Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Rory McIlroy urged to have Twitter of wit and lighten up a bit

19/7/2011. PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy arrive at the Ramore in Portrush for a private party to celebrate Clarke's British Open success. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Rory McIlroy and caddie, JP Fitzgerald, who both came in for criticism, before the Ulsterman rounded on Jay Townsend
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Golfing champ Rory McIlroy should not give up 'tweeting' despite being branded a "spoiled brat" following a row on Twitter, according to PR guru Max Clifford.

The 22-year-old US Open winner became embroiled in a social networking spat after defending his caddie JP Fitzgerald during the first day of the Irish Open.

Television pundit Jay Townsend criticised the caddie's advice via his social networking site.

The American, who works for the Golf Channel and BBC 5 Live, tweeted his performance as "some of the worst course management I have ever seen beyond under 10s boys golf competition''.

And he advised the Holywood golfer instead to hire Tiger Woods's former caddie Steve Williams.

Angered by the comments, Rory tweeted for him to "shut up".

He added: "You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!"

After the internet row concerns were expressed over whether it was wise for the talented sportsman to comment on Twitter.

Influential US commentator Erik Kuselias labelled Rory "childish and immature".

He said: "This is a kid on the fast track to likeability but this was not a likeable tweet.''

But Clifford said Rory should not switch off Twitter, but "just be more cautious" in future tweets.

"Twitter is a plus or a minus. It gives Rory, or anybody else, an instant opportunity to respond to something they are not happy with," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"But it is a double-edged sword, particularly because of the interest in him. A lot of people will respond and come out with comments you are not happy with and make a bad situation worse."

Mr Clifford said the row should be a learning curve for the young golfer.

"The problem is, like it or not, he is now public property and the media know that.

"And the media have their own agenda. But it is a learning curve for him.

"Don't get me wrong, being loyal to his caddie - great. Defending his caddie - great. But try and do it with a little bit of humour."

Mr Clifford said Rory should expect "to hit more headlines".

"He just has to be cautious and learn,'' he added.

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