Rory McIlroy Defends Decision to Golf With Donald Trump

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Rory McIlroy during the World Golf Championship at the Trump National Resort in Doral, Fla., last March.

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David Cannon/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy responded on Friday to criticism of his decision to play a round of golf with President Trump this weekend, declaring in a post on his Twitter account that his choice “wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind.”

McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, said he had been called a “fascist” and a “bigot” for accepting an invitation to play 18 holes on Sunday with the president at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida.

“Whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds,” McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, wrote in the post. He added: “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.”

McIlroy, 27, was the latest athlete to be caught in the intersection of sports and politics under the polarizing new administration. Several members of the New England Patriots have said they plan to skip the team’s visit to the White House, and Stephen Curry of the…

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