(CNN)Rory McIlroy previously has taken heat for playing golf with President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday in Augusta, Georgia, ahead of the Masters, the four-time major champion said he would “think twice” about playing golf with the President again.
“Whenever an invitation or a request comes my way, I don’t want to say I jump at the chance, but at the same time, you know, to see the Secret Service, to see the scene, I mean, that’s really what I was going for,” McIIroy said in his session with the media.
“I mean, there was not one bit of politics discussed in that round of golf. He was more interested talking about the grass that he just put on the greens. But, yeah, look, it’s a difficult one. I felt I would have been making more of a statement if I had of turned it down. It was not a tough place to be put in, but it was a round of golf and nothing more.
“Would I do it again? After the sort of backlash I received, I’d think twice about it.”
Masters starts Thursday
McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, played golf with Trump in February. Shortly after, saying he was called a “fascist” and a “bigot,” McIlroy defended his decision, saying in a statement on Twitter it “wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind.”
“It was, quite simply, a round of golf,” he said. “Golf was our common ground, nothing else.”
The 81st edition of the Masters Tournament, which is the first of men’s golf’s four major championships, starts Thursday.
McIlroy, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, has never won the event, and it’s the one major title missing from his resume.