Lifetime Fitness

Everything You Need to Know About the Rolex Series

After a tee-throwing controversy and deluge in the desert that pushed the final round to Monday, Rory McIlroy eked out a win over Patrick Reed with a birdie on the 72nd hole of this year’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic. It was a dramatic finish to McIlroy’s first victory at the Rolex Series event on the DP World Tour. But  it might have you thinking: What exactly is the Rolex Series?

If you’re the kind of golf nut that records the overnight action from around the globe, you probably already know the answer. But for those who teeter into the less-obsessed camp, the short answer is: must-see TV.

The long answer is the Rolex Series is a collection of five elevated tournaments on the DP World Tour (aka the European Tour), which comprises the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Hero Dubai Desert Classic, Genesis Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, and the season-ending DP World Tour. Each event in the quintet draws the world’s best, who are all taking a crack at juiced-up purses, as well as boosted Tour Championship and Ryder Cup points.

Along with the trophy, McIlroy rounded up 1,355 points and banked more than $1.5 million with the win of the second series event of the year. In contrast, the next regular stop on the calendar, Ras Al Khaimah Championship, features a total prize pool of $2 million and 2,750 Tour points, with roughly $320,000 and 460 points to the winner.

Starting the year in the right way

“It’s a great start to the year,” McIlroy said with a victor’s grin in a post-round interview. “This is probably sweeter than it should be or needs to be.”


But it’s not just the purses and points that make the events special. The courses, event staging, plus the the content produced and delivered globally all elevate the tournaments’ status, according to Guy Kinnings, the DP World Tour’s deputy chief executive, Ryder Cup director, and chief commercial officer.

“While each of the five events has its own individual identity, whether you’re a fan, player, hospitality guest on-site, or a viewer watching at home, you know immediately that it’s part of the Rolex Series,” Kinnings says. “They’ve become unmissable occasions. Of course, top-class golf is central to everything we do at these events, and we’ve seen some wonderful spectacles in the Rolex Series since 2017, right up to our most recent finish.”

The pros certainly love the events with a shot at more money and points while playing on some of the world’s best courses.

“When you’re coming down the stretch on Sunday and you’re in contention to win a Rolex Series event, you know it’s massive and you’ve got to be ready for it,” says Tommy Fleetwood.

Jon Rahm, a three-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship, adds most of the European tournaments he plays are Rolex Series events. “I guess it brings the best out of me,” says Rahm. “They’re always great golf courses, great weeks..the environment is really, truly amazing.”

Rolex’s storied golf history

Rolex has a long history with golf dating back to 1967 and the brand’s partnership with Arnold Palmer. Today, along with the series, the iconic Swiss watchmaker sponsors the men’s and women’s US Opens, PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Open, AIG Women’s Open, Masters, Ryder Cup, The Solheim Cup, and The Presidents Cup.

“Rolex has a unique relationship with the game of golf,” says Kinnings. “They’ve been committed to our sport for more than 50 years and we’re very proud they’re our Tour’s longest-standing partner, with an enduring relationship since 1997.”

For now, the Tour says there are no plans to expand the series. “At the moment, the five events we have as part of the Rolex Series work well,” Kinnings says. “We are delighted with them and will continue to enhance them. For example, this year all five are carbon neutral, leading the way as part of our pathway to net zero.”

The next Rolex Series stop is at the Genesis Scottish Open, hosted by the Renaissance Club in North Berwick on July 13, where another $9 million and 8,000 total points will be on the line. So, go ahead and clear your calendar now.

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