Despite Tiger Woods’ fall from grace over the last few years one thing remains certain - his acclaim and achievements within the game of golf mean he remains an inspiration to many aspiring athletes.
In March, we learned how a nine-year-old Rory McIlroy wrote a bold letter to the then world number one Woods warning, “I’m coming to get you. This is the beginning. Watch this space.”
Woods’ incredible ascent to the top of the game served as inspiration for the Northern Irishman, who has since replaced the American as golf’s leading star.
Golf has a long-standing tradition of creating inspirational figures – think Woods and his idolisation of 18-time Major Champion Jack Nicklaus during the early part of his career.
The latest Nike commercial, aptly named ‘Ripple,’ was chosen ahead of the Masters to recognise the influence Woods had on McIlroy, as well as the Ripple effect it had on many other figures within sport.
The Nike website explains: “Extraordinary athletes serve as idols to the next generation. Their greatness inspires, and in turn, the inspired become role models themselves.”
Battle for the biggest prize in golf
McIlroy finishes the film standing side by side with the man he idolised as a child, as both get set to battle for the biggest prize in golf with the Masters championship starting on Thursday at Augusta.
“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.”
Woods may no longer be the dominant force he once was, but he remains pivotal in inspiring many other up and coming sports men and women around the world.
The fact that 50 percent of his PGA Tour colleagues believe the American will win another Major before his career ends isn’t a great surprise.
The unpredictability of Augusta National can throw up many surprises of its own and a fifteenth Major win for Woods isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.