Arnold Palmer is the latest golf legend to criticise Rory McIlroy’s behaviour – after the world number one snubbed his tournament in Orlando.

McIlroy could be overtaken by Tiger Woods in the world rankings this weekend after opting not to play at Bay Hill.

Speaking ahead of his annual tournament, Palmer was critical of McIlroy’s decision not to play again until the Houston Open before his Masters bid.

The American legend told the Irish Independent: “Frankly, I thought he was going to play.

“For some reason, I got it in my mind that he would be playing, but that obviously is wrong. What his reason or reasoning is, I don’t know and I’m not going to worry about it.”

Palmer did refer to a joke he made last summer when he said that he would ‘break his arms’ if McIlroy failed to play in his tournament.

Speaking at his press conference he insisted: “It was sort of casual fun. It was meant to be funny, I guess. I don’t know whether it was or not.”

The report adds that while McIlroy has struck up a warm friendship with Jack Nicklaus and makes a point of playing his tournament, The Memorial, each June, the 23-year-old has never teed-it up for Arnie at Bay Hill.

Nicklaus criticised McIlroy when he walked off the course halfway through his second round in Miami last month.

Palmer admitted he has rarely met McIlroy. He said: “I had brief conversations with him some time ago, but not recently.”

Rory McIlroyGetty