McIlroy’s brand image strays off course

From a PR perspective, Rory’s round of golf with Donald Trump seems a little at odds with the brand image he has so carefully built up.

Earlier this week, a tweet posted by golf tech firm Clear Sports showed a smiling Rory McIlroy in the company of US President, Donald Trump. The two had played a round at the Trump International course in Florida with Clear Sports CEO Garry Singer and Paul O’Neil, the former pro baseball player.

To say the photo-op was surprising is an understatement. For Trump it was certainly great PR, hanging out with the uber-cool, social-savvy world number 3 golfer. Given the bashing he has taken from celebrities, including some of the world’s most high-profile athletes, it’s no wonder he jumped at the chance.

For McIlroy, the decision to play a round of golf with such a divisive figure is puzzling to say the least. Rory is all about cool – cool golf, cool gear, cool choices: he has built a brand specifically designed to appeal to the cool kids of this world. In that context, cosying up to Donald Trump hardly seems on-brand.

“I can’t believe McIlroy has done this