5 of the Best Golf Ads of All Time
Article by Will Trinkwon
Mention the word ‘ad’ and the first word that is likely to cross many people’s lips is likely to be negative. Most of the time there are few things more frustrating than when you’re watching your favourite golf tournament and the coverage is interrupted by a string of chintzy and annoying advertisements. Ads, however, don’t have to be irritating. In fact, many the best ads can be so entertaining that many people will tune into YouTube to watch them in their own right. Here’s five of the best golf ads of all time that were well worth missing out on some coverage for.
1. Tiger Woods Juggling
2000 was a magic year for Tiger and his long-time sponsor Nike. Not only did Tiger win three out of four of that year’s majors, but he also produced one of the most popular and memorable golf ads of all time. Bored between takes of a different commercial for Nike, Woods started bouncing a golf ball on his sand wedge, moving it between his legs and kicking it up onto his knees in an amazing display of skill. The commercial director Doug Liman spotted the tricks and asked Tiger to do it to camera. Believe it or not, the big cat actually flubbed his first three attempts with the camera rolling, but got the shot on his fourth try. Kudos to Doug for spotting the shot and to Tiger for making it happen.
2. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy Playing Horse
Number two’s another ad featuring Tiger, but this time alongside Rory McIlroy. Following his £155 million sponsorship deal with the company, Nike celebrated having the two most popular golfers in modern golf in their stable with this iconic ad. In an informal game which mimics their much touted on-course rivalry, Tiger and Rory take turns making increasingly outlandish holes in one. Though its Tiger who gets the last laugh (watch the ad to see how he does it), the ad heralded Rory McIlroy’s ascension to the highest pinnacles of the sport. With Tiger now back to his best and McIlroy also hitting form, 2019 may give us more head-to-heads like this for real. Here’s hoping, at any rate.
3. Phil Mickelson’s Shirt Dance
Though not as well-known as Rory and Tiger’s ads, Phil Mickelson’s 2018 campaign videos for golf/work shirt manufacturer Mizzen and Main earn a spot on this list for their pure silliness. The ad opens with a clearly embarrassed Phil Mickelson doing his best not to laugh as he boogies on down in front of the camera. Phil’s palpably horrific dance moves degenerate further as he botches a Michael Jackson moonwalk and channels his best Patrick Swayze in a series of comically awkward moves. The ad ends with Phil wiggling his finger at the camera and pulling what can only be described as the most egregious trying-so-hard-not-to-laugh face which alone justifies this videos spot on the list. What was the golfer thinking?
4. Jason Day and Tiger Woods Hitting Bunker Shots
Some ads are more goofy, others are more technical. Both routes can be ones to success. TaylorMade’s recent series of ads, which feature Tiger Woods, Jason Day and a whole host of other high-profile stars who have been snapped up by the brand, hitting shots and discussing their various techniques. What makes these ads so great is that they combine genuinely enthralling insights into how top players execute shots with advice for the amateur golfer, and outright product-shilling is kept to a minimum. In this particular ad (in my view the best of the bunch), Day and Tiger take turn hitting bunker shots, walking each other through how they play chunk and runs, high floppers and what the ‘feels’ are in their hands as they play each shot. Its naturalistic, informative and interesting. Everything an ideal technical ad should be.
5. The Awkward Reporter
Though not technically an ad, the European Tour’s Awkward Reporter Series is just too damn brilliant to be kept off this list. Showcasing the jesting spirit that’s been credited as a big factor in the close-knittedness of Europe’s Ryder Cup team, Chris Wood, Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts and actor Thomas Gray orchestrated a series of spoof interviews designed to create maximum awkwardness among the stars they managed to nab. Highlights include Henrik Stenson being coerced into answering the same question five different times, Dustin Johnson’s vexed pout after being confused with his namesake Zach, and, last but not least, Rafa Cabrera-Bello being coaxed into flashing his abs.
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