Rory McIlroy played a round with US president Donald Trump on Sunday as he continues his recovery from a rib injury.
The world number three has not played competitively since suffering a stress fracture to one of his ribs during the South African Open in January, where he lost a play-off to Graeme Storm.
The website ‘No Laying Up’ reported that McIlroy rode in a golf cart for all 18 holes with Trump and quoted the four-time major winner’s opinion on the President’s game.
“He probably shot around 80. He’s a decent player for a guy in his 70s,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy has targeted next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship for his comeback – an event which was moved from Trump National Doral to Mexico City and renamed from the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
The PGA Tour had a contract to hold the WGC event at Doral until 2023, but with the provision that a new title sponsor would have the right to take the tournament elsewhere. Cadillac’s sponsorship ended in 2016.
Speaking last June, shortly after Trump had kicked off his presidential campaign by revealing controversial plans to build a border wall between Mexico and the United States, McIlroy joked: “It’s quite ironic we’re going to Mexico after being at Doral. We’ll just jump over the wall.”
A picture posted on Twitter by Clear Sports on Sunday showed its chief executive Garry Singer alongside former New York Yankee Paul O’Neill, McIlroy and President Trump at Trump International.
However, McIlroy told No Laying Up that Singer and O’Neill were not a part of the group. The four-ball was rounded out by Nick Mullen from International Sports Management and Rich Levine, a friend of the President.
Golf’s most influential organisations had previously distanced themselves from President Trump in the wake of his views on Mexican immigrants, which were expressed when the 70-year-old announced his decision to stand for the Republican nomination in 2015.
The Grand Slam of Golf was moved from Trump National in Los Angeles, while the PGA Tour began considering alternative venues for the WGC-Cadillac Championship after his call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering America following terrorist attacks.