Geneva, 10 July 2023 – For more than 160 years, the world’s best players have taken on the unrelenting challenges of links golf at The Open, the game’s oldest championship. This year, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, on the north-west coast of England, hosts the 151st edition from 20–23 July.
The fourth and final men’s Major championship of the year, The Open takes us back to the roots of the ancient game, evoking the sport’s core values – respect for tradition, humility and integrity – which echo Rolex’s own defining philosophy. In 1981, Rolex became Official Timekeeper of The Open and the brand’s clocks appeared on a championship golf course for the first time at that year’s edition, played at Royal St George’s. The iconic clocks have adorned the courses hosting The Open every year since.
To win The Open requires tackling not only the weight of history but also the forces of nature in the form of challenging links courses and unpredictable weather conditions. Lifting the Claret Jug has been the crowning achievement for some of the game’s greatest players, including Rolex Testimonees Tom Watson (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983), Tiger Woods (2000, 2005, 2006) and The Big Three – Arnold Palmer (1961, 1962), Jack Nicklaus (1966, 1970, 1978) and Gary Player (1959, 1968, 1974).
The Open is staged on a rotation of demanding venues in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Founded in 1869, Royal Liverpool Golf Club is one of the oldest and most fitting venues, having hosted the championship on 12 previous occasions. Woods won the 2006 Open Championship held at Royal Liverpool, successfully defending the title he won the previous year at St Andrews and became Champion Golfer of the Year – an accolade bestowed on the winner since the first Open in 1860 – for the third time in his career.
Other Testimonees to have triumphed at The Open include Jordan Spieth (2017), Francesco Molinari (2018) and Collin Morikawa (2021). Speaking on the unique nature of links courses, Jordan Spieth said: “I have always loved playing links golf. I fell in love with it when I was 14 years old and came over to England for the first time. I love the imagination that is needed on the course, particularly around the greens and with the different flights you get to hit with the golf ball. Even though they are normally relatively flat pieces of land, you have to play with so much feel in order to be successful – especially as the conditions get worse or change. You generally get to experience all four seasons in one day whilst playing and this is something you do not get anywhere else.”
Reflecting on the significance of his triumph at Royal St. George’s, Collin Morikawa said “Everyone knows that The Open is really the home of golf – it is where the game started. Receiving the Claret Jug in 2021 was extremely special as it contains so much of the history of the game.”
Rolex’s relationship with The R&A – organizers of The Open – marked a key moment in the brand’s burgeoning partnership with the sport that extended to the AIG Women’s British Open. The forging of these early relationships showcased the brand’s commitment to the game.
The R&A was formed in 2004 to take on The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews’ three distinct areas of responsibility: administering the Rules of Golf in conjunction with the United States Golf Association (USGA); running The Open and other key golfing events; and developing the game in existing and emerging golfing nations. Together with the USGA, The R&A governs the sport of golf worldwide.
For almost 60 years, Rolex’s involvement in the sport has grown and flourished, permeating all levels of the game, providing support for elite and emerging players alike, the main professional tours, the finest events on the golfing calendar and governing bodies. The affiliation began in 1967 when Arnold Palmer became the brand’s first Testimonee in the sport, joined by his friends and great rivals Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player; and it has developed into one of the most successful and enduring relationships between a brand and sport. The Big Three, as they were affectionately known, won a combined 34 Majors, including eight Open titles, demonstrating the pedigree required to succeed at this esteemed event.
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