The Amundi Evian Championship: Celebrating 30 years of golf’s only Major to be staged in continental Europe

The Amundi Evian Championship: Celebrating 30 years of golf’s only Major to be staged in continental Europe

Text: Rolex SA Photos: Rolex©, Thomas Lovelock©

Rolex Testimonee and 2022 champion Brooke Henderson plays a tee shot at The 2023 Amundi Evian Championship. Thomas Lovelock/Rolex©

Golf’s only Major to be staged in continental Europe, The Amundi Evian Championship is a reference point in the women’s game. First played in 1994, it was elevated to become the fifth women’s Major championship in 2013. Over the years, the tournament has developed its own history, balancing tradition with innovation while maintaining an unwavering respect for the spirit of the game. Rolex has been a Main Partner and Official Timekeeper at this tournament since 2000 as part of its broad and enduring commitment to women’s golf that dates back to 1980 when the Swiss watchmaker became a partner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

The Amundi Evian Championship is held annually in July on The Champions Course at the Evian Resort Golf Club, nestled between the shores of Lake Geneva and the foot of the Alps. This year’s edition, from 11–14 July, marks the 30th anniversary of the inaugural tournament.

Each year, the tournament gathers the world’s elite from the Rolex Rankings to contest the season’s penultimate Major. Its honour roll of past champions includes Rolex Testimonee Annika Sörenstam (2000, 2002), one of the greatest golfers in the history of the women’s game and who set a benchmark of excellence to which the modern generation can aspire, along with fellow Swede Anna Nordqvist (2017).

Reflecting on her victory, which came in a thrilling playoff, Anna Nordqvist said: ”Being European and winning a Major championship on European soil was very special. I would say that with all the history associated with The Amundi Evian Championship, the stunning views, amazing atmosphere, how well it is run and it being a tournament that I used to watch every summer growing up, it was an unforgettable moment. To have my name etched on the trophy is so special.”

Other members of the Rolex family to triumph at this visually stunning venue include Suzann Pettersen of Norway (2013), New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (2015) and Brooke Henderson of Canada (2022). In capturing her second Major title at The Amundi Evian Championship in 2022, Henderson became the first LPGA player to begin any Major with successive rounds of 64. She also became the first Canadian golfer, man or woman, to win more than one Major title.

Commenting on the unique challenge of contesting the Major championships, Brooke Henderson said: ”It is truly exciting to be able to compete in the Major championships and go up against the best female players in the world, and on such incredible and differing venues. During those weeks, you have to be at your best mentally, physically and even emotionally. You really do have to be in the right place on all fronts. There is always pressure when competing at Major championships as your career is ultimately defined by your performances and finishes during these tournaments. The challenge of playing impeccably, and to the best of your ability, is what makes those weeks so exciting.”

Steeped in history dating back to 1904, The Champions Course offers an unrivalled golfing experience. In 2013, it underwent significant renovation. The redesign work, undertaken by European Golf Design, has resulted in the course becoming even more befitting of a Major championship venue, adding more drama and spectator viewing areas.

Since 2019, The Prize for a Better Tomorrow presented by Rolex has been awarded at The Amundi Evian Championship. The international prize celebrates initiatives that have significant societal impact and promote qualities shared by this women’s Major championship and the Swiss watchmaker, namely excellence, generosity, continuity and inspiration. The prize shines a light on the commitment of individuals and organizations who champion a charitable cause and implement actions that improve and reinvent people’s lives.

The inaugural recipient of the prize was former World No. 1 and Rolex Testimonee Lorena Ochoa for the creation of her Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation. The prize was awarded by fellow Testimonee Lindsey Vonn, one of the most successful women’s skiers, and rewarded the Mexican golfer for her involvement in the education of underprivileged children in her native country. Shortly after turning professional in 2002, Ochoa pledged to provide financial support to a Mexican school for underprivileged children near Guadalajara. She then became involved in creating her own foundation with a mission to provide opportunities for children and adults via family-based health, education and inclusion programmes delivered through family golf activities.

Rolex has been a committed partner of women’s golf for more than 40 years as part of one of the most successful relationships between a brand and sport. This enduring partnership contributes to the game’s development around the world. The Swiss watchmaker is part of the very fabric of golf and supports the game at all levels, including elite players and legends of the game, Major championships – including all five women’s Majors – the foremost professional tours and the world’s leading team competitions, among them the women’s Solheim Cup. The brand’s support also extends to amateur tournaments, international federations and organizations representing golfers of all ages.

Rolex’s association with the game is built on a strong sense of integrity and respect for tradition that promote the continuity of expertise and transfer of knowledge, and an appreciation of the importance to invest in the sport’s development for future generations.

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