Rolex's commitment to golf is long-standing, groundbreaking and in line with the iconic brand's values. This was no more present than at the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur, where 72 women made history.
Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi during the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (Photo courtesy of Augusta National 2019)
What began as a partnership with only Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player 50-plus years ago has morphed into one of the most coveted athletic brand-timepiece alliances in the world.
Rolex supports the game of golf —whether amateur or professional, junior or senior — across five continents. Since 1980, it has partnered with the U.S. Open; since 1999, the Masters; and, in 2019, the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament.
The brand’s history with female golf harks back to 1980, when it linked up with the LPGA. (Its partnership with the PGA Tour became official in 2007.) Rolex is the official timekeeper of many of the world’s most prestigious championships, and its Rolex Testimonees— brand ambassadors whose partnerships in some instances last many decades—embody the spirit of the brand. Such was the case at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
“It’s exciting, it’s historic and I’m proud,” says Annika Sörenstam, one of the greatest female golfers ever, who, alongside other legends and fellow Rolex Testimonees Nancy Lopez and Lorena Ochoa, as well as Se Ri Pak, teed off to kick-start the last round of the tournament.
“Everyone’s excited about what this moment brings for the future—not just for the girls who played, but for women’s golf in general,” notes Sörenstam. “Fifteen years ago, it was only 15% girls out of all the junior players. Now, a third of junior players are girls; we’ve doubled it. And, I think, 15 years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were sitting at 45%.”
She continues: “It’s an affiliation to be proud of. Rolex is all about precision and quality. I cherish my partnership tremendously, and I’m happy to say that we continue even now—when I’ve stepped away [from playing professionally]—to see that the brand believes in who we are as individuals.” Sörenstam and fellow women players join current Testimonees such as Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Jordan Speith among other players Rolex believes in for the long game.
As I sat at the 18th hole, waiting for 22-year-old frontrunner Jennifer Kupcho to play her last hole at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, I contemplated this relationship. It’s thrilling to see a brand as storied and with as much gravitas give such support to not only women, but also the game of golf. You can catch a piece of the action during the Open Championship July 15 to 21 in Northern Ireland or during the LPGA’s Evian Championship July 22 to 28 in France