Rory McIlroy Says He Won’t Play Golf With Donald Trump, Disagrees With His Pandemic Response

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the eighth hole during the first round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
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Professional golfer Rory McIlroy said that he would no longer play golf with President Donald Trump. The former U.S. Open and British Open winner made the comments on the McKellar Golf Podcast, which is hosted by Lawrence Donegan.

This particular topic was discussed about an hour and 15 minutes into the nearly 90-minute long talk. After his criticism of Trump, McIlroy also noted that the president might not even want to play with him again since he spoke out against him.

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now,” McIlroy said. “The fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say that we administer the most tests in the world like it’s a contest — there’s some stuff that just is terrible. 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.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an appearance prior to the start of play and speaks with golfer Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 6, 2016 in Doral, Florida.
  Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Despite his decision not to join Trump again, McIlroy said that the president, who owns several golf clubs around the world, was nice and charismatic during their time together.

“Most people that he came across that day he was cordial to, he was nice, he was 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.”

In 2017, McIlroy, who’s currently the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, joined the president for a round at Trump International in Florida shortly after his inauguration, according to The New York Times. However, he soon faced criticism for joining the commander-in-chief on the golf course.

McIlroy said that playing with the president did not have anything to do with endorsing him or making a political statement. During his discussion on the podcast, he said he tried to do the right thing, be a good role model, and be a good spokesperson for the game of golf, in addition to expressing his opinions, although he wanted to stay in his own lane.

Over the years, Trump has played rounds with various professional golfers, including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas, in addition to McIlroy.

In addition to touching on his feelings about Trump, McIlroy also revealed that he has been swimming and doing other things in preparation for a possible mid-June resumption. He discussed his practicing and noted that the best thing golfers can do to practice is to actually play golf — as opposed to hitting balls at the range.

On Sunday, the 31-year-old golfer will play in a two-on-two charity skins match to raise $3 million for COVID-19 relief. He and Dustin Johnson will compete against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.