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Saturday 10 December 2016

Video: Young Irish golfer (6) who plays Rory McIlroy in new ad will be watched by millions around the world

Published 08/04/2015 | 13:45

A young Irish golfer looks set to steal the limelight from Rory McIlroy after playing him in an ad which will be watched by millions during this week’s Masters.

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John Holland (6) from Galway landed a role in a new Nike advertisement in which he plays a younger version of Holywood's world No 1.

The six-year-old’s incredible swing will be broadcast across international channels including ESPN, Sky Sports and the Golf Channel throughout the tournament in Augusta this week and the video has already been viewed over 1.5m times on Youtube.

John’s Grandmother Patricia Lillis revealed that John’s interest in golf first began over a year ago when she took him to a driving range near Claregalway.

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

“We introduced John to the driving range December twelve months ago and showed him how to swing. He really took to it.

“Most children aren’t interested. It’s unusual for a fella of his age to be interested in golf,” she said.

The little boy from Salthill comes from a family of passionate golfers and his granny Patricia is a very active member of Galway Golf Club.

“I’m an avid golfer and so was my late husband. I have been a lifelong member of Galway Golf Club. All my children and grandchildren know how passionate I am about golf.

“John wouldn’t be a huge fan of Rory, he’s only just six. He would know of him because I’d always have the tournaments on but he’s only a little boy,” she said.

John’s mum Fiona first heard of the ad from Galway Golf Club’s Facebook page.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity for John,” said Dave Kelly, General Manager of Galway Golf Club.

“There was a huge interest in the competition on our Facebook page and I know from the casting agent that there was such a huge amount of applicants,” he said.

The manager revealed that the club’s best golfers should keep an eye on the six-year-old who he thinks might possibly rival McIlroy in talent in years to come.

“I think he is the next McIlroy. We’ll definitely have to sort him out with membership soon,” said Dave.

Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 9-4-2011
Rory McIlroy on his local golf course aged nine. He was practising for the first major tournament of his young career. He went on to win the Doral Junior Publix, World Under Ten Championship held in Florida, 1998.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 9-4-2011 Rory McIlroy on his local golf course aged nine. He was practising for the first major tournament of his young career. He went on to win the Doral Junior Publix, World Under Ten Championship held in Florida, 1998.

John’s granny Patricia revealed that the family were surprised at the attention John has received from the media since the debut of the ad.

 “We really didn’t think he’d be picked for the ad although it turned out there was quite a resemblance between John and Rory at a young age.

“We were surprised at all the attention because there were a lot of boys in the ad that played Rory.

“We’d be quite protective of John and are playing down the whole thing. You’d really always have a protective feeling when it comes to this level of attention,” she said.

Although Patricia is delighted with John’s current interest in golf, she said her family won’t be putting the pressure on for him to become the next Irish golf sensation.

“He seems to be mad about golf now. He wants to get out on the nine-hole.

“Right now he is talking about getting lessons and would love to get playing properly.”

“Perhaps he’ll change his mind in a few years that he likes soccer more and that’s okay but right now it’s great that he has such an interest.”

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