Rolex’s league of exceptional golfing talent continue to dominate the sport
ON APRIL 13, 1997, the name Tiger Woods made headlines across the world; he had won the prestigious Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes in Augusta, Georgia that day. He was just 21 years old and the youngest player ever to win the tournament. This would be the American’s first of a remarkable 14 Major championship wins, including the US Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters, signalling an era of dominance that took golf to heights never previously reached.
Meanwhile in the women’s game, Sweden’s Annika Sörenstam made her mark by claiming two US Women’s Open titles while still in her 20s – she would go on to win an unprecedented 93 events, including 10 Majors. These two iconic golfers changed the face of the sport. They were credited with sparking an interest in the sport globally and, significantly, for inspiring a generation of juniors, many of whom were in their teens and would go on to become world- class golfers.
A quarter of a century later, these young men and women have emerged as the game’s vanguard, determined to write their own history. They’re now the ones changing the landscape of the sport. The professional golf ranks are currently rife with players under the age of 25, proving that golf is no longer an “old man’s game”.
Athletes such as three-time Major winner Jordan Spieth and 2017’s breakout star, Justin Thomas, both only 25 years of age, are striving to set new standards.
The girls, too, are upping the ante. Lexi Thompson became the youngest- ever winner of an LPGA tournament in 2011 at age 16. Her record was then broken by another teen, 15-year- old Lydia Ko, who achieved the same feat less than a year later and went on to win two consecutive Major championships at the 2015 Evian Championship and the 2016 ANA Inspiration.
What these young prodigious golfers have in common shortly after turning professional is that they became part of Rolex’s family of ambassadors, or “Testimonees”, as the brand calls them. Together with other exceptionally talented golfers of their generation, they are part of a collective known as the Rolex New Guard.
Among Rolex’s more than 150 annual sponsored events across fi ve sports segments ( golf, sailing, tennis, motorsports and
Clockwise from above: Rolex Testimonee Rickie Fowler at The Hero World Challenge in 2017; Testimonee Jason Day with the 2016 Players Championship Trophy; Testimonee Lydia Ko