Nike captures the inspiring effect of Tiger Woods’s greatness on a young Rory McIlroy

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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy star in a new Nike advert that charts how the Irishman was inspired by the 14-times Major champion.

The film, called ‘Ripple’, focuses on the growth of McIlroy from a young prodigy who used to chip golf balls into washing machines to a professional golfer and how Woods was a constant influence and inspiration.

This commercial comes on the heels of a great story told by McIlroy's uncle to New York Magazine about how a nine-year-old McIlroy once wrote a letter to Tiger letting him know a kid from Northern Ireland was coming after him.

The film follows the inspirational journey of McIlroy growing up, captivated by Woods’s awe-inspiring performances, his strokes of genius, his athleticism and his swing. Seeing fist pump after fist pump, victory after victory, and with posters of Woods in his room, the film shows McIlroy dreaming of one day competing against Woods — symbolic of the dream held by many young golfers around the world.

“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 enamored by the energy he brought to the sport. His will to win. His determination. His fight.” 

“I’ve been in that same situation,” said Woods. “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 reenactment of a young McIlroy intensely watching Woods win his first U.S. Amateur Championship on TV in 1994. A few years later, still from his hometown in Holywood, Northern Ireland, McIlroy witnessed Woods’s electrifying performance of winning his first Masters title by an astounding 12 shots. As the film progresses, we see McIlroy emulating Woods’s 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 each other, walking side by side down the fairway –inspiration for who’s next.

“It’s been an incredible journey for me, going from massive fan 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.”

“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 helps me train a little harder, because these guys are athletic,” said Woods. 

Behind the scenes