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Rolex’s Involvement with the World of Golf Spans Sore than 50 Years – Robb Report

For 4 days in mid-July, as greater than 52,000 every day spectators streamed into St. Andrews, Scotland, to observe the 150th version of the Open, golf’s most historic event—staged for the 30th time at its religious residence, the Outdated Course—one identify dominated the leaderboard.

It wasn’t Cameron Smith, the Australian golfer with the distinctive mullet who ended up profitable the majors championship in a spectacular remaining spherical, ending at 20 beneath par. Neither was it crowd favourite Rory McIlroy, who led for a lot of the ultimate day earlier than dropping the claret jug, the trophy introduced to the winner of the Open Championship, within the again 9. And it actually wasn’t Tiger Woods; after a disappointing efficiency, he waved goodbye to the group on the finish of day two as he crossed over Swilcan Bridge in one of many valedictory traditions that outline the 600-year-old hyperlinks course.

In truth, essentially the most constant presence on the leaderboard, and across the Outdated Course, through the 4 rounds of the Open final month wasn’t a participant in any respect. It was Rolex. The Swiss watchmaker’s identify appeared—in two locations—atop the scoring board that towered above the opening tee. It additionally graced 20 clocks Rolex stationed across the Outdated Course this 12 months. No spectator, at St. Andrews or watching from residence, might have missed it.

The trendy historical past of the Open is just about inseparable from Rolex. Beneath are 5 stuff you in all probability don’t know concerning the Geneva-based model’s longstanding relationship with the British event, the legendary gamers who’ve gained it and the sport of golf itself, whose royal and historic historical past continues to affect the game.

It began with a handshake in 1967.

Arnold Palmer in 1962 and 1963

Arnold Palmer at The Open in 1962 and 1963 

Rolex

Arnold Palmer, the charismatic golfer who grew to become the face of the game within the mid-Sixties, sealed a take care of Rolex in 1967 to function its first testimonee, the time period the model makes use of to check with its ambassadors. Not lengthy after, Palmer’s associates and rivals, Jack Nicklaus and the South African Gary Participant, joined him. (Collectively, the trio is named the Huge Three.)

The watchmaker made its sponsorship of the Open official in 1981, however its involvement with the Huge Three — to not point out the affect of their profitable personalities on golf’s rising profile in America and the world over — had already modified the Open, and the game, eternally.

Rolex Testimonees Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player

Rolex Testimonees Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Participant 

Rolex

The sport actually hasn’t been the identical since. At a press occasion through the 150th occasion, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, government director of championships on the Royal & Historical Golf Membership of St Andrews, which manages the Open Championship, mentioned as a lot in his opening remarks.

“If a model goes to have companions, then Rolex couldn’t have picked three higher than them,” he mentioned. “What Arnold Palmer did for the Open Championship by coming over when he did after which persuading his American colleagues to do the identical, you possibly can hint again the Open taking a giant step ahead to that time. The sport of golf and the Open Championship have an enormous debt of gratitude to all three of them and I’m certain Rolex would say the identical.”

The model’s involvement with golf permeates each stage of the sport worldwide.

Rolex Testimonee Brooke Henderson at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Augusta National Golf Club

Rolex Testimonee Brooke Henderson on the KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship; Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership 

Rolex

In contrast to most watch manufacturers, Rolex doesn’t accept something lower than whole domination in the case of sport sponsorships. Not content material to work with a single-star participant (say, Jordan Speith) or a single event (just like the Open), the model blankets the sector, establishing its largesse in a means that leaves little doubt as to who guidelines the sport.

In golf, Rolex’s commanding presence spans quite a few classes, together with help for elite and growing gamers, skilled excursions and governing our bodies, and just about each occasion of be aware on {the golfing} calendar.

From its involvement with the PGA of America, and its three annual main championships—the PGA Championship, the KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship—to its 23-year-long relationship with the Masters Match held at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership in Georgia (the model grew to become an official associate in 2008), Rolex maintains an all-encompassing method to golf.

To wit: The corporate has served because the official timekeeper of the U.S. Open Championship since 1980, and since 2003, it has carried out the identical function for the U.S. Girls’s Open.

And but Rolex’s institutional relationships on the earth of golf (together with its foundational ties to the R&A, which together with the USGA, governs the game worldwide) are only one a part of the equation. The model’s private relationships with golf’s biggest champions are one other.

