RBC Antes Up, Puts Money into Tour Pros, Amateur Events

Interesting news this morning from Royal Bank, which is increasing its investment in golf, including investments in “Team Canada,” the RCGA’s national amateur golf teams, as well as adding support “to the resurgence of Canada’s national amateur golf championships.”

Here’s RBC’s chief brand officer on the annoucement:

We are proud to support the RCGAs vision to drive excellence in competitive amateur golf, building on the recent accomplishments of national team players like Nick Taylor, Matt Hill and Jennifer Kirby at the collegiate, national and international level, said Jim Little, RBC Chief Brand and Communications Officer.  Extending our support to Canadas national amateur championships not only allows talented Canadian players to compete in world class competitions on home soil, but also offers so many more golf enthusiasts and volunteers across the country the long-term opportunity to get involved and be a part of this great sport.


Equally interesting is the news that RBC is putting some money into young touring pros without demanding a huge logo emblazoned on the back of their shirts…

RBC is creating a new initiative to help young male and female professional golfers make the jump to the professional ranks on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Beginning in 2010, RBC has created a new initiative to support emerging Canadian professionals making the transition to the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour — including 2010 graduates Graham DeLaet and Chris Baryla on the PGA Tour, and Lisa Meldrum and Samantha Richdaleon the LPGA Tour — by providing a combination of funding and tailored, comprehensive financial planning and private banking services through its RBC Sports Professionals program.  Athletes who elect to sign up for the program will become RBC ambassadors and carry corporate branding on their golf bags as they compete each week on the worlds stage.

And finally, the bank confirmed they’ve formalized relationships with Stephen Ames and Mike Weir, having them join “Team RBC” with Anthony Kim.

In addition, RBC is enhancing existing relationships with PGA Tour pros Stephen Ames and Mike Weir by entering into new multi-year extensions withboth players. RBC becomes the official bank for Amesand Weir and both will have RBC branding prominently featured on their staff golf bags when they compete each week on the PGA Tour. The partnerships are anchored in philanthropy with RBC continuing on as presenting sponsor of the Stephen Ames Cup and the Mike Weir Foundation entering its second year as the national charity partner of the RBC Canadian Open.


So that’s the news. The really interesting part is how RBC seems to be stepping up in all areas of Canadian golf — not just professional tournament golf. The cynical might suggest by aligning with all of Canada’s top young amateurs and pros the bank is in a good place to snap up deals with the likes of Hill or Taylor. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And by helping out those young pros making the transition to the top of the game, they are at least helping those golfers get established. Lacking figures, it is hard to say exactly what RBC is prepared to do in terms of financial support, but it is tough to be critical of the bank considering the amount of cash it appears to be putting into Canadian golf. It is a big commitment and it has come at a time when others are shying away from the game.

By stepping up to support the amateur championships there is a chance RBC can bring back some of the prestige lost by the Canadian Amateur. That would be a good thing as its reputation has slipped significantly over the past decade.

The Ames and Weir deals were almost a given — especially given RBC’s links to both players — but I’m sure both players are pleased to have the arrangements in place. Note Weir’s deal with Dynamic Mutual Funds, which led to the karaoke commercials and others, was finished due to his involvement with RBC.

Overall, one has to wonder where RBC is going with all of this. The bank had been talking to the PGA Tour about adding a second sponsored event, but I hear that is now off the table. The concept was to offer a second sponsorship in exchange for a better date for the Canadian Open. But that comes with a bigger price tag for Canada’s top professional golf tournament, especially when you’re really only trying to attract a couple of extra players,  one of whom is apparently in sex rehab in Mississippi.

Speaking of which, riddle me this: If you go into sex rehab, how does your wife deal with you after your return. Does she offer conjugal relations more frequently to keep one from straying, or does that feed one’s addicition? Consider that an aside.

Either way, there’s already discussion that RBC will be involved even more in golf in coming weeks. We’ll see where that leads.

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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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  • Next thing you know, they will become a primary sponsor of the PGA, or they might sponsor some more PGA players..perhaps an English painter that plays golf?

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