In a well-timed follow-up to the revelation in this weekend's New York Times Magazine story that a 9-year-old Rory McIlroy sent Tiger Woods a letter that said "I'm coming to get you," Nike released a commercial called "Ripple" that simulates a young Rory McIlroy drawing his inspiration from watching Tiger Woods' rise from amateur champion to the dominant force professional golf.
The ad, released in time for Masters week (the tournament McIlroy needs to win to complete the career grand slam) tells the story of McIlroy growing from a toddler playing with plastic clubs inside his parents home to a teen tirelessly practicing in the rain after watching Woods persevere in down pour. Scored with dramatic music and minimal, thickly-accented dialogue, we glean the influence of a supportive father helping his son reach his dreams of playing on tour.
The ad ends with McIlroy and Woods playing together and the later acknowledging the arrival of a new force in golf with a compliment of the world number one's tee shot.
"It's been an incredible journey for me, going from massive fan to competitor," McIlroy said in a Nike press release. "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."
"I've been in that same situation," Woods said in the Nike release. "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.”
The spot, which has already gone viral, should help build a little more hype for the pair and their dueling quests at the Masters - McIroy to complete the career grand slam for the first time and Woods to supplant Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 career major championship wins.