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Thursday 14 December 2017

Rory's new playing partner is hardly par for the course

Players (from left) Garry Singer, Donald Trump, Rory McIlroy and former baseball star Paul O'Neill
Players (from left) Garry Singer, Donald Trump, Rory McIlroy and former baseball star Paul O'Neill

Rory McIlroy continued his recovery from a stress fracture to a rib by playing a round of golf with US President Donald Trump in Florida.

For a third weekend in a row during his presidency, Trump took to the golf course, and this time he was accompanied by the world number three.

Speaking to golf publication No Laying Up, McIlroy admitted he was only asked to play with Mr Trump hours before he teed off.

The Hollywood native added that Trump "probably shot around 80. He's a decent player for a guy in his 70s."

The pair were joined in a four-ball by Kildare-born agent Nick Mullen and Trump's friend Rich Levine.

Baseball

McIlroy also posed for a photo before teeing off with former New York Yankees baseball star Paul O'Neill and CEO of Clear Sports Garry Singer.

In the photo posted on Twitter, Mr Trump can be seen wearing a red cap with the slogan 'Make America Great Again' emblazoned on it.

McIlroy is planning to return to competitive action at the WGC-Mexico Championship next month.

Mr Trump played with Ernie Els last week and also joined Tiger Woods for a round just before Christmas.

McIlroy (27) previously encountered Trump in 2014 when the reality TV star had the Holywood man's three iron pulled from the bottom of a lake at the Doral course.

The Northern Irish golfer had flung the club into the water in a moment of frustration.

The club is now on the wall of the clubhouse in the resort owned by Trump.

The resort had been a long-term host for PGA Tour events but that ended last year when it was decided the WGC Cadillac Championship would be moved to Mexico.

In response to that news McIlroy said they would all just have to "climb over the wall".

The President has come under fire in recent days for appearing to cite a non-existent terror plot in Sweden.

Terrorist

While defending his proposal to ban travel from Muslim-majority countries, Mr Trump told a crowd in Florida: "You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden."

No terrorist incident or major attack occurred on Friday night in Sweden and Mr Trump's comments were widely ridiculed.

Yet supporters of the President have insisted he has "very cleverly" drawn attention to an alleged widespread Islamist extremist problem in the country.

"It was quite extraordinary; the reaction has been one of bewilderment," Dr Magnus Ranstorp, of the Swedish National Defence Council, said.

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