Rory McIlroy 'taken aback' by Trump blowback, defends decision to play golf
Mar 02 2017 by Marjorie Miles
Should McIlroy be victorious at Augusta in April, he would become just the sixth golfer in history - after Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen - to win all four majors.
Rory McIlroy is still having to defend himself from "blow back", a week after playing golf with US President Donald Trump.
Ahead of the WGC-Mexico Championship, McIlroy mentioned his encounter with 14-time major champ last week.
The Northern Irishman has a chance to reclaim the number one spot in the world in Mexico, but some experienced campaigners within the golfing fraternity are concerned that golfing with Trump is not the ideal preparation for his return to competition.
"Honestly I haven't thought much about Augusta", McIlroy said in a pre-tournament press conference at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City, which is so far above sea level that McIlroy has been hitting eight irons 210 yards.
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"He struggled with his body over the past couple years and it's unfortunate because it just won't allow him to do what he wants to do", McIlroy said.
"I think Rory was caught unawares". To go there and see 30 secret service and 30 cops and snipers in the trees, it's just - I mean, it was just a surreal experience for me to see something like that. If it had been President Obama I would have gone to play.
"I just felt I was doing what was respectful, and the president of the United States phones you up and wants to play golf with you, I wasn't going to say no". The routine was get up early in the morning, do my rehab stuff, try to get out and see what I could do on the golf course, get back, have some treatment, do a few more exercises.
"It's not as if I earn any more money as the world No.1, it's just nice to be able to say you're the best in the world at what you do. But I felt I was in a position where I couldn't really do anything but say yes". "I think for him and his mind, once he gets back to that, he can start to look at playing". I'm sorry if I sort of, I don't know, pissed people off.