London - Former world number one Rory McIlroy hit back at
critics on Friday saying his decision to play a round with US President Donald
Trump "wasn't an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind".
Trump is a keen golfer and McIlroy, a four-time major
winner, accepted an offer from the commander-in-chief to join him for a round
at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida last weekend.
On Friday he posted a statement on Twitter responding to
suggestions he had allied himself with the controversial president.
"I don't agree with everything my friends or family say
or do, but I still play golf with them," McIlroy wrote. "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
"This wasn't an endorsement nor a political statement
of any kind," McIlroy wrote. "It was, quite simply, a round of golf.
Golf was our common ground, nothing else.
"I've travelled all over the world and have been
fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and
cultures. To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent
some time in someone's company is just ridiculous."
McIlroy's statement came after the Northern Ireland golfer
told the Guardian that he had been intrigued by Trump's rise.
"I really got into it once Trump ran because I knew him
a little bit but at the same time I was intrigued how a successful businessman
could transition into running for the highest office in the land," McIlroy
told the publication Friday.
"It is a totally different process from the UK. He
obviously came at it from a completely different angle.
"Something like this probably won't happen again in our
lifetime. I'm very attuned to it, I watch a lot of news. You can't avoid it. I
had no interest in politics until a couple of years ago; now I can't seem to
get away from it," he said.
"I don't really care about the policies. The whole
circus, this big show is intriguing to watch."