Rolex and Golf

Alex Jenkins takes a look at the remarkable association that the Swiss luxury watchmaker has forged with game since Arnold Palmer first slipped on a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date chronometer nearly 50 years ago

Jordan Spieth, a Rolex Testimonee

In 1967, Arnold Palmer became a Rolex ambassador - or Testimonee, as the brand prefers their talents to be known - marking the start of the brand’s association with golf, which came just seven years after the passing of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf. It is not known if Wilsdorf, a German, ever picked up a club - he may have encountered the game after moving from Bavaria to London for a three-year period in the early part of the 20th century - but if he were alive today he’d see that his brand’s roster of golf sponsorships has expanded to include the names of some of the game’s best known players. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer and Lydia Ko are among the athletes to wear one of the brand’s luxury timepieces away from the fairways. When Palmer received his PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his exceptional career, he was wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date chronometer in 18 ct yellow gold, a watch he has worn for more than 40 years.

The relationship that Rolex has with golf has grown to include major golfing competition and for 30 years Rolex has been a patron and official timekeeper of the world’s oldest Major championship – The Open, which was played in July over the historic links of the Old Course at St Andrews. The brand is also the official partner of the USGA, which runs the men’s and women’s US Opens, the European Tour, the European Ryder Cup team and title sponsors the world rankings in the women’s game. And of course there’s the Masters Tournament. Played every April at the incredibly exclusive - and picture perfect - Augusta National Golf Club in the US state of Georgia, Rolex has acted as an international partner of the season’s first major since the late 1990s.

Closer to home, Rolex has been the official timekeeper at the Hong Kong Open on numerous occasions and provides the clocks at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the championship’s venue.


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