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INTERVIEW

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History

Maker During the “Golf for Fifty Years” exhibition at the Bund of Shanghai, Rolex officially announced Li Haotong as the brand’s Testimonee. Louie Chan talks to the China’s No. 1 player about his new journey with the watch brand. Tell us about how you feel to become a Rolex Testimonee? It ’s a n honour to be par t of t he Rolex family and to stand with all the historical, legendary figures on the same platform. It is also a huge compliment and recognition to a professiona l gol fer. Wi l l keep me motivated to play and get better. I have spent some time to visit the “Golf for Fi f t y Yea rs” ex h ibit ion. T here is a timepiece which was the first ever diving watch on earth. Someone asked me to guess how deep could the watch go. I said the maximum should be 500m, but the answer was 12,000m! It’s unbelievable as the watch was made 100 years before! Do you recall the first time you received a call from Rolex? It was incredible and unbelievable. I have never imagined becoming a Testimonee for a top watch brand in the world before. AFP/Getty Images

How do you find the new Rolex Series initiative in 2017? The Rolex Series elevates eight world-class golf tournaments into unmissable sporting 48

HK GOLFER・DEC 2017

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occasions. As a Tour pro, I am aspired to compete on some of the world’s most iconic destinations. And the enhanced prize money offers bigger incentives. It is a double win situation for me – Becoming a Rolex Testimonee and playing in the Rolex Series. You have made history for China golf this season - shooting a brilliant 63 in the final round of The Open. How do you feel to be the standard-bearer of golf in China? I think it’s essential to sustain my passion in golf. Keep working hard every day and believing in myself. I am more aware of my role as an example for golf-loving kids in China now. All my experiences from amateur to professional taught me relentless effort is the only way to succeed. I believe golf has the brightest ever future in China. I have lots of respect for our predecessors includ ing Lia ng Wenc hon g a nd Z ha n g L ia nwei. For our generat ion, I wil l be join ing my close friends Dou (Zencheg) and Zhang (X i nju n) to play on t he PG A TOU R in the United States next season. I am sure more and more talented Chinese golfers will come up on the international stage. And I’m also looking forward to representing China again in the Tokyo Olympic 2020.

Rolex officially announced Li Haotong as the brand’s Testimonee

Photo Courtesy of Rolex

Can you recall how the week was at Royal Birkdale playing The Open? I c ou l d f e el how r e m a rk a bl e it wa s with my first inside the clubhouse. The Major at mosphere wa s ever y where – the clubhouse, the course, the fans. I was very nervous on the first tee in the opening round. But I just kept telling myself that playing a Major is just the sa me as ot her tourna ments. I set t led down well after the opening round, and the rest is history. I would say to be able to play your own game in the Major is all about mentality.

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And I know you will be playing the UBS Hong Kong as well? I’m really looking forward to competing in t he U BS Hong Kong Open. It ’s a great event with a lot of history. I’ll be more fa miliar wit h t he course layout having played the tournament two years ago and will be looking to put in a strong performance and hopefully get a good first result on next year’s tour schedule. HK GOLFER・DEC 2017

“50 Years of Rolex and Golf” exhibition

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