Sports, politics collide again as Mickelson, McIlroy address voting rights and Texas passes anthem bill

Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy during a practice round The Masters

By Jacob Rudner | Cronkite News

Professional golfer Rory McIlroy is a lot of things.

He is a U.S. Open winner, a two-time winner of the PGA Championship and a winner of the British Open. McIlroy, along with all-time great golfers Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, is one of just three players in the sport’s history to win four majors before his 25th birthday.

Born in Northern Ireland, though, McIlroy is not a citizen of the United States, something he believes allows him to offer a different perspective when the worlds of sports and politics collide, as they often do. So when McIlroy, along with Phil Mickelson, was asked his opinion of the controversial new Georgia voting laws, the 31-year-old who resides in Jupiter, Florida, didn’t hesitate to share his thoughts.

“I’m all for getting people to get out and vote,” he said in a press conference on the eve of the Masters, which began Thursday. “I’ve chosen to live in this country because I believe this country is the best country in the world. And so I – you know, America is the land of opportunity, and it’s the American dream. You work hard; you get rewarded. So I believe in all of that stuff.”

Along with a bill that passed in the Texas Senate Thursday declaring that professional sports teams must play the National Anthem before events, Georgia’s new laws are among the latest examples of topics that sit firmly at the crossroads of sports and politics.

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