Tiger Woods idolized Jack Nicklaus, and Rory McIlroy looked up to Tiger Woods. And when Woods and McIlroy competed side by side, together, they fueled the dreams of sport’s future greats. It’s a ripple effect.
In that vein, Nike Golf created the film “Ripple.” The 2015 film beautifully captured the powerful influence of Woods on a young McIlroy. “Ripple” is a story of relentless pursuit by two remarkable athletes, Woods and McIlroy, and their respective paths to greatness.
Produced in one- and two-minute versions, the film followed 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 began 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 progressed, 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 culminated 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.
As iron sharpens iron, greatness inspires greatness. Woods’ and McIlroy’s excellence inspires us all, and in turn, the inspired can become role models themselves.