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Out of Bounds: Only Rory knows if his round with Trump was an unnecessary distraction
McIlroy lives in a different world than the rest of us, so should we be surprised a round with POTUS is part of it?

IN THE BUILD-up to Super Bowl LI earlier this month, a great deal was made of the relationship between Tom Brady — the now five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback of the New England Patriots — and Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States, zero Super Bowls.

lot of ink and html code was devoted to not only whether the pair were friends, but if it was important or not that they were.

Brady himself couldn’t understand the furore, telling reporters a few days before the game: ”Why does everybody make such a big deal? I don’t understand it.”

Rory McIlroy must be waking up this morning wondering the same thing.

It’s been less than 48 hours since an image emerged of him with Trump after the pair played a round of golf at Trump International and the reaction has been damning.

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“Teeing up with Trump looks like another poor call from McIlroy” said the Irish Times.

“‘I literally can’t believe McIlroy has done this’ – Prominent golf journalist hits out at Rory’s 18 holes with Donald Trump” was the headline of a piece in the Irish Independent.

“Massive error in judgment’: Fans turn on Rory McIlroy for playing a round of golf with Donald Trump while nursing an injury and accuse him of dabbling in politics” was the extraordinarily long headline in the Daily Mail.

McIlroy must be wondering where the outrage was when Trump played a round of golf with Tiger Woods late last year:

Was playing a round of golf with Trump the wisest decision McIlroy has ever taken? Probably not given the latter’s politics.

However, you get the impression the decision is manna from heaven for golf writers who the former world number one has rubbed the wrong way and who were licking their lips Monday at the opportunity to remind him of the way he ended his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki or his decision not to go to the 2016 Olympic Games.

The simple fact is that, like Brady and Woods, McIlroy is just another rich famous person for Trump to stick on his social media channels.

That said, the fact the 27-year-old agreed to it — just weeks ahead of the Masters — when he must have known what the reaction was going to be, does seem odd.

But whether or not you or I would have taken the same decision —  personally I wouldn’t have — doesn’t really matter. We’re not multi-millionaires who move in those circles (well, you might be) so it’s difficult for any of us to relate to it

Tee shorts

Here are the Irish players in action over the next few days:

PGA Tour – Honda Classic* 

  • Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Pádraig Harrington - 12.45pm
  • Graeme McDowell, Robert Streb, Brian Gay – 12.45pm
  • Seamus Power, Ryan Brehm, Grayson Murray – 6.25pm

All tee-times are Irish

Sky Sports have coverage of the Honda Classic from 7pm on Thursday and Friday and 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Back spin

Eight years ago, Retief Goosen finished his round at the Joburg Open — which is this week’s European Tour event — with an albatross:

Sign your card

Key to winning the Honda Classic — as Adam Scott found out last year — is avoiding the Bear Trap.

Indeed, since the tournament moved to the Champion course at PGA National Resort & Spa in 2007, holes 15-17 make up the third-toughest three-hole stretch on the PGA Tour, with players averaging a whopping .641 strokes over par.

The Open Championship 2016 - Day One - Royal Troon Golf Club David Davies PA Archive / PA Images Adam Scott will look to defend his title this week. David Davies PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

It speaks to the challenges posed by the course that 2013 Masters winner Scott succeeded three-time Major winner Pádraig Harrigton as the Honda Classic winner with Rory McIlory’s 2012 victory in the event meaning three of the past five winners have Major pedigree on their side.

Scott leads the betting at 12/1 with Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas at 16/1 but don’t rule out Kevin Kisner (40/1) who has form this season – fourth in the Sony Open, 25th in the CareerBuilder and 10th at Pebble Beach — if you’re looking for some each-way value.

The 19th

This hurt. This hurt a lot:

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