Tiger Woods defends his relationship with Donald Trump claiming: “You have to respect the office”

Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to call Tiger Woods “very smart” after the golfing superstar defended his relationship with the US president.

After his final round at The Northern Trust in New Jersey on Sunday, the former world No.1 was asked by a New York Times reporter about his friendship with Trump.

“I’ve known Donald for a number of years, said Woods. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”

Asked about this closeness when “especially people of color, immigrants, are threatened by him and his policy”, the 14-time Major winner added: “Well, he’s the President of the United States.

Trump and Woods have known each other for a number of years

“You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.

Asked if he had anything to add about the state of race relations in the United States, Woods said: “No. I just finished 72 holes and really hungry.”

Now Trump has tweeted to his 54m followers praising Woods for how he handled the line of questioning: “The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say. Tiger wouldn’t play the game – he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!”

Woods, now 42, has competed in the last two Majors and is set to be given a wildcard for next month’s Ryder Cup in France.

Woods finished tied 40th at The Northern Trust tournament

Trump is a keen golfer

Rory McIlroy caused outrage on social media for playing with Trump in February last year.

He initially said: “I’m sorry if I p****d 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.”

But speaking before the Masters last year, the Ulsterman admitted: “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.”

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