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The Life of a Collector Tune in for the Masters: Golf’s Leading Watch Ambassadors

Starting the first full week of April, the Masters Tournament is played at Augusta National Golf Club. Since 1934, the 72 par course has been hosting the top players on the course. For golf fanatics and enthusiasts alike the Masters is another holiday celebrated.

Skip to the watches and golfers!

The Masters

For many, the week turns into a celebration where nothing else matters and eyes are glued to the screen, or course if they’re lucky enough to attend. Comments will be made, and sometimes “Get in the hole!” will be shouted at the TV during intense putts of favorite players.

Originally, the course was a plant nursery. To pay homage to the green history, each hole is named after a tree or shrub. Since 1940, the course has grown 635 yards, beginning at 6,800 yards and most recently measuring 7,435 yards.

1932 Augusta National Greens

Over the years, the course has seen many changes. Greens have been reshaped, and occasionally redesigned. The water hazards have been extended, trees have been planted and even new bunkers (sand traps) have been added.

Sudden-death was first used in 1979 by playing the final nine holes if no winner had been produced. The current sudden-death arrangement, was amended in 2004. Players will begin at No. 18 and then move on the No. 10; if necessary they will alternate between holes until a winner is determined.

Traditions at the Masters

The first “Augusta National Invitational,” or the original name of the Masters, was played in 1934 and won by Horton Smith. The course had only opened a year before the first tournament was played.

masters

The current name, The Masters Tournament, was introduced just 5 years later in 1939. Beginning in 1952, on the Tuesday before the tournament begins, the Champions dinner is held. Only past champions and board members are invited to dine at this exclusive event.

Starting in 1963, legendary golfers, typically past champions, hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play.

The Masters is the only PGA tournament to be played at the same course every year. Other PGA events rotate between different courses.

The Green Trophy

In 1937 the Augusta National members started wearing green jackets to stand out. Today, the jackets are assembled in Cincinnati with the wool coming from Georgia, the custom brass buttons from Connecticut and the iconic breast pocket patch from North Carolina.

The iconic green jacket has been awarded to the champion every year since 1949 when Sam Snead was the first to wear the Champion’s Jacket; they were then retroactively given to previous winners. During the jacket ceremony, the winner puts on a member’s jacket that is similar in size. A few weeks later, the champion receives a custom made jacket.

The jacket is kept by the winner for one year. In this year when they keep the jacket, the winner is allowed to wear it whenever they leave the house for an event. Phil Mickelson is known for wearing his jacket on a Krispy Kreme run.

After one year passes, the winner must return the jacket to the club where it will be available for them to wear for the Champions Dinner.

Bubba Watson and Jordan Speith Masters Jacket

Every year, the previous years’ winner puts the green jacket on the new winner. Jack Nicklaus was the first to win in consecutive years and donned the jacket himself, since then, the Chairman of Augusta National puts the jacket on consecutive year winners.

These Green Jackets are just as valuable as a regular trophy, and are highly sought after. In 2013, a jacket from 1934 and 1936 winner Horton Smith was put up for auction and set a record price for golf memorabilia.

Top Masters Wins

Leading the way is legendary player, Jack Nicklaus has six Masters wins between 1963 and 1986. Closely following behind him are both Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, featuring four wins each. Gary Player, a South African golfer, was the first non-American to win in 1961.

Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 shots at the age of 21, breaking records that had been in place for 32 years. Woods is also the record holder for the youngest winner, who was just 21 years and 108 days old when he won.

Jordan Spieth became the second youngest in 2015; he was 21 years and 8 months old when he took home his green jacket. Both Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015) hold the record at 18 strokes under par.

Leading Watch Ambassadors

Dustin Johnson

Currently leading the golf rankings at world number one, Dustin Johnson wears a Hublot watch. In 2016, Johnson had quite the year with his first Major title after winning the US Open. Just days after winning the WGC Mexico City in March 2017, Hublot and Johnson announced his partnership with the sporty watch brand.

“I am honored to join the distinguished list of Hublot Ambassadors, especially since I have always been such an admirer of their timepieces. Each one is so unique…”

Justin Thomas

After starting to play golf when he was two, it’s no surprise that Justin Thomas currently sits in position number 2 in the world rankings. He became the third youngest player to make the Wyndham Championship cut in 2009 with a first round score of 65. He made the jump from amateur player to pro in 2013 and has played in over 75 different event; including his debut at the Masters in 2016.

Turning 24 at the end of April, this young player is friends with Jordan Spieth, with whom he also shares a sponsorship with Rolex. He sports a Yacht-Master and Daytona, when he’s not playing golf which fits into his personal motto: “No excuses. Play like a champion.”

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth was a previous world ranked number one player, and held the title for a total of 27 weeks. Spieth is currently ranked world number four. The young player has won both the Masters and the US Open, although he had a famous flop at the 2016 Masters.

