Geneva, 13 July 2015 – Patron and Official Timekeeper of The Open, Rolex remains steadfast as one of golf’s leading supporters when the game’s oldest major returns to the St Andrews Links Old Course from 16–19 July.
Rolex has been involved with The R&A, golf’s governing body, since 1979; first as Official Timekeeper of The Open, then extending to Patron in 2003. And the Swiss watchmaker is at the very heart of the prestigious title when it is played at the “Home of Golf”.
Rolex and the St Andrews Links Trust, responsible for the management and maintenance of the seven links courses at St Andrews, have forged a long-standing partnership based on shared values and a commitment to both heritage and innovation. With courses as renowned as the Old Course under its guardianship, the Trust is becoming the international reference for the sustainable management of golf courses around the world. The commitment to progress and respect for tradition, as well the Trust’s overarching commitment to grow the game’s timeless appeal, fit well with a watchmaker famed for its peerless reputation and superior advancements in watchmaking.
Euan Loudon, Chief Executive of the St Andrews Links Trust, said: “We are proud to have Rolex as part of our evolving history. It is thanks to such relationships that we can continue to nurture the ancient game here at the “Home of Golf” while also embracing new levels of sustainability and environmental practices.”
The Open at St Andrews has given rise to a legacy of distinguished champions – the best of their generation, including Rolex Testimonees Jack Nicklaus (1970, 1978) and more recently, Tiger Woods (2000, 2005). The location is so symbolic that Jack Nicklaus chose to end his outstanding career at St Andrews, waving goodbye from the Swilcan Bridge to adoring golf fans in 2005.
This year, Rolex Testimonee and legend of the game, Tom Watson, will tee up for the last time in The Open. The American, whose name is inscribed no fewer than five times on the iconic Claret Jug, was granted a special extension of his exemption, to allow him to play his last stroke at St Andrews, 40 years after his first appearance.
“I have mixed emotions about competing in my last Open,” said Watson. “The finality of it is a little bit like death, but great consolation is found in the many wonderful memories of this Championship. Those memories will always temper that sadness.”
Rolex Director of Communication & Image, Arnaud Boetsch, said: “It will be a privilege to witness Tom Watson’s farewell to The Open and we thank him for the sportsmanship, integrity and charisma he has brought to the game and its fans over the years. We also look forward to supporting the many Rolex Testimonees that will be playing at St Andrews.
“Our relationship with The R&A continues to flourish and we are proud of our long-term commitment to this historic event as Patron and Official Timekeeper. We’d also like to pay a special tribute to Peter Dawson, who will be retiring this September after 16 successful years as CEO of The R&A and Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. We have greatly appreciated collaborating with Mr. Dawson over the years. His extraordinary contribution has helped globalize the game of golf and ensure the continued success of The Open for many years to come.”
Rolex’s association with The R&A extends to a host of partnerships at both amateur and elite levels. Among others, the leading Swiss watchmaker champions the Amateur Championship, Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the newly inaugurated Latin America Amateur Championship, the World Amateur Golf Ranking and the Walker Cup – a team competition co-organized with the USGA involving the United Kingdom and Ireland against the United States. Rolex’s commitment to every level of the game was further strengthened in 2012 when Rolex become the Presenting Sponsor of The Senior Open Championship.
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A said: “Through its historic and unwavering support, Rolex has become part of the fabric of golf, from supporting the amateur game to increasing awareness of The Rules, on through an association of more than 30 years with golf’s original major to presenting the Senior Open. Rolex is making a significant contribution at every level of our sport.”
Among the Rolex Testimonees teeing up at St Andrews is golf’s newest and brightest star, Jordan Spieth. The 2015 Masters and U.S. Open Champion will have the chance to become only the third player in history to win three majors in a row in the same year. The Texan has already demonstrated his ability on the British links in past performances as an amateur, finishing second at the 2008 Junior Open and winning both singles games at the Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen – both of which are Rolex sponsored events.
Spieth is joined in the field by Rolex’s other foremost golfing Testimonees, vying for their place in history at the 144th Open.