Rory McIlroy might only be twenty-four-years-old, but it’s more than fair to already call him a winner. He’s won on the PGA Tour. He’s won on the European Tour, and he’s won on the Asian Tour. He’s won two Major Championships, won the Ryder Cup and now, he’s won a grudge match against a robot. That’s right. As part of a new line of marketing commercials, the European Tour recently paired Rory with a smack-talking, golf-playing giant robot in a contest to see who could hit balls into washing machines a hundred, two hundred and even three hundred yards down range. Not surprisingly, the scheme wound up being pretty damn entertaining.
As someone who has played more than his share of golf, I can tell you for stone cold fact that hitting a golf ball into a washing machine one hundred yards down range is beyond just a normal level of difficult. The distance, the angle and the trajectory all have to be perfect. Maybe, maybe on a good day I could hit one out of twenty. Hitting a golf ball three hundred yards down range, however, is almost unfathomably hard. There’s a reason why fairways are twenty or thirty yards wide in many cases. That’s because even good players need that much room for error, even for a good shot. And don’t even get me started on the washing machine they propel into the air. Apart from medium-length bunker shots, there’s arguably nothing harder in the entire sport than trying to hit the ball a very specific height.
There are some professional sports leagues that just get it when it comes to marketing. In the United States, the National Basketball Association has long led the pack with clever and entertaining commercials and viral videos, and apparently across the pond, the European Tour has spent the past few years carving out a pretty appealing track record too. Beyond this hysterical Rory and the machine clip, they’ve released dozens more involving the best and brightest players trying to do random and hilarious things like hitting a gong from two hundred yards away.
I know. I want to watch that video too. So, here it is in all its glory, 4 European Tour professionals trying to skip a ball through a lake and hit a nine inch gong…