Rory McIlroy played a round with US President Donald Trump on Sunday as he continues his recovery from a rib injury.
The world No 3 has not played competitively since suffering a stress fracture to one of his ribs during the South African Open in January, when he lost a play-off to Graeme Storm.
The website “No Laying Up” reported that McIlroy rode in a golf cart for all 18 holes with Trump and quoted the four-time major winner’s opinion on the President’s game.
“He probably shot around 80. He’s a decent player for a guy in his 70s,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy has targeted next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship for his comeback – an event which was moved from Trump National Doral to Mexico City and renamed from the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
The PGA Tour had a contract to hold the WGC event at Doral until 2023, but with the provision that a new title sponsor would have the right to take the tournament elsewhere. Cadillac’s sponsorship ended in 2016.
Speaking last June, shortly after Trump had kicked off his presidential campaign by revealing controversial plans to build a border wall between Mexico and the United States, McIlroy joked: “It’s quite ironic we’re going to Mexico after being at Doral. We’ll just jump over the wall.”
A picture posted on Twitter by Clear Sports on Sunday showed its chief executive Garry Singer alongside former New York Yankee Paul O’Neill, McIlroy and President Trump at Trump International.
However, McIlroy told “No Laying Up” that Singer and O’Neill were not a part of the group. The four-ball was rounded out by Nick Mullen from International Sports Management and Rich Levine, a friend of the President.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson is the world No 1 for the first time after winning the Genesis Open. The US Open champion took the lead in the second round and never relinquished it, ending the weekend 17 under par and winning by five shots at Riviera Country Club.
Johnson, right, needed to win and hope Jason Day finished lower than a three-way tie for third to top the rankings – and the outgoing No 1 could only manage a tie for 64th after finishing two over par.
The leaders had to complete two rounds on Sunday, following storms on Friday.
Johnson took to the course on day four with a one-shot lead but was six strokes clear after the third round.
The 32-year-old started with a birdie on the first and picked up further shots on the fifth, eighth and 12th before birdieing the last three holes for a seven-under 64.
That took him to 17 under for the tournament – equalling the 54-hole record.
The 72-hole record of 20 under was well within his sights after he gained shots on the first, second and sixth in his final round, but a first bogey in 50 holes dropped him back to 19 under at the turn.
He also recorded back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th but the damage had already been done by then and he made sure of a PGA title for the tenth successive season with pars on the 17th and 18th.
Johnson told Sky Sports: “Today was a great day. I played really good all day long and I’m very happy. It’s obviously a big bonus to finally get to that No 1 spot.
“I’m very proud of myself and my whole team who have supported me. It’s going to push me to work even harder.”
Day needed something miraculous on Sunday to preserve his ranking but a four-over third round ended his hopes of a high finish. The Australian ended 19 shots back on his replacement at the top of the rankings.