Twenty Rolex testimonees competed on the a hundred and fiftieth Open. Three characterize the “New Guard.”

Rolex Testimonees Tiger Woods and Jordan Speith

Rolex Testimonees Tiger Woods and Jordan Speith 

Rolex

An unmistakable instance of Rolex’s help for golf’s established and rising stars was the sector of putters who participated within the 150th Open. Of the 156 gamers who competed for the claret jug on the Outdated Course at St. Andrews, 20 have been Rolex testimonees. They included: Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Thomas Detry, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Garrick Higgo, Sungjae Im, Brooks Koepka, Haotong Li, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Joaquín Niemann, Victor Perez, Thomas Pieters, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods.

Rolex Testimonee Garrick Higgo

Rolex Testimonee Garrick Higgo 

Rolex

Of those, the model has anointed three gamers — Joaquín Niemann, Sungjae Im and Garrick Higgo — members of the Rolex New Guard, which it describes as “a brand new era of opponents who, just like the Huge Three earlier than them, are asserting their authority on the game and in doing so, inspiring future generations of athletes to comply with them.”

As Rolex testimonees go, few are as dedicated to the model as Gary Participant.

Gary Player

Gary Participant 

Rolex

Participant hails from Johannesburg, however, like so {many professional} golfers, calls Florida residence. At age 86, he nonetheless travels the golf circuit, enjoying the sport, signing autographs and sharing his love for the game. Having gained 9 main championships — together with three Open wins, in 1959 (Muirfield), 1968 (Carnoustie) and 1974 (Royal Lytham & St Annes) — he’s a well-known, and beloved, determine on the scene.

On the a hundred and fiftieth Open, Participant returned to the Outdated Course, this time as a spectator, sporting his Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in yellow gold with white dial, one in every of a number of Rolex watches in his assortment.

“After I first met with Rolex, I found the true worth of their watches and what the model stood for,” Participant writes in an electronic mail to Robb Report. “Rolex has been excellent at supporting younger expertise and exhibiting nice dedication to each the ladies’s and males’s video games. It has grow to be indelibly linked to golf and continues to play a significant function throughout all ranges of the sport, through its help for the gamers, organizations and tournaments.”

As for his personal assortment, Participant singled out two fashions that he holds particularly pricey. “I get nice use out of all of them however discover myself coming again to 2 particularly: my platinum Oyster Perpetual Day-Date and yellow gold GMT Grasp,” Participant says.

“The latter holds explicit sentimental worth,” he provides. “My father labored in a gold mine and one time, I went with Arnold Palmer to observe him at work. I used to be blown away by their work ethic. For each eight tons of rock mined, you produce one ounce of gold, so anytime anyone wears something with gold in or on it, it holds nice worth. Every time I put on my gold Rolex GMT Grasp, it’s a reminder of my father and the work ethic of these within the gold mines.”

Over the course of his greater than 50 years working with Rolex, Participant has a singular perspective on the sport, the model and the connection between them. “Fairly merely, I don’t suppose golf can be in its present state with out the enduring help of Rolex,” he says.

Rolex sponsors 5 classes of sport. What they’ve in frequent speaks volumes concerning the model.

 Kevin Staut Riding Visconti du Telman in The Rolex GRand Prix at Chio Aachen 2022

Kevin Staut Using Visconti du Telman in The Rolex GRand Prix at Chio Aachen 2022 

Rolex

At first look, the 5 sports activities that Rolex sponsors—yachting, golf, tennis, equestrianism and motor sport—appear to be united by their luxurious affiliation.

Much more necessary to the model’s sponsorship philosophy, nevertheless, is that it exalts people who’ve persevered and triumphed. Consequently, the sports activities that Rolex helps are assessments of particular person endurance (yachting, a workforce sport, being the only exception). As such, they’re neatly aligned with the model’s “everlasting quest for excellence,” a phrase that seems all through Rolex’s advertising supplies.

That society acknowledges and reveres the people who excel at these sports activities as winners is a vital component. Rolex solely works with winners—even, or particularly, when these winners (suppose Tiger Woods) falter of their careers. That’s as a result of the only most enduring side of Rolex’s testimonee relationships—and its partnerships on the whole—is that, like its watches, they’re constructed to final.

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