MELBOURNE, Australia – The cynic might say the new black-and-gold shield logo representing the International Team at last week’s Presidents Cup is simply a piece of art. Something useful for marketing purposes. Something to stick on hats and shirts, on caddie bibs and the bags they’re carrying. An easily identifying symbol for the home team at Royal Melbourne, just like the American flag is for their opponents.
It doesn’t have any special powers.
Then again …
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For the first time since 2003, they entered Sunday Singles with the lead and a great opportunity to end the 21-year drought since their first (and only) Presidents Cup victory.
Although it didn’t happen, with the U.S. rallying to win 16-14, the Internationals will one day get over the disappointment and realize the foundation was laid at Royal Melbourne for a new era with a bright future.
Sure, they played great golf. But there was also been plenty of discussion last week about that brawny new logo commissioned by Captain Ernie Els. To a man, the Internationals say it’s more than simply a well-designed graphic. They insist it’s given the International Team a fresh identity, a rallying point. Els has used it for motivation – and his players responded.
“It brings us all under one logo, one flag,” said Canadian Adam Hadwin. “Brings us unity – something we may not have had in previous years.”
“We have something to play for,” added Australian Marc Leishman. “We have a flag to play under. We want to do that proud.”
The Internationals have had a handful of flag-type logos in previous Presidents Cups. Just two years ago, it was a light-blue flag with five gold stars, each start representing one of the five continents supplying potential players to the team.
The look was a familiar one.
“It felt very much like the European Ryder Cup logo,” said Els’ manager Rob Goulet. “He didn’t feel like it was powerful enough for us to take forward.”
Meanwhile, the light blue was not a particularly favorite color of Els. So when he took over for Nick Price soon after the 2017 Presidents Cup, one of the first things Els wanted to do was create a new look with completely different colors.
But he wanted it to be more than just a logo. With the Internationals suffering an embarrassing rout at Liberty National, Els needed something inspirational, something his players could point to with pride, something that would represent both their team and also their individual countries and get them re-engaged.
As with all the International Team captains before him, Els had a unique challenge not faced by the American counterparts. With so many countries and regions on his team, he must balance the one-team concept while still allowing players to represent their homelands.