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RBC: 2012 a pivotal year for Canadian bank in golf

My story on RBC’s involvement in golf appeared this week in Golf World this week, discussing how important 2012 is to the bank. The bank’s deals all end in 2012, though the Canadian Open and Heritage are both signed to go through to 2017.

To my mind, the story is interesting because of the decisions the bank has to make on the nine golfers it has under contract to the end of the year. That list includes Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald. No one expects under performing — both on and off the course — Anthony Kim to be back. But what to do when you’ve got Donald, now No. 1 in the world, but you’re paying him No. 29 money, which is where he was when he signed? You’re going to have to give him a big raise to hold onto him, though his agent at IMG says he’s keen to stay.

The other interesting possibility is the bank might ink a European Tour event if that makes sense — it seems to be something the bank’s chief marketing officer seems to be pondering. And what about the PGA of America deal? It is a Ryder Cup year, so the bank is definitely on this year, but what happens beyond this?

As for the Canadian Open, that deal has been signed since last year, but not announced. The Canadian Open will head to Hamilton this year and everyone expects it at Glen Abbey in 2013. However, there have been internal complaints about the conditioning of Glen Abbey by owner Clublink and there is a clause in the contract that would allow the tournament to head somewhere else if that isn’t improved. As per a deal signed when the Royal Canadian Golf Association bought Glen Abbey, the RCGA is supposed to host one last tournament at the course to fulfill its contract. Some have speculated that the Canadian Open could go to the Abbey twice in consecutive years, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. RCGA Golf Canada head honcho Scott Simmons has been lobbying to get the tournament to Royal Montreal for 2014. Incidentally, RBC’s Little is a member at Royal Montreal, though I don’t think that has anything to do with the desire to take the event to the city.

Anyway, you can’t access the Golf World story, but Sportsbusinessjournal has a reference to it.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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