The four-time big winner, however, dispelled any doubts on Thursday, telling the McKellar Golf Podcast that he had been asked to play again with Trump but had refused “by choice”.
McIlroy, originally from Northern Ireland but who has a home near Trump’s club in Florida, criticized the president’s leadership during the new coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re in the middle 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 that we run the most tests in the world like it’s was a competition – there is something that is terrible, “said McIlroy. “This is not the way a leader should act. It takes a kind of diplomacy, and I don’t think it shows it – especially in those days. “
McIlroy acknowledged that invitations to golf with Trump would likely cease after his comments, but said he would decline even if one was extended. He also said he had no complaints against Trump during their 2017 tour, which took place a month after the president’s inauguration.
“I’m going to sit here and say that the day I spent with him and the others was very enjoyable,” said McIlroy. “He’s very charismatic, he was nice to everyone – it didn’t matter if you were me or the guys in the cart barn or the golf club pro.
“He has something. He obviously has something or he wouldn’t be in the White House, right? He has something – anything, an X factor, charisma, whatever. Most of the people he met that day, he was cordial, he was kind and kind. It was my only interaction with him the day I had him.
“But that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything – or in fact anything – that he says. “
This comment echoes McIlroy’s 2017 response to criticism he received for playing golf with Trump that year. Critics have struggled to reconcile McIlroy’s previous comments about Muirfield in Scotland – he said it was “obscene” that the club, a 16-time British Open site, did not admit women – with his desire to play golf with the polarizing American president.
“I have spent time with President Trump before, and that doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says,” said McIlroy in 2017. “In fact, the opposite is true. “