Cape Town - South African golfing icon Ernie Els responded to the flak he received after playing a round with US President Donald Trump.
The newly-elected American President played with Els and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Trump National Golf Club last weekend.
This had some South Africans fuming at Els, saying they were "disappointed" with the four-time major champion for hitting the fairways with the controversial figure.
Els responded not only to backlash on social media, but to some of his friends, telling The Wall Street Journal: "A lot of my own friends were not for him. They kind of needled me a little bit, saying I was a suck-up.
"I just said, 'Go eff yourself. I played with the President and you haven't.' You can't please everybody. It was just golf and a good time."
On Tuesday, Els told the Golf Channel that it was a special occasion to play a round of golf with Trump.
"It was one of the most special groups of people I've been around," said Els.
"I've played with the queen of Malaysia, I've played with other presidents, but this is the most powerful guy in the whole world and to see him in his full security detail, it's impressive.”
Els said that discussions between the two on the fairway were primarily focused on his foundation, the Els for Autism Foundation.
"He wants to be helpful, he wants to be in and that's the kind of guy he is."
In his next event, Els will tee off in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Thursday, February 16.