The Rise of The Rolex New Guard
Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson represent a new era of golfing excellence and are part of a collective known as the Rolex Ne
It was The Masters 1997. Tiger Woods had announced his arrival on the worldstage by winning his first of four green jackets at the Augusta National Golf Club. This would be the American’s first of a remarkable 14 Major championship wins, signalling an era of dominance that took golf to heights never previously reached.In the women’s game, Sweden’s Annika Sörenstam had already claimed two U.S. Women’s Open titles and would go on to win an unprecedented 10 Major championships. These two iconic golfers changed the face of the sport, introducing it to a broader global audience. At the same time, and away from the spotlight, a generation of future elite-level golfers, many of whom would go on to attribute their inspiration to Woods and Sörenstam, were just at the start of their journeys towards becoming world-class golfers.
Motivated to achieve greatness and follow in the footsteps of their iconic predecessors, every member of the Rolex New Guard prepares for pressure situations with unrelenting emphasis on precision, performance, passion, reliability and uncompromising quality. They play with the utmost respect for one another while sharing a mutual bond and close friendship.
Rolex has championed golf since 1967, nurturing a relationship with its worldclass family of Testimonees, all of whom exude excellence on and off the course. Their raw talent and quest for precision and performance have helped them reach the top with integrity, maturity and respect.
Among them are Americans Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler. Fiercely competitive on the course, all three men have already accomplished great feats, with Jordan Spieth winning the 2015 Masters Tournament and the 2015 U.S. Open, followed by a victory at The 146th Open, in 2017. Justin Thomas claimed four PGA TOUR events in 2017, including his first Major victory, on route to being named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. Rickie Fowler, who turned professional in 2009 shortly before his 20th birthday, held the accolade of number one ranked amateur golfer inthe world for 37 weeks between 2007 and 2008, and in 2016 reached a career high of fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking following his victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Away from the course, each of these elite competitors is hugely supportive of one another, having built a friendship based on years of seeing each other develop. The evolution of their personalities can partly be attributed to the support received from the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), an organisation dedicated to the growth and development of young men and women aspiring to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. As a Premier Partner since 1986, Rolex has seen many of its Testimonees benefit from the AJGA, including Phil Mickelson, Lorena Ochoa, Lexi Thompson and Tiger Woods. Aside from creating bonds between golfers and teaching them the importance of tradition, etiquette and respect, the AJGA also rewards the best junior golfer in its ranks with the Rolex Junior Player of the Year award, instilling the recipient with the confidence and desire to go on and achieve further success throughout their professional careers.
Reflecting on his memories of being awarded the prestigious title, Jordan Spieth stated that: “My first personal connection came when I was awarded the AJGA Rolex Player of the Year in 2009 and my affinity with the brand has grown as our relationship has evolved.”
Fellow American Brooks Koepka is another member of the Rolex family who has experienced Major championship success, winning consecutive U.S. Open title in 2017 and 2018. Australian Jason Day experienced his first Major triumph in Wisconsin, aged 27 when he won the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. His commitment to precision on the course, persistence and consistency saw him become the No.1 ranked golfer in the world the same year.
Having only turned professional in 2013, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is one of Asia’s finest golfers, with an impressive Majors record to accompany his five PGA TOUR wins. The 25-year-old will expect further accolades in the near future.
Both Rolex Testimonees since 2016, two of the golfers making up the European contingent of the New Guard are Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick and Spain’s Jon Rahm. Following his second win on the European Tour in 2017, both of which were Rolex Series events, Rahm said: “To win two of the European Tour’s Rolex Series events as a Rolex Ambassador has made these victories that much more special.” The European Tour, a partner of Rolex since 1995, introduced the Rolex Series in2017, an initiative four-time European Tour event winner Matthew Fitzpatrick commends: “The Rolex Series highlights Rolex’s continued commitment to our gameand has been an exceptional addition to the season, enabling both European Tour players and fans to enjoy an elevated level of golf, closer to home.”
Along with Fitzpatrick and Rahm, 26-yearold Thomas Pieters, from Belgium, isanother European counterpart who made a name for himself at the 2016 Ryder Cup When he set a new rookie record for points earned. He is sure to play an integral role in The 2018 European Ryder Cup Team, the esteemed event founded in 1927that Rolex has been a partner of, when in Europe, since 1995.
Rolex is also proud to support many of the world’s best female golfers in the world.All three women in the New Guard are incredibly young yet have experienced success beyond their years.
Nobody has achieved more at such a young age than the supremely-talented New Zealander Lydia Ko. At just 20 years old, Ko holds 12 LPGA Tour wins, as well as two Major titles. Having spent a record 130 weeks as the topranking amateur, Ko wenton to become the youngest player of either gender to achieve number one status in the Rolex Rankings as a professional. She then became the youngest woman to win a Major championship in 2015 at The Evian Championship, where Rolex isthe Official Timekeeper and made history by becoming the youngest golfer to win two Major championships in a row with victory at the ANA Inspiration in 2016. Ko, like the great Annika Sörenstam, plays with accuracy and elegance found only in the very best.
Another rising star is American Lexi Thompson. At just 12 years of age, Thompson became the youngest golfer ever to qualify to play in the U.S. Women’s Open before turning professional in 2015. Her incredible level of performance saw her seta record as the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA tournament, aged just 16. Three years later, she obtained one of the pinnacle achievements in the sport by winning the ANA inspiration at age 19 and, with two LPGA Tour victories in 2017, continues to contest for top honours in the ladies’ game.
Born in September 1977, the youngest of the Rolex New Guard, Ontarioborn Brooke Henderson continues to make waves in the golfing world. Having turned professional in 2014, the Canadian won her first Major at the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the event’s youngest winner at 18. Respect and camaraderie, as well as a desire to win were evident before Henderson’s dramatic playoff winover Ko at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016 after which the Canadian stated: “Lydia Ko is definitely a role model for me, and being able to become friends with her on tour and see her week to week is really cool, even if I know that she isthe competition.”
The achievements and accolades of the New Guard are a shining example to young golfers of what can be achieved in the unrelenting pursuit of individual excellence. Every member displays the integrity, respect and sportsmanlike behaviour that is so crucial in inspiring the next generation of true ambassadors of the game.
Brooke Henderson isthe youngest of the Rolex New Guard, who continues to make wavesin the golfing world
Three-time Major winner Jordan Spieth was awarded the AJGA Rolex Player of the Year in 2009 as an amateur
Nobody has achieved more at such a young age than the supremelytalented New Zealander Lydia Ko