After the Tiger Woods sex scandal broke, it was a bit surprising that Nike stayed loyal to the face of its golf line. But, by offering 23-year-old phenom Rory McIlroy a 10-year $250 million contract, is it possible that Tiger’s days may be waning? At the very least, Nike Golf is no longer dependent on the success of Woods to carry its brand for the next decade.

A new spot from W+K finds Tiger playing the “old guy,” challenging McIlroy to a chip shot contest reminiscent of McDonald’s classic Michaell Jordan/Larry BirdNothing but Net” campaign from the early 90s.  “No Cup is Safe” depicts Tiger as the wily veteran, with Rory as the new, young face of the PGA nipping at Woods’ heels. To be honest, it’s a bit uncomfortable to watch, as I’m sure it was for Tiger to shoot it. The sun may be setting all too soon on Tiger’s career, while Rory’s is just beginning. Perhaps Tiger offered some advice to Rory on set, some advice that no one bothered to give him 14 years ago when he was in the same situation as Rory is now.

It’s hard to see this spot as anything other than a “passing of the old guard,” which is probably what Nike asked for. It’s cute, but full of sadness and hope at the same time. Perhaps I’m making this a bigger deal than it actually is, but, as a fan of both athletes, it’s hard to imagine a world where these guys can coexist at the top of the professional golf ladder. Credits after the jump.

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