Not for the first time, Rory McIlroy’s changed his tune, and at just 31-years of age, what harm?
In 2017, the Holywood star took up an invite to join then US President Donald Trump for a game of golf – SPOILER ALERT: He’s still in Office – and was swiftly labelled a white supremacist by keyboard warriors for doing so. At the time, McIlroy defended his actions, saying “whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds.”
Well, three years later and the meditating, book worm that is golf’s current top dog has an altogether different view. It seems whatever respect the Donald once held from his ivory tower on Pennsylvania Avenue has since fallen by the wayside.
“I’ll sit here and say the day that I did spend with him and others was very enjoyable,’’ McIlroy said on the excellent McKellar Podcast. “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.
“But,’’ McIlroy warned, “that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything, or in fact, anything that he says.’’
So, why play with Trump in the first instance Rory? For me, there’s so many reasons:
The mystique surrounding his dubious 2 handicap, how his tiny hands grip a club, the forgetful scorekeeping, does he remove his hat when shaking hands on the 18th green, how his hand would look in my hand, what does his hat hair look like, to trick him into saying CHYNA, how orange is he, does he have tan lines, would I be able to see the tiny monkey hiding inside the torso controlling the robot and oh, just the opportunity to tell my grandkids that I rode in a cart for four hours next to the man whose tiny fingers once hovered over the nuclear codes. I mean, how could you not be curious?
But since that day in 2017, things have changed dramatically. For starters, McIlroy is older and wiser and Trump is… older. We’re also going through an unprecedented global pandemic that the US President thinks you can drink Domestos to treat. I mean, McIlroy and Trump may have shared a buggy that day three years ago but the cart has since split in two and they’ve both careered down very different paths so no wonder then, that McIlroy now sees the President in a very different light.
“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 — there’s something that just is terrible,’’ McIlroy 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.’’
So, the big question, three years on; would McIlroy tee it up with Trump again?
“I don’t know if he’d want to play with me again after what I just said. But no, I wouldn’t.”
And it’s not that the opportunities haven’t been there. The four-time Major winner has since been invited by the supreme leader but admits he turned down round two, “out of choice”.
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