Beaverton, United States: LeBron James saw Michael Jordan as a role model. Mike Trout looked up to Derek Jeter. Russell Wilson gravitated towards Drew Brees. Tiger Woods revered Jack Nicklaus. And Rory McIlroy idolised Woods.
In that vein, Nike Golf has created a new film, Ripple, that captures the powerful influence of Woods on a young McIlroy.
Produced in 60-second and two-minute versions, the film follows an inspirational journey of McIlroy growing up, captivated by Woods’ awe-inspiring performances, his athleticism and his swing.
Seeing fist pump after fist pump, victory after victory, and with posters of Woods in his room, the film emotes McIlroy dreaming of one day competing against Woods.
“As a kid, I looked up to Tiger,” said McIlroy, who hit a 40-yard drive at the age of just two. When I first saw him on TV, I remember being completely enamoured by the energy he brought to the sport. His will to win. His determination. His fight.”
“I’ve been in that same situation,” said Tiger. “Growing up, Jack was my idol. My first recollection of The Masters was 1986, when Jack won. I remember him making a putt at 17 and lifting that putter up. Fourteen years later at the 2000 PGA Championship, I got to play with and against him – someone I looked up to.”
The film begins with a re-enactment of a young McIlroy intensely watching Woods win his third straight US Amateur Championship on TV in 1996. A year later, still from his hometown in Holywood, Northern Ireland, McIlroy witnessed Woods winning his first Masters championship.
As the film progresses, we see McIlroy emulating Woods’ work ethic, perfecting his game in the rain, working on his putting stroke on a putting green at his house (filmed at his actual childhood home), with his mother Rosie and father Gerry, supporting him all the way.
The film culminates with the two professionals competing against one another, walking down the fairway with an obvious mutual respect.
“It’s been an incredible journey for me, going from massive fan of his to competitor,” said McIlroy. “To think that not too long ago I was that little boy watching him on TV to where I am now. It’s been a cool journey and I’m very lucky I get to compete with and against him, because he inspired me as a kid and he inspires me now. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen.”
Woods said: “It’s neat because I’ve been able to be a part of different generations of competitors. Now I’m competing against the younger ones – it’s going to be fun. It helps me train a little harder, because these kids are athletic.”
Created in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy, the film has two versions – a 60-second and two-minute spot airing on ESPN and The Golf Channel.
Nike Golf is a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.