Sep 2nd, 2017
The 2017 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award
Comes down to the wire
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Rolex / Chris Turvey
Evian Resort, France, is to welcome the top 120 female golfers in the world from 14-17 September for The Evian Championship, the last Major of the season, where, at the end of the tournament, the top performer in the Majors over the 2017 season will receive the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award.
The Evian Resort has been welcoming female players since 1994 for an event Rolex has supported as Main Partner since 2000. Now in its fifth edition as a Major, The Evian Championship takes place in the beautiful setting of Évian–les–Bains, overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Geneva, adding a spectacular appeal to this season finale.
The only Major in golf to be played in Continental Europe, The Evian Championship is contested on a course renowned for challenging even the best golfers in the world. Describing the venue, Rolex Testimonee Lexi Thompson, currently World Number Two in the Rolex Rankings, said: “It’s a great course, pretty complicated. You really need to keep the ball on the fairway. The greens play fast, some of the putts can be really tricky. You have to think about a lot of things, but that’s what makes it a great course.”
The 22–year–old, Thompson, will tee–up at The Evian Championship, alongside fellow Testimonees Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Carlota Ciganda and Anna Nordqvist; all of whom are part of a burgeoning group of young, aspirational golfers who conduct themselves with integrity, maturity and respect, as well as displaying skill, precision and ambition.
These are the ‘Rolex New Guard’, a new generation of golfers who, like ‘The Big Three’ before them, are asserting their authority on the sport and in doing so, inspiring future generations of athletes to follow them in the same way Annika Sörenstam did for them.
The Rolex Testimonees to have been victorious at Evian Resort are the prodigious Lydia Ko, whose win in 2015 made the New Zealander the youngest ever Major winner, at age 18 years, four months and 20 days, golf legend and 10–time Major winner Annika Sörenstam, in 2000 and 2002, who was succeeded by Juli Inkster in 2003.
Speaking about the event, the Swedish golf icon, Annika Sörenstam, said: “It was always my favourite, with its first–class accommodation, incredible hospitality, proximity to the Swiss alps and stunning views of Lake Geneva. It just felt so special and the event has continued to evolve and exceed expectations.”
In 2014, just a year after The Evian Championship became a Major, the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award was established to recognize the player who, during a current LPGA Tour season, has the most outstanding Major championship record.
Lydia Ko won it in 2016, and in 2017, the year Rolex celebrates 50 years supporting golf, Rolex Testimonee Lexi Thompson has a chance to claim the prize, should she win The Evian Championship. The American is at the peak of her game, having already won once on the LPGA Tour in 2017, as well as two top–10 Major finishes and putting in an inspirational performance at the 2017 Solheim Cup, winning three valuable points to help secure victory for Team USA.