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McIlroy surprised by Donald Trump backlash

Press Association logoPress Association 1/03/2017

World No.3 Rory McIlroy admits he did not expect the backlash he received for his round of golf with US President Donald Trump.

McIlroy, who will make his return from injury at this week's WGC-Mexico Championship, was quizzed during a press conference in Mexico City about his round of golf with the President at Trump International in Florida.

The Northern Irishman had posted a statement on Twitter defending his decision and claimed he had been branded "a fascist and a bigot" for associating with the 45th President of the USA, who divides opinion in his homeland.

McIlroy offered another apology on Tuesday and stressed his decision to play the round had nothing to do with politics.

"I was a little bit taken aback by the blowback I received but I get why," McIlroy said in a press conference streamed on PGA Tour's Facebook page.

"I was just doing what I felt was respectful. The President of the United States phones you up and wants to play golf with you, I wasn't going to say no.

"I don't agree with everything he says but it is what it is. I'm not an American. I can't vote. Even if I could vote I don't think I would have.

"I actually enjoyed myself. I had a good time. I'm sorry if I p***** people off but I felt I was in a position where I couldn't really do anything but say yes. Respect the office even if you don't respect the guy that's in it.

"I just approached it as a round of golf. Putting anyone's beliefs or politics to one side for a minute, to go there and see 30 secret service and 30 cops and snipers in the trees, it was just a surreal experience for me to see something like that.

"It's not as if we were talking foreign policy out there. We were talking golf."

McIlroy makes his return in Mexico having sat out seven weeks with a rib injury.

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