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Nike Golf signs Stanley and Watney

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Consider it professional golf’s version of the “Hot Stove.” The flurry of activity associated with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is an early-season staple and this week’s opener is off to an eventful start.

Nike Golf got things started on New Year’s Day, just not with the player everyone is waiting to join the Swoosh staff.

The company announced that Kyle Stanley has signed a multi-year golf ball, clubs, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessory deal. The company followed two hours later with news they had also signed Nick Watney to a multi-year deal, which includes the same rundown as Stanley.

“They want to have the best athletes on board and it’s an honor to be a part of that and represent them,” Stanley said in a press release.

Stanley and Watney, who are scheduled to play the company’s new VR-S Covert driver at this week’s opener in Kapalua, are expected to be joined on the Nike staff by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who has reportedly inked a 10-year, $200 million deal with the Beaverton, Ore.-based company. A Nike spokesperson confirmed there will be a 'major' announcement on Jan. 14, which is the Monday of Abu Dhabi week, where McIlroy and Tiger Woods are making their season debuts.

Stanley and Watney appear to be stepping in at Nike for Stewart Cink, who tweeted a photo early Tuesday of his new TaylorMade staff bag with a message “Happy New Year to all.” Lucas Glover also left Nike for TaylorMade, which signed John Huh and Ryan Moore as well.

Chris Kirk joined the action tweeting that he was joining the Callaway Golf staff – as did Gary Woodland – and news was expected this week that Masters champion Bubba Watson had signed an endorsement deal with Oakley.