Rory McIlroy Gets Serious in His Most Intense Nike Golf Commercial Yet

No pain, no gain

Rory McIlroy keeps a grueling schedule, but he likes it.

The pro golfer stars in a new ad for Nike, from Wieden + Kennedy Portland, as he gears up in real life for this weekend's Masters tournament, in hopes of landing a grand slam—winning all four majors—on the 2016 tournament circuit.

The minute-long commercial is, in essence, an increasingly frenetic montage, as McIlroy trains for his big dream, waking up at 5:30 every morning, chopping vegetables for smoothies, lifting weights, hitting the driving range, running, lifting more weights and doing it all over again the next day.

It's packed with almost industrial sound design, and the odd snippet of a rattle snake, crescendoing perfectly to the tagline, "Enjoy the chase"—which lands more or less as a twist, given there's not much beforehand to suggest anybody would enjoy such a insane pace.

That payoff is all the more apt because it's true, capturing the obsessive appetite for repetition and discipline essential to mastering any craft, and also because it fits so squarely into Nike's history of a simplified, rah-rah approach to getting through pain: "Just do it."

More broadly, the spot—directed by Radical's Derek Cianfrance, no stranger to making cool sports ads—a strong addition to McIlroy's growing collection of Nike spots, part of a shiny five-year endorsement deal signed in 2013. Notably absent is Tiger Woods, who traded trick shots with McIlroy in the brand's hit "No Cup Is Safe" gag ad that year, and again in 2015's more heartfelt "Ripple" spot, about the 26-year-old Northern Irish athlete's rise to play alongside his older American idol.

Meanwhile, a fun series of 15-second vignettes (see below) expand on the new concept, featuring other pros like Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Michelle Wie and Patrick Rodgers honing their skills in odd and sometimes hilarious ways—practicing after dark, and in hotel hallways, and by splashing water on themselves in the middle of ponds.

Because anyone who isn't pressing themselves probably isn't going to succeed. And if it's not for love, then it's probably just torture.

Then again, there are worse gigs than being a celebrity athlete, even if it is still a job.

CREDITS

Client: Nike
Project: Nike Golf: Enjoy The Chase

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Stuart Brown & Chris Groom
Copywriter: Jared Elms
Art Director: Naoki Ga
Producer: Ross Plumber/Jeff Selis/Katie Sellon

Production Company: Radical
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Executive Producer: Alex Orlovsky
Director of Photography: Grieg Fraser

Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Biff Butler
Post Producer: Assistant Editor: Alyssa Oh/Daniel Benhamo

Post Executive Producer: Christopher Noviello.
Executive Produce: Linda Carlson
Creative Director: Angus Wall

VFX Company: VFX Studio:  a52
VFX Supervisor: VFX Supervisor: Andy McKenna
Flame Artist: CG Supervisor:  Manny Guizar
VFX Producer: 2D VFX Artist(s):  Cameron Coombs, Enid Dalkoff
Titles/Graphics: Finishing: Dan Ellis, Kevin Stokes, Gabe Sanchez
Head of Production: Kim Christensen
Executive Producer: Patrick Nugent

Music + Sound Company: Future Perfect

Composer: Craig Sutherland, Andy Huckvale
Producer: Max Gosling

Mix Company: Sound Mix
Lime Studios
Mixer: Zac Fisher
Mixing Assistant Kevin McAlpine
Exec Producer: Susie Boyajan

Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole