During the first week of April every year, all eyes are on Augusta. Set among the bright azalea bushes and lush green lawns of Augusta National Golf Club, the Masters is the first major golf tournament of the year. And from Phil Mickelson’s shot from behind the tree in 2010 to Bubba Watson’s incredible recovery from the pine straw in 2012, the Masters has definitely seen some memorable moments and can always guarantee a few surprises.
The sport of golf and the luxury watch industry have been synonymous for a long time. Luxury watch brands sponsor major tournaments around the world and many top golfers are brand ambassadors. Masters winners tend to follow the tradition of bare wrists during game play. But when it comes time to don the green jacket in front of the camera, you’ll find a watch on their wrist. We went through decades of winners and picked out some of the most notable Masters champions and their watches.
Danny Willett’s surprise win at the 2016 Masters dashed Jordan Spieth’s hope for a repeat. In the year since, he hasn’t kept up with his Master performance and maintains a relatively low profile among professional golfers on the tour. However, Audemars Piguet recruited him as part of the brand’s golf “Dream Team” in 2015. Willett sported an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore when he received the green jacket after his Masters win.
When he won the 2015 Masters, Jordan Spieth became the second-youngest champion in history at only 21 years old. As a Rolex ambassador, Spieth’s watch of choice at the green jacket ceremony was a white dial Rolex Explorer II. And when he handed over his Masters champion title in 2016 to Danny Willett, Spieth wore a white-dialed Rolex Daytona—guy’s got taste.
Bubba Watson entertains with his eclectic style of play and his electric personality—no surprise that he’s a fan favorite on the tour. Watson has won the Masters Tournament twice, in 2014 and 2012. When he won in 2012, he wore a Richard Mille watch. His choice to wear a watch while golfing is a unique one, but Richard Mille watches are extremely light and are built to withstand the impact of the golf club against the golf ball. At the 2014 Masters, Watson wore a Richard Mille RM038 “Bubba Watson Victory Watch” on his wrist.
Adam Scott made history when he became the first Australian golfer to win the Masters in 2013. While slipping on the green victor’s jacket, Scott showed off the Rolex DeepSea Sea-Dweller on his wrist. Scott’s 2013 victory raised his public profile, which probably helped boost his Rolex ambassadorship.
Trevor Immelman was the Masters victor in 2008. At that time, Immelman was a rising star in the golf world. His win at the 2008 Masters captured the attention of golf fans and the luxury watch industry alike. No surprise: Rolex quickly recruited Immelman to become an ambassador, adding him to their list of champions.
Three-time Masters Champion Phil Mickelson won his first Masters in 2004 and then again in 2006 and 2010. Mickelson is one of the most beloved golfers on tour, with large crowds of fans following him around the course. Many golf enthusiasts will say that Mickelson’s 2004 Masters win was the most important of his career, as it was his first win at a professional major championship. Mickelson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. Rolex claims Mickelson as a brand ambassador, and he’s particularly partial to his gold Rolex Cellini Danaos.
Considered one of the greatest golfers to play the game, Tiger Woods has won four Masters Tournaments: in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005. Woods has served as brand ambassador for several watch brands in his 20-year career, including Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Rolex. For Rolex, Woods wears a Rolex Deepsea. And while he’s not at the top of his game anymore, he’s still a high-profile catch for sponsorships and TV ratings alike.
English golfer Nick Faldo won the Masters three times, in 1989, 1990, and 1996, and he now does on-air coverage of the Open Championship for BBC Sport. Faldo is among an elite class of golfers—Golf Digest ranked him as one of the Top 20 greatest golfers of all time. To add to his list of honors, Faldo was made a Knight Bachelor in 2009 and was granted the Payne Stewart Award in 2014. Audemars Piguet claims him as a brand ambassador, referring to him as a “living legend.” In 1992, 1997, and 2002, the watchmaker even released limited edition Royal Oak watches in his honor.
German golfer Bernhard Langer has won the Masters twice, in 1985 and 1993, and is still very successful on the Seniors Tour. Langer is currently a Rolex ambassador.
One of the hottest golfers in the 70s and 80s, Tom Watson won the Masters Tournament in 1977 and 1981. Watson had an illustrious career, and is still considered to be one of the best links players of all time, as he won several Open Championships (which are played on links courses). Watson became a Rolex brand ambassador in 2011.
Gary Player is a three-time Masters Champion, winning the Green Jacket in 1961, 1974, and 1978. In addition to those wins, this World Golf Hall of Famer has many other victories and accolades as one of just five players to win all four majors—a career Grand Slam. Known as one of “The Big Three,” along with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Player is a golf legend. Rolex added him to their list of brand ambassadors back in 60s, and he’s been a fna ever since.
Although Arnold Palmer passed on 2016, he was a golf legend well before then. He was inarguably one of the greatest players in the history of the sport and won the Masters four times: in 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964. “The King” is considered one of the first ‘successful’ golfers, helping popularize the sport in the 1960s. Arnold Palmer was a lifelong Rolex ambassador, and his personal watch was a yellow-gold Rolex Day-Date.
Jack Nicklaus is a golfing icon and a sports legend. A six-time Masters Champion, Nicklaus has won more than any other golfer, taking home the Green Jacket in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, and 1986. Along with Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, many credit Nicklaus and his friendly rivalry with these two players as helping to commercialize golf and bring in fans. He’s also a Rolex fan, having worn his Rolex Day-Date for almost 50 years now.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 7, 2015. We have updated it with new information.
Image Credits: Header,11; Wikimedia Commons. 1-2, 4-6, 13; Associated Press. 3; Getty. 7-9; augusta.com. 10; Rolex.