and cultures,” McIlroy continued. “To be called a fascist and a 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.”
According to CNN, McIlroy told golf blog No Laying Up that he played a full 18 holes with the President. In a picture posted on the blog, CEO of Clear Sports Garry Singer and former New York Yankees right fielder Paul O’Neill were also in attendance at the game, although No Laying Up said in its blog post that they did not play with the president and McIlroy.