The New York Times revealed last week how Rory McIlroy, at the age of 9, wrote to his hero Tiger Woods about his plans of dethroning him one day. And now Nike has turned the two golf superstars' hero/mentor relationship into an ad.
Golf isn't everyone's cup of tea, but this emotional video is as good a sports ad as you're likely to see this year. It starts with a young McIlroy in Northern Ireland emulating Woods, who was at the top of his career at the time.
When Woods swings on TV, McIlroy does the same, but with his plastic clubs. He takes inspiration from his hero's rise, keenly observing his every move. Also, like his hero, he keeps on working hard and improving his game no matter how tired he is or unfavorable the conditions are.
He finally realizes his dream when he turns pro, and at the end of the video, he can be seen teeing off with Woods, his idol, by his side and admiring his shot.
The two then walk off together towards the next hole. In just two minutes and 10 seconds, Nike has highlighted how Woods unknowingly spawned his own successor through his success. It also shows how lucky McIlroy is to be competing with his childhood hero.
The timing of Nike's ad couldn't be more perfect as McIlroy and Woods are set to renew rivalries at the 2015 Masters Tournament, which begins on April 9.
While, as the ad suggests, McIlroy is the undisputed World No. 1, it makes no mention whatsoever of Woods' struggles this season. The American has won the Masters four times in his legendary career, but not once since 2005. He had a back disc surgery prior to last year's Masters and hasn't even been a shadow of his former self since then.
Currently without a swing coach and ranked a lowly 111th in the world, he has little chance of adding to his four Masters wins. McIlroy, meanwhile, has become a force so dominant the likes of which we've never seen since Woods in his heyday. The Masters is the only major missing from his budding collection, and he will be keen to complete his career Grand Slam.
It won't be easy though as McIlroy has started this season a bit slow. Of the five tournaments he has participated in, he has made the cut just once, although he did win the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic at 22-under-par, which was the joint best record for the event.
A lot of experts have picked Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson as their favorites, citing the inconsistent but streaky nature of McIlroy' putting. But the 25-year-old's idol was counted out many a times in his career. He proved his doubters wrong. Let's see whether McIlroy, golf's new tiger, can do the same.
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