Rory McIlroy has branded the abuse he received for playing a round of golf with United States president Donald Trump as "ridiculous".
After a month away from the game with a stress fracture in his ribs, McIlroy made his return to the course last week with a practice round alongside the controversial Trump.
Much to his dismay, McIlroy has since been labelled a "fascist" and a "bigot" by some for playing with the president.
So, ahead of his competitive return at the WGC-Mexico Championship next week, the Northern Irishman has looked to set the record straight about his divisive 18 holes.
In a statement, the four-time major winner said: "I don't agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them.
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) February 24, 2017
"Last week, I was invited to play golf with the president of the United States. Whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds. This wasn't an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf.
"Golf was our common ground, nothing else. I've travelled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and cultures.
"To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone's company is just ridiculous.
"I hope, to some degree, this clarifies my decision to accept the invitation that was extended to me. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I look forward to making my comeback in Mexico next week!"