Rolex Exploer II worn by Jordan Speith

Speith can be seen sporting a white dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II when he is not playing golf. The modern Explorer II features a large orange 24-hour hand, mirroring the original Explorer II from 1971. This timepiece was designed to exceed in extreme conditions but is stylish enough to wear anywhere. For Speith, the white dial and orange hand pair perfectly with his green Masters jacket.

Justin Rose

Currently ranked number five, Justin Rose finished in a tie for second in the 2015 Masters Tournament and picked up other wins throughout 2015 and 2016.

Justin Rose Wears a Hublot Big Bang Unico

Rose can be seen wearing a Hublot Big Bang Unico. The watch features a skeleton dial, ceramic bezel and King Gold case. Rose was thrilled to partner with Hublot and has said that the brand “is [his] number one choice as a consumer” making the pairing very authentic.

Rory McIlroy

Another leading golfer, and currently ranked world number seven, is Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irish golfer held the world number one spot for 95 weeks before Jordan Speith slid in and took it over.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf for the Masters

Rory McIlroy has been an Ambassador for Omega the last few years. He wears the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf. This unique piece was inspired by the greens, transferring the green color onto the Seamaster name, minute track and central seconds hand. The watch features the Co-Axial calibre 8500 which is anti-magnetic up to 15,000 Gauss.

In 2017, Omega released a new version of the Aqua Terra Golf, featuring orange accents and a black and orange striped NATO strap.

Rickie Fowler

Another golfer with eclectic style on the golf course, he is also known for his collection of Rolex watches. He has been sponsored by Rolex for a few years and has quite the collection.

The current world number eight has three Milgauss, two Submariners, one Deep Sea and one Daytona! He has been known to show off various pieces from his collection across his social media accounts.

Sergio Garcia

Rounding out the official world ranking top 10 is Sergio Garcia. Between 200 and 2009, Garcia spent over 300 weeks in the top 10 rankings. Even with being a strong player and winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2017, Garcia has yet to win a Major title, that is – until he took home the green jacket at the Masters in 2017.

He did however, win when he became a brand ambassador for Omega. He can be seen wearing a “Black Black” Dark Side of The Moon. Most recently, with his Dubai win, he is now the proud owner of a Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m with rose gold case and brown leather strap which he won alongside the trophy and winner’s check.

Update: Congratulations to Sergio Garcia on his first Major win in 2017! He first played Augusta in 1999 as an amateur and finally took home the Green Jacket after a playoff round against Justin Rose. Garcia was spotted wearing a blue Seamaster Professional GMT from Omega as he put on his new jacket.

Since the big win in 2017, Garcia has been seen wearing the green Seamaster Aqua Terra “Golf” more frequently – the green matches perfectly with his jacket!

Jason Day

Hailing from Australia, and ranked current world number eleven, Jason Day is another golfer sporting a Rolex watch. For the 2016 Masters, he was battling a bulging disc in his back. Day slid in front of Spieth just a week and a half before the Masters in 2016 when he won the WGC – Dell Match Play.

Rolex DeepSea for the Masters

When he’s not swinging a club, Day can be seen wearing a Rolex Sea-Dweller. This extreme watch can reach a depth of 4,000 feet (1,220 meters). The distinctive black dial allows for easy readability. The unidirectional rotatable bezel is engraved with 60 minute graduations, allowing for accurate and safe dive monitoring.

Paul Casey

Another top player who sports a Rolex is Paul Casey. In 2015 and 2016, Casey tied in 6th and 4th respectively. After turning Pro in 2000, the English golfer has 16 wins under his belt across the PGA, European and Asian tours.

Off the course, Paul Casey wears a variety of Rolex models from Deepsea Sea-Dwellers, Explorers and Datejusts. Casey marks the 7th top 20 golfer sponsored by the iconic brand, including Phil Mickelson.

 

Henrik Stenson

The Swedish golfer has been a pro since 1999. Over the years, he gained the nickname “Iceman” on the greens because of his nerves of steel. He is currently ranked world number fourteen.

AP Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Gray Dial

To match his nerves of steel, he wears an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in steel. Both Audemars Piguet and Henrik Stenson have nothing but good things to say about their partnership. Stenson pushes the limits in his golf game while Audemars Piguet pushes the limits in watchmaking.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is just inside the top 20 ranked golfers, found at 18th overall. He is one of just 16 golfers to have won at least three of the four professional majors, including three Masters titles in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Phil Mickelson Wears a Rolex Cellini Danaos

Phil Mickelson can be seen wearing a Rolex Cellini Danaos, one of the more formal watches not only for Rolex but seen on athletes. He wears the Cellini while on the course and has been seen wearing a Datejust off the course. His Cellini is a manual wind watch. Being manually wound, the watch is not affected by the shock produced by striking a club against the golf ball.

In the early tournements of 2018, Phil has been spotted wearing the only Rolex with an exhibition caseback, the Prince.

 

Adam Scott

Winning the Masters in 2013, Adam Scott represents one of the elite golfers. Currently ranked at world number fifty-nine, the Australian is not only a role model for other golfers, but he is also deeply involved with philanthropy and supporting Australian children.

