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Short Game: McDowell, Snedeker joining Team RBC

Team RBC is growing. Royal Bank of Canada has added Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker to the roster of PGA Tour players that it sponsors.

McDowell, a popular and charismatic major champion from Northern Ireland, said Tuesday through Twitter that he'll be sporting the bank's golden lion logo on his shirts this golf season. He'll also add the RBC Heritage and RBC Canadian Open, the two PGA Tour events the bank sponsors, to his schedule.

"Excited to be part of the @RBC_Golf family," tweeted McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion. "Doing great things globally."

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He went on to spell Canadian incorrectly, but such is Twitter.

An RBC source said Wednesday that Snedeker is joining the roster, too. The bank is expected to issue a news release soon confirming both players.

Snedeker, the reigning Tour Championship winner and FedEx Cup champion, is an equally likable player, an American with four PGA Tour titles and a world ranking of No. 10. The blonde, mop-topped 32-year-old with a perpetual smile hails from Tennessee, part of the U.S. Southeast where the bank has plenty of operations.

RBC, Canada's biggest financial institution, has become a huge player at the elite level of professional golf. In addition to being the title sponsor for the two PGA Tour events, it sponsors a handful of individual players and is the "official patron" of the PGA of America. It also does work on its home front through Golf Canada, providing funding for grassroots programs and the country's national amateur team.

This past season, Team RBC included such stars as Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Canadian favourites Mike Weir and Stephen Ames, and LPGA Tour talent Morgan Pressel. It's not known if all these players will return for 2013. The announcement should offer some clarity.

None of the sponsored players is contractually obligated to play in the RBC tournaments, but most do, adding a hefty dash of star power to the events.


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NIKE DOES IT, TOO: In other sponsorship news, Nike Golf announced that Kyle Stanley and Nick Watney are switching to the swoosh. Both have signed deals to use the company's golf balls and clubs and wear its footwear, gloves, apparel and headwear and accessory.

Both are among the crop of talented young Americans on the PGA Tour. Watney, 31, has won five times and Stanley, 25, broke through last year with his first at the Farmers Insurance Open.

So far, at least, Nike has held off with its biggest expected announcement: signing world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

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