'Respect the office even if you don't respect the guy that's in it'
You can always rely on Rory McIlroy to give an honest response – and it’s not often Donald Trump is the subject matter.
So what did the four-time major champion chat about with the president and owner of 17 resorts around the world when they teed up at Trump’s Doral course in Florida?
“We talked golf the entire day.”
It gets juicier, we promise…
“We were talking about golf and the grass that he put on the greens and the grass that he’s putting on the greens at Doral. I think he was happier to talk golf than anything else that he has to do these days.
“It’s not as if we were speaking foreign policy out there.”
Well it might have made for a more interesting story, Rory.
McIlroy was hounded on Twitter – and this very website, though for different reasons – for teeing up with the controversial president.
Speaking ahead of the WGC-Mexico Championship, McIlroy said: “Obviously, we know how the [presidential] campaign went and how divisive it was.
“I just approached it as a round of golf, and putting anyone’s beliefs or politics to one side for a minute. To go there and see 30 Secret Service and 30 cops, and snipers in the trees was just a surreal experience for me.
If it had been President Obama, I would have went to play. I’ve played golf with President Clinton, I’ve spent time with President Bush – I just wanted to have an experience that I might never get, to play golf with a sitting president.
“I was a little bit taken back by the blowback I received, but I get why. I get the divisive rhetoric and everything that was said. It’s a tough place to be in, a tough position. Maybe if I look back on it, I put myself in a position where I was going to get that from either side, one way or the other.
“I just felt I was doing what was respectful, and when the president of the United States phones you up and wants to play golf with you … I wasn’t going to say no.”
“I actually enjoyed myself, had a good time. I’m sorry if I pissed people off, but I felt I was in a position where I couldn’t really do anything but say yes.
“Respect the office even if you don’t respect the guy that’s in it.”
Ouch! Take that, Trump!
Sadly, McIlroy refused to delve further into Trump’s golf game – having previously only revealed that the Most Powerful Man in the World “probably shot around 80” and is “a decent player for a guy in his 70s”.
“I picked up a few times. We both did,” McIlroy said added.
On Friday, McIlroy played with new World No. 1 Dustin Johnson: “It was quite a week for me, I got to play with the president of the United States and the best golfer in the world.”
Sorry, Rory, we’re all still thinking about the no respect thing…