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I enjoyed round with 'personable' Trump, but never again: McIlroy

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Rory McIlroy with US President Donald Trump during their round in Miami

Rory McIlroy with US President Donald Trump during their round in Miami

Rory McIlroy with US President Donald Trump during their round in Miami

Golfing superstar Rory McIlroy has vowed to never again take to the fairways with Donald Trump.

The Holywood golfer was heavily criticised after playing a round with the US President at his course in Miami, Florida, in February 2017.

He defended his decision after the game saying it did not mean he agreed with the billionaire's politics, claiming he had been branded "a fascist and a bigot".

Speaking on the McKellar Golf Podcast, McIlroy said that he had turned down further invitations to play a round with the President since their meeting in Miami.

In the aftermath McIlroy said he felt "guilt by association", but said the decision not to play again with the President was "out of choice".

However, McIlroy said that his decision had nothing to do with Mr Trump's behaviour during that game.

"I'll sit here and say the day that I did spend with him and others was very enjoyable," the world's number one ranked golfer said.

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"He's very charismatic, he was nice to everyone, it didn't matter whether you were me or guys in the cart barn or the pro at the golf club.

"He has something. He obviously has something or he wouldn't be in the White House, right?

"He has something, whatever it is, an X factor, charisma, whatever.

"Most people that he came across that day he was cordial to, he was nice and personable. That was my only interaction with him the day I had with him."

However, McIlroy said that just because he enjoyed the time he spent with the President did not mean he shared his views.

He criticised Mr Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic in America, with more than 1.4 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country and over 85,000 dead.

The Co Down golfer now lives in Jupiter, Florida, with wife Erika Stoll.

McIlroy said the President was wrong to turn the virus outbreak into a political issue.

"We're in the midst of something that's pretty serious right now and the fact that he's trying to politicise it and make it a campaign rally and say we're administering the most tests in world like it is a contest, here's something that just is terrible," the golfer said.

"It's not the way a leader should act.

"There's a sort of diplomacy that you need to have, and I don't think he's showing that, especially in these times."

The former Open winner said he didn't think the President would be inviting him for another round after his comments, but he wasn't interested anyway.

"I don't know if he'd want to play with me again after what I just said. But no, I wouldn't," McIlroy said.

The White House has been contacted for a response.

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