Adam Scott Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller

Found on his wrist is a Rolex. When he won his first Masters, and was the first Australian with this honor, he was seen wearing a Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller. The Deepsea is designed to reach a depth of 12,800 feet (3,900 meters). While he doesn’t need the water resistance on land, the Deepsea is another watch perfectly complementing the green Masters jacket.

 

 

 

Danny Willett

Congratulations to Danny Willett on his win at the Masters on Sunday April 10th, 2016. This win brought Willett his first title in the United States and the first major of his career. The 2016 Masters was only his second appearance, tying at 38 in his debut last year.

Danny WIllet receiving his Green Masters Jacet with an AP watch

Willett almost didn’t play the 2016 Masters; his wife was due to give birth to their first child on April 10th but the baby was born early. He was not going to play if his wife was still pregnant. With his win, Willett became the second Englishman to win the Masters. Legendary Nick Faldo was the first Englishman to carry the title. Willett is currently ranked world number 15.

Danny Willett is an ambassador to Audemars Piguet. He wore a Steel Royal Oak Chronograph and embraces the Audemars Piguet philosophy, “To break the rules, you must first master them.”  In the past few years, Willett has continue to improve his game and refine his style by combining power and technique.

 

Bubba Watson

After winning the Masters Tournament twice (2012 and 2014), Bubba Watson has become a fan favorite. Watson is one of the few golfers who wears his watch while on the course. His watch of choice? A Richard Mille RM038, nicknamed the Bubba Watson Victory Watch.

Bubba Watson and two Richard Mille Watches

This Richard Mille watch is white with a skeleton dial with a green inner flange designed to match the green of the golf course. He also has one with a green bezel to match his Masters green jacket. He wears a Richard Mille watch while playing because they are known to be extremely light and shock resistant.

Branden Grace

In 2016, Branden Grace partnered with Audemars Piguet to help fill out the brand’s “Dream Team” of golf ambassadors. The South African won his first four European Titles in 2012 and went on to win two Majors in 2015.

In 2017 Grace added a brand new Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph to his collection of watches. Grace was also one of the 10 players who played in the “Midnight Masters” video produced by Audemars Piguet showcasing a unique way to play the game.

Honorable Mentions

Although these golfers may not be in the current top 20, they still captivate us when they’re on the greens!

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer is another top golfer who is an ambassador to Rolex. Currently ranked 87th, he has previously spent a total of 8 weeks a number 1. He can be spotted wearing a Rolex Daytona.

Andrew “Beef” Johnston

A fan favorite who may not be playing The Masters is Andrew Johnston. He won over the hearts of Audemars Piguet in early 2017. Johnston seduced the brand’s CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias “by his infectious smile and enthusiasm for the game.”

Tiger Woods

One of the most well known golfers, became the Masters’ youngest winner ever when he was just 21 years old in 1997. His skill and style helped bring attention back to the golfing world and drive up the spirit of competition. He holds the record for world number one with 683 weeks, followed by Greg Norman at 331 weeks.

Tiger Woods Deepsea Sea-Dweller Rolex

Woods joined other top golfers as a Rolex ambassador in October of 2011. He can be seen wearing the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller. The watch has become his trademark timepiece off the course. While holding onto world ranking #104, Woods is still a fan favorite when he is on the course.

In 2018, Woods has been making a strong comeback in the early tournaments and is making his first start at Augusta for the first time since 2015. This appearance, and a T2 and T5 in five events this year, has made the 2018 Masters one of the most anticipated.

The Big Three

The Big 3 Golfers in their Green Masters Jackets

The associate between Rolex and Golf extends past the players currently on tour and reaches back to the 1960s. It was in the 60s that Rolex sponsored the “Big Three” players. These players include: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Between these three players, they have a combined 34 Majors, including 13 wins at the Masters. The rivalry between the three players helped commercialize golf and bring in fans, making golf into the sport we know today.

Rolex Day Date worn by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer

All three golfers sport the Rolex Day-Date, one of the most iconic models from the brand, which lines up with the three iconic golfers. The Day-Date model has been long associated with important and influential people in the world.

Arnold Palmer

Part of the Big 3 players, Arnold Palmer not only wore the iconic Day-Date, but he also opted for the sporty Submariner, GMT Master II and Sky-Dweller before he passed away in September of 2016. Arnold had an unorthodox style of playing golf which bolstered a legion of fans known as Arnie’s Army. He will be missed in the golfing world.

Be sure tune into the 82nd Masters Tournament to see the top golfers, and their watches, beginning April 2nd for the practice rounds and April 5th for the tournament days. The final round will be played on Sunday, April 8th so be sure to watch the intense last few holes of the top players. If nothing else, watch the winners ceremony after the last hole when the iconic Green Jacket is presented!

About Emily Smith
Emily loves the history of watches and loves learning how they work. She prefers Rolex and Omega watches but is learning the history behind other brands. She is excited to learn about new models and build her collection.

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