Apr 12th, 2019
20 years of Rolex and the Masters Tournament
As the freshly blooming azaleas of Augusta National Golf Club mark the arrival of the northern spring, the golfing world’s attention turns towards Georgia, USA, for the first men’s Major of the year – the Masters Tournament, which has been supported by Rolex since 1999.
For more than 50 years Rolex has forged one of the most enduring partnerships between a brand and sport, based on a commitment to excellence in everything they do. Central to this relationship is Rolex’s long-standing support for men’s and women’s Majors.
For two decades, Rolex has shown its unwavering commitment to Augusta National Golf Club and its famed fairways. In 2019, the 83rd edition of this most prestigious event marks the 20th anniversary of Rolex Testimonee José María Olazábal winning the title for a second time. It is also 25 years since the Spaniard claimed his first Masters win in 1994.
Olazábal’s win in 1999 capped a period of sustained success for European players at Augusta National. Including 1999, eight of the previous 12 Masters Tournaments had been won by Europeans, among them, fellow Rolex Testimonee Bernhard Langer, also a two-time champion.
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As former champions, both will line up alongside the modern marvels of the game, including Jon Rahm, another Testimonee and a countryman of Olazábal, who enjoyed a rich run of form at the 2018 Masters. The 24-year-old demonstrated his precocious talent by finishing fourth in just his second start at Augusta National Golf Club.
Two other members of the Rolex family finished in the top five at Augusta National last year, with Rickie Fowler second and 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth third. Fowler has already been in winning form in 2019, claiming his ninth professional victory in February.
The pair are members of the Rolex New Guard, a group of elite young golfers at the forefront of the modern game. Fiercely competitive rivals on the course, they share great friendships away from it.
Brooks Koepka is another member of this prodigiously talented group. The Floridian won two Majors in 2018, including the defence of his U.S. Open title. The current No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings enters the Tournament seeking to add to his three Major victories.
Another U.S. player with a chance to add to his Major tally at Augusta National is 25-year-old Justin Thomas, who won three times, and topped the Official World Golf Rankings, during the 2018 PGA TOUR season.
With five wins in the past 12 months, another American in contention for Masters glory is Bryson DeChambeau. Famed for his meticulous, scientific approach to the sport, the 25-year-old has risen more than 50 places in the Official World Golf Rankings since competing at Augusta National last year.
Many of the players in the vanguard of today’s game were inspired by the deeds of another Rolex Testimonee, namely Tiger Woods. He returned to the winner’s circle in September 2018 with his 80th PGA TOUR victory, a haul that includes 14 Majors, four of them at the Masters.
The 43-year-old is one of only three golfers to have been presented with the champion’s Green Jacket on this many occasions, following in the footsteps of fellow Testimonees and golfing legends Jack Nicklaus (six titles) and Arnold Palmer (four).
Just behind that esteemed group is fellow Rolex Testimonee Phil Mickelson, whose five Major victories include three at the Masters, and whose exceptional longevity at the top of the game was marked in February 2019 when the 48-year-old achieved his 44th PGA TOUR victory.
And Another Thing...