Poetry in motion

Four-time major golf champion Rory McIlroy on the perfect synergy between watchmaking and golf, and finding the time for the important things

Watches & Jewellery 19 Nov 2018

When it comes to timing sports, Omega’s pedigree is unparalleled – after all, the Swiss watchmaker’s involvement in the Olympics can be traced all the way back to 1932. But while high-paced athletic feats very obviously demand precision down to the split-second, to an outsider, the world of golf operates at a more leisurely pace.

But, as one of the top names in the sport, Rory McIlroy knows all too well, precision and timing is everything when it comes to the perfect swing. ‘All the movements have to be exactlycorrect in a golf swing to make an efficient motion,’ he explains. ‘I guess it’s the same thing in a watch and watchmaking, you have to be technically minded and have that precision in your head to put everything together at the right time to make a great finished product.’

You always need to dedicate that time, so I do. I try to get as much time as possible to go out there on the range

Recently taking home the Ryder Cup as part of the European team, the four-time major champion spoke as he took on another competition, in the more unusual icy-cold setting of the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland, known as the ‘top of Europe’. Here he went head-to-head against three promising young Swiss talents in a special golfing challenge, the latest in a long string of sporting events backed by the watchmaker. ‘Omega has always been a massive supporter of golf, so I had a great relationship with them even before I was brand ambassador,’ he explains. ‘I played in the Omega European Masters and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic – the Dubai Desert Classic was my first one as a pro in 2009.’

Now a long-term face of the brand, McIlroy has built up quite the watch collection. ‘I have the luxury that I can mix it up every once in a while. Depending on the occasion and the activity and what I’m wearing, I switch it up from a Globemaster to a Planet Ocean or a Speedmaster.’ He recalls how the latter was presented to him at a photo shoot in London a couple of years ago, ‘It was from 1989, my birth year, so it was a bit of a throwback and there were some older elements to it. I actually wore that on my wedding day.’

Operating at the very top of the game can be demanding both professionally and personally, as McIlroy explains. ‘As time becomes more precious to me, so too is time management.’ McIlroy describes how he and his wife are both foodies, carving out time from their busy schedules to explore new cities. ‘We’ve enjoyed travelling not only to the places where I play golf, but also to other places where we haven’t been, having new experiences and trying to expand our horizons a little bit.’

Of course, putting the work in on the course is crucial. ‘You always need to dedicate that time. I try to get as much time as possible to myself to go out there on the range on my own, or with my coach to put the hours in and make sure that I’m staying at the level that I should be at.’ And with eyes on the upcoming majors, it is more important than ever. ‘I had a nice four-year spell where I was on one a year, and a three- or four-year spell where it hasn’t been like that, so I’m trying to get myself to that point again – that would be nice.’