While many of last year’s golf tournaments were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, this year many of the games are moving forward. Granted they are predominantly spectator-less at the moment, that doesn’t stop the golfers from giving the games their top swings. As is the case with most sports, a good number of golfers are also watch brand ambassadors. After all, golf and watchmaking both require incredible precision and patience, as well as excellence in style.
Generally speaking, most golfers who are also watch brand ambassadors don’t wear their watch during play (although a few do), but they don them immediately after the game before accepting their award or going to the clubhouse. Here, we take a closer look at the watches that have a huge presence on the courses and the on the wrists of some of the best golfers in the world.
Rolex is perhaps the most prolific player in the world of golf. The brand’s involvement in the sport dates back almost 55 years to 1967 when the brand partnered with Arnold Palmer. Since then, Rolex has gone on to sponsor some of the greatest golf events in the world, including The President’s Cup. It is the Official Timekeeper of The U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open and has initiated its own golf tournament: the European Rolex Series Tour. The brand also works with the professional governing bodies of golf.
It has a long list of great golfers on its roster, including the “Big Three” – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. However, the brand also boasts an impressive list of current players and new up-and-comers. Tiger Woods, who is currently in the hospital following a devastating car accident that shattered his right leg, is a Rolex brand ambassador. He has been spotted wearing a host of different Rolex watches. Similarly, golf great Phil Mickelson, who has won more than 50 important events, including three masters, is a brand ambassador and has been seen wearing Rolex Oysters, but also the Rolex Sky-Dweller.
Current champion gofers who are also brand ambassadors include Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, among others. There are also several women on the roster, such as Brook Henderson, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, and Anna Nordquist. They all wear different Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches.
Almost rivaling Rolex with its list of ambassadors, Audemars Piguet’s golf roster reads like a veritable who’s who in the sport. Just about 20 golfers grace the lineup, including Northern Irishman Darren Clarke and British golfer Ian Poulter. Poulter has been seen wearing many different Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches.
Audemars Piguet also hosts a series of private tournaments and in its most recent golf campaign, nine pro golfers came together with a DJ/Producer to capture the sound of golf. In addition to the big names mentioned above, other Audemars Piguet brand ambassadors from the world of golf include Spaniard Adri Arnaus, who turned professional just a few years ago in 2017, and American golfer Wesley Bryan who swings a mean golf trick shot. Britain’s Tyrrell Hatton and South African golfer Branden Grace, among others. All of these pros wear some version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore. Audemars Piguet doesn’t forget women either and has Tania Tare, a trick-shot artist from New Zealand on its roster.
A brand that always does things differently, Richard Mille has relationships with athletes in a host of different fields, from golf to tennis, auto racing, sprinting, and more. In all cases, the brand requires its ambassadors to wear their watches during play – attesting to the robustness of the timepieces. Bubba Watson wears his watch, the RM 38-01 Tourbillon Bubba Watson during play. It houses a patented g-sensor that takes into account and compensates for those powerful swings. The case of the most recent version is crafted in green high-tech ceramic with a white middle case and white strap made of grade 5 titanium with a protective white rubber casing.
This Swiss brand also has some tight ties to the world of golf that started 20 years ago in 2011, when Omega was positioned as the PGA of America’s Official Timekeeper. Today, the brand sponsors or times a host of events, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classics, the Omega European Masters and more. Additionally, the brand makes an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf watch, inspired by the tournaments.
The brand collaborated with its golf brand ambassadors when defining the functions of the timepiece. Those golfers include Dustin Johnson, sometimes called DJ, and Patrick Reed, a leading points scorer in the Ryder Cups. Sometimes called Captain America because of his patriotism, Reed was only the fifth player to win three PGA Tour titles before turning 24. Other friends of the brand include Alexander Levy and Joel Girrbach.
It should also be noted that just recently TAG Heuer unveiled its Connected Golf watch that can track so many aspects of the game, including distance to the green, hazards, shot distance, and even has interactive 3D maps of the courses and more.
One of the most exciting new features of the watch is the innovative club recommendation tool. As you move the target on the map, the app recommends the right club for you based on the distance. You can first set up distances for each of your clubs, and the watch will then take into account the shots you recorded for an even better recommendation. These recommendations are available through TAG Heuer’s Golf App, which is free, even if you don’t buy the watch. Tommy Fleetwood recently joined the team of TAG Heuer ambassadors and will be wearing their newly updated Connected Golf Edition.
Naturally, other watch brands have some golf affiliations, but these are among the most noticeable.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.