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‘You Have to Respect the Office.’ Tiger Woods Deflects Questions About His Friendship with Trump

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Tiger Woods on Sunday deflected questions about his relationship with President Donald Trump, telling a reporter that “you have to respect the office” of the President regardless of personal opinions.

Woods, who appeared at a news conference after tying for 40th place at the Northern Trust, avoided going into specifics when a reporter asked about his friendship with Trump. However, he did note that he has known the President “for a number of years,” Sports Illustrated reports.

“Well, he’s the President of the United States,” Woods reportedly added. “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.”

Woods, who has golfed with a number of former presidents, said Sunday that his relationship with Trump began before he took office, and has continued into his presidency. Last year, for example, the duo played a round together at Trump International Golf Club in Florida, which Woods looked upon favorably at the time, according to USA Today.

“What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old. He takes a pretty good lash,” Woods reportedly wrote on his website. “Our discussion topics were wide-ranging; it was fun. We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling.”

Trump commented on the matter Monday, criticizing “the fake news media” for asking Tiger about the President.

Woods stayed circumspect on other topics as well. When a reporter asked about race relations during the news conference, Woods declined to comment because he had “just finished 72 holes” and was “really hungry,” according to Sports Illustrated.

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com