Professional golfer Rory McIlroy once played a round of golf with President Donald Trump in 2017. He received considerable criticism at the time but has since received another invitation. However, McIlroy won't be taking part in this — or any future — outings with the president.
Speaking with the McKellar Golf Podcast, McIlroy said that he had declined an invitation to play golf with Trump "out of choice." He had previously commented that he would have to "think twice" about playing golf with the president, but he will no longer have a debate. He will just decline any invitations. The primary reason that he listed was the manner in which Trump has handled the COVID-19 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 the 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."
McIlroy is not expecting to receive any more invitations to play golf with the president in the future, but he did say that he would decline any that happened to be extended. It's not that he had any issues during his previous outing with Trump. McIlroy just doesn't agree with the things that are said, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'll sit here and say the day that I did spend with him and others was very enjoyable," McIlroy said. "He's very charismatic, he was nice to everyone. It didn't matter whether you were me or guys in the cart barn or the pro at the golf club. He has something.
"He obviously has something or he wouldn't be in the White House, right? He has something — 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. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything — or in fact anything — that he says."
McIlroy, who is originally from Ireland, owns a home near Trump's golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida. This course served as the location of their previous outing, but that was a one-time affair. McIlroy and Trump won't be hitting the links together again.