Rolex’s ties with the pinnacle of golf are embodied by its patronage of Major tournaments, team competitions, and world-class events, which offer an ever-evolving menu of new challenges and new opportunities.
Pioneering Rolex golf Testimonee, Arnold Palmer, wrote in his autobiography, A Golfer’s Life, that he and a friend devised a modern “Grand Slam of Golf”, in 1960, with four Major championships, including two he had already won that year – the Masters and the U.S. Open, plus two he hoped to win, including The Open. Since then, these tournaments have marked the peak of individual excellence in golf. To call oneself a Major winner is to be counted among the legends of the game. The season-opening Major – the Masters – where Rolex has been an International Partner since 1999, is unique among the four as it is an invitational event and is staged at the same venue every year – the pristine Augusta National Golf Club. The picturesque course in Georgia, US, is renowned for its colorful, Azalea-lined fairways, the amateur golfing spirit of the tournament’s founder Bobby Jones, and for the symbolic Green Jacket given to the winner. This distinct garment is equivalent to a lifetime invitation to participate in the Masters, according to tournament tradition.
The U.S. Open Championship has witnessed many of golf’s signature moments created by the game’s legendary champions on iconic golf venues across the United States. Rolex has been Official Timekeeper of the U.S. Open since 1980, and the U.S. Women’s Open since 2003. Dating back to its inaugural championship played at Newport Country Club in 1895, the USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open Championship in June, when the game’s greatest amateurs and professionals vying for the coveted U.S. Open trophy.
At the third Major of the year, The Open, where Rolex has been Official Timekeeper since 1981, golfers compete for one of the oldest prizes in sport, the Claret Jug. The Open was founded by pioneering golfers in the United Kingdom who had one guiding principle – to crown the Champion Golfer of the Year. Since 1860, The Open has been played over some of the world’s most cherished links courses, including Royal Birkdale, Carnoustie, Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Portrush, Prestwick, Royal St George’s, Royal Troon, as well as at the home of golf, St Andrews.
This historic Scottish town has been a golfing mecca for more than 600 years, gathering players from around the globe to play on the most prestigious golf course in the world: the historic Old Course at St Andrews. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which later created The R&A, was founded there in 1754. The R&A governs the game worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, with the consent of 152 organizations from amateur and professional golf. Today the famous Old Course and its neighboring courses are presided over by the St Andrews Links Trust (SALT), which is a partner of Rolex.
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
U.S. Women’s Open
Ricoh Women’s British Open
The Evian Championship
As a long-standing supporter of golf, Rolex is also Official Timekeeper of the five Majors in women’s professional golf. These are: the ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, Ricoh Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The ANA Inspiration is the first women’s Major of the year. Classified as a Major in 1983, it takes place at the same venue each year – the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Rolex Testimonee Lydia Ko won this prestigious title in 2016. Founded in 1955, the event now named the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is the second longest running tournament in the history of the LPGA after the U.S. Women’s Open, which was established in 1946.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open was established in 1976 to honor women’s growing presence in the sport, and, from 2017, The R&A will be responsible for staging the event, marking a progressive and important step in the development of women’s golf. Held annually at the glorious Evian Resort Golf Club in France, overlooking Lake Geneva, The Evian Championship became the fifth Women’s Major in 2013, nearly 20 years after the tournament was first established. Rolex has been a Main Partner of the event since 2000. It is at this event, that the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, established in 2014 is presented to the player who, during that LPGA Tour season, has the most outstanding Major championship record.
Beyond the regular tournaments making up the major tour schedules, a selection of team competitions invite golfers who normally play for themselves to put aside individualism and compete for their country or their continent, and for the gratification that comes through the joining of forces. These events attract huge crowds and a passionate following. Rolex partners The Ryder Cup – a biennial match launched in 1927 between teams from the United States and Europe, hosted alternately by the PGA of America and the Ryder Cup Europe. The partnership began in 1995, as Europe took the first two titles, the second being the famous victory at Valderrama Golf Club, Spain, in 1997. Since 2014, whenever The Ryder Cup is played on European soil, Rolex stands as the event’s sponsor, in addition to sponsoring the European Team at every edition of the renowned competition. When the Samuel Ryder Trophy is contested in 2018, the event will return to Europe once again, to the French capital, Paris, and, in 2022, two teams made up of Europe’s and America’s finest will face each other in the historic city of Rome, Italy.
“The engraved watch Rolex presents to members of the European Ryder Cup team is very special,” said Martin Kaymer. The German golfer, who played on the victorious European teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014, continued: “That watch is something to treasure, to hand down to your grandchildren one day. It is a fantastic reminder that, as a golfer, you have achieved something very special – you have been selected as one of the best players to represent all of Europe.”
The Ryder Cup
World Cup of Golf
Rolex is also ingrained in women’s team golf and, since 1994, has been a partner of the Solheim Cup – the women’s professional Intercontinental team challenge between America and Europe. In 2017, Swedish Rolex Testimonee and 10-time Major winner, Annika Sörenstam, is captaining Team Europe. America’s Juli Inkster, a seven-time Major winner, captained the U.S. Team in 2015 and will return as captain in 2017.
The Presidents Cup™, organized by the PGA TOUR ®, was first contested in 1994, and Rolex be – came the Official Timekeeper in 2005. This event is contested biennially and featured a team of 12 of the finest golfers from the United States matched against an International side made of the best from the rest of the world, excluding Europe.
Rolex added the World Cup of Golf to the team competitions in its golf roster in 2013, when the tournament was won by Team Australia, made up of Rolex Testimonees Jason Day and Adam Scott. In 2016 the golf World Cup went to Rolex Testimonee Thorbjorn Olesen and his playing partner, the first win of its kind for Denmark.
WORLD CLASS EVENTS
Co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR®, the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour, the four annual World Golf Championships, of which Rolex has been Official Timekeeper since 2007, are: the Mexico Championship®, Dell Technologies Match Play, Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions. World Golf Championships’ events have been contested on five continents and in more than ten countries. Given the strength of the field often competing at these tournaments, World Golf Championships are considered by golfers to be second only to Major championships.
As part of its relationship with the PGA TOUR®, Rolex is also associated with THE PLAYERS® Championship, which takes place annually at the iconic home of the PGA TOUR®, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at ®TPC Sawgrass, Florida. With its signature island green, the 17th is one of the most widely-recognized golf holes in the world. In 2007, the PGA TOUR® entered a new era with the introduction of the FedExCup, a season-long points competition culminating in four playoff events.
The year 2017 sees the start of a new initiative by the European Tour. The Rolex Series is the premium tournament category on the European Tour’s International Schedule and comprises eight tournaments staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world.