It shouldn’t be a question of if the European Tour will change its logo to incorporate Seve Ballesteros’ image, but when.
Golfweek designed a few possible European Tour logos that feature Seve Ballesteros.
A campaign is growing in Europe to commemorate Ballesteros’ memory by including his figure on all of the European Tour’s corporate material. Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo are among the star names backing the campaign.
The flat-capped figure of Harry Vardon currently adorns the European Tour logo. Vardon, six-time winner of the Open Championship, was added to the Euro Tour logo two years ago when the tour launched the Race to Dubai.
The Harry Vardon Trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the European Tour’s Order of Merit, so there was some logic to Vardon’s inclusion on the logo.
Logical, perhaps, but contemporary? No. There were eyebrows raised when the logo was unveiled. No one can argue with Vardon’s status in the game, but an old-fashioned Englishman in tweed jacket and flat cap doesn’t exactly fit the cosmopolitan nature of today’s European Tour.
For the record, I panned the logo at the time as old-fashioned and said the European Tour would have been better off using an image of Ballesteros celebrating after winning the 1984 Open Championship at St. Andrews on its logo.
Seems I’m not alone.
“When you talk about the European Tour, you talk about Seve, and I think it’s only right he should appear on our logo,” Colin Montgomerie said.
Nick Faldo is another who thinks Ballesteros should replace Vardon. “From day one, I said to George (European Tour chief executive George O’Grady), ‘Come on – we are not 110-year-old golfers,’” Faldo said. “There will never be another Seve. He had everything – the good looks, the charisma, the smile, the walk and the swash-buckling golf game.”
Scotland’s Andrew Coltart says it’s only right to pay permanent tribute to the man called “the father of European golf.”
“The Vardon Trophy goes to the winner of the Order of Merit, and we can still have that,” Coltart said. “But I would support Seve on the logo. Vardon was a great player, but he was the star of the early 20th century. Seve represents the modern game. If not for Seve, we would not be playing for the prize money we are now.”
Ballesteros is commemorated with a tournament named after him, the Seve Trophy. However, as Coltart points out, that isn’t necessarily guaranteed to last.
“Sponsors come and go on tour, and who knows what will happen to the Seve Trophy. Putting him on the logo would be a more lasting memorial.”
Robert Lee, who sits on the European Tour’s board of directors, also thinks there should be some permanent honor for the man who inspired him and a legion of other Europeans to take up the game.
“There definitely should be some permanent tribute,” Lee said.
The Vardon logo was unveiled to coincide with the Euro Tour’s Race to Dubai. That race is on its last leg, and ends this year when Dubai ceases to sponsor the season ending Dubai World Championship. As a result, I don’t see the tour changing the logo this year, but there is nothing to stop the tour from changing it in time for next year.
The European Tour wouldn’t be where it is today if not for Ballesteros. As Coltart said, Euro Tour players are earning fortunes from inflated purses for which Ballesteros is responsible. His charisma and his exciting style of play helped attract sponsors to the game and took golf to the European masses. Today’s multimillion-dollar, global Euro Tour is the result.
That’s why Seve’s image should be part of the Euro Tour’s corporate identity. Not if, but when. And soon.