Fifty years and counting

‘Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the face of the world would have changed

Arnold Palmer (1929 – 2016)
André Heiniger (1921 – 2000)

It’s a golden and green dressed jubilee, the Rolex colours for ages. The Swiss high-end watchmaker has been, and still is, one of the most important golf partners, possibly the most significant for the last fifty years. It might have all started one day of 1961 when André Heiniger, future chairman of the Geneva based company, a Hans Wilsdorf Foundation property, met Arnold Palmer in Japan. Already a mega star in the US and a Rolex Oyster owner,”The King” was touring with his advisor Mark McCormack who was to create IMG later becoming an iconic talent and global sports agency. They were convinced that the future of golf would only happen through the nascent American tv networks to start with.

A last handshake and golf fan André Heiniger was back at his Geneva desk, thousand ideas between his ears and already fancying  for Rolex a whole new communication approach to golf. What would be today’s golf without that encounter? Who knows? Everything is imaginable. In 1967, choosen to be the very first named Ambassador by Rolex, a dedicated partner as a business sponsor, Arnie was a perfect role model and was soon joined by Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, winning together 34 major championships and so nicknamed The Big Three, a trademark. 

Tom Watson

Rolex’s immense involvement in golf is deep-rooted, permeating all levels of the sport. Strong support for top-level players, the main professional tours and governing bodies, as well as the finest events in the golfing world, has placed Rolex at the very heart of the game for the last 50 years. Second to none the Geneva watchmaker remains wholeheartedly committed to this noble sport and to the next generation of players paying homage to the “Big Three”, among which the all-time crowd favourites Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson, and already legendary Tiger Woods  with his 14 Major titles, 18 World Golf Championships, 79 PGA Tour victories, possibly the best ever golfer in the history. 

Jordan Spieth

Two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer and the first-ever Australian Masters champion Adam Scott also appear on this roll of honour, sharing the laurel crowns with a talented young breed (Jordan Spieth, Thomas Pieters, Hideki Matsuyama & Co) and some great lady golfers, Queen Annika Sorenstam, Mexican Lorena Ochoa who stopped too quickly an astonishing career just before teenagers Lexi Thompson and former world’s No 1, Lydia Ko stepped in.

Rolex is totally immerged in golf nowadays and supports the game at all levels, from elite players, men and women’s Major championships, the foremost professional tours and the world top team formats to global amateur events, international and national golf federations and organisations attached to junior and senior golfers. Marking its golden jubilee this year, Rolex partnership with Golf is there to support its growth and well-being. Without any doubt, it will go on for ages. Happy anniversary, dear Rolex!  RK/PPH

       © Images Rolex/Chris Turvey