A round of golf between Rory McIlroy and Donald Trump has landed both men ‘in the rough’.
President Trump, who had criticised his predecessor Barack Obama for the amount of time he spent on the golf course, was caught out by comments made by world number two McIlroy after the game.
According to White House officials, the president had only “played a couple of holes” along with the Holywood golfer in a four-ball game on his Trump International golf course in Florida on Sunday.
However, in an interview with golf publication ‘No Laying Up’, McIlroy said that he had gone the distance with the president.
He said that Trump “probably shot around 80” over 18 holes, adding: “He’s a decent player for a guy in his 70s.”
It prompted the White House to issue a statement on Tuesday to clarify the situation after the high-profile game between two of the most powerful men in the worlds of politics and sport.
It read: “As stated (on Sunday) the president played golf.
“He intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer. He also had a full day of meetings, calls and interviews for the new NSA (National Security Advisor), which he is continuing today before returning to Washington D.C. tonight.”
McIlroy, who is recovering from an injury and has not taken part in a tournament since January 15, also came under fire following the game.
“The problem is that Rory is a beloved figure, probably the most beloved figure in his sport,” said golf columnist Lawrence Donegan.
“He is apparently appealing to a younger audience, he is very vocal about appealing to a younger audience. It basically reinforces old stereotypes.”
“I literally can’t believe that McIlroy has done this.”
He was heavily criticised on Twitter for agreeing to the game with President Trump.
Former Irish Sports Writer of the Year Ewan MacKenna said: “You don’t turn down a round of golf with the American president but you do turn down a round of golf with this American president.”
Dermot Looney, an Independent Socialist councillor on South Dublin County Council, tweeted: “I’ve no problem with @McIlroyRory choosing to stay out of Northern politics. But playing in his free time with Trump *IS* a political choice.”