Rory McIlroy says he did not expect the backlash he received for playing golf with Donald Trump.
A rib injury has kept him off the course since early January. He played a round with the US President last week as he continued his comeback from the injury.
McIlroy was forced to take to twitter to defend his decision after some on social media labelled him "a fascist and a bigot".
“I was a little bit taken aback by the blowback I received but I get why," McIlroy told reporters ahead of the WGC-Mexico Championship
"I was just doing what I felt was respectful. The President of the United States phones you up and wants to play golf with you, I wasn't going to say no.
"I don't agree with everything he says but it is what it is. I'm not an American. I can't vote. Even if I could vote I don't think I would have.
"I actually enjoyed myself. I had a good time. I'm sorry if I pissed people off but I felt I was in a position where I couldn't really do anything but say yes. Respect the office even if you don't respect the guy that's in it.
"I just approached it as a round of golf. Putting anyone's beliefs or politics to one side for a minute, to go there and see 30 secret service and 30 cops and snipers in the trees, it was just a surreal experience for me to see something like that.
"It's not as if we were talking foreign policy out there. We were talking golf."
He played a practice round with World Number One Dustin Johnson as well as teeing it up with Trump.
McIlroy feels his game is in a good place ahead of his return: