Rory McIlroy made an attempt to take some of the heat out of his return to action in Mexico next week when he tweeted a spirited defence of his decision to play golf with President Donald Trump,
"To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone’s company is just ridiculous," McIlroy wrote in a 163-word note he tweeted on Friday.
The world number three was criticised in the mainstream media as well as on social media for playing with the controversial new resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But he insisted his decision to accept Trump’s invitation was not an endorsement of his policies but simply a golfer playing with another golfer.
Lashed by fans who interpreted his acceptance as a political gesture, McIlroy wrote a 160-word note on his iPhone and tweeted an image of the text to clarify his position.
The spelling and grammar errors might suggest it was written without the help of a PR agency.
Whatever about the origin of the text, it was presumably published to ease his return in the WGC-Mexico Championship after seven weeks out with a rib injury.
“I don’t agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them. Last week, I was invited to play golf with the President of the United States. Wether [sic] you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds. This wasn’t an endorsement nor [sic] a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf.
”Golf was out common ground, nothing else. I've travelled all over the world and I 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 time in someone’s company is just ridiculous. I hope, to some degree, this clarifies my decision to accept the invitation that was extended to me.
"Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I look forward to my comeback in Mexico next week!"
Whatever about the rights or wrongs of McIlroy game with Trump, you have to wonder if there was any talk between them of taking the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to Trump's redesigned Doonbeg links in Co Clare.