Els makes International team feel like one with a new logo

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USA's Patrick Cantlay, left, watches as captain Tiger Woods tees off during a practice session ahead of the President's Cup Golf tournament in Melbourne, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE – Captains for the Presidents Cup usually get the most attention for the wild-card picks that fill out their teams and the pairings they create. Ernie Els might have done his best work long before that point.

The Presidents Cup is a PGA Tour creation, and so it was the PGA Tour that created a flag for an International team representing countries from everywhere but Europe. It had wavy blue and gold lines. What it lacked was history, and a sense of identity.

Els changed all that.

The International team now has its own logo, which is more of a shield. The identity comes from each player having the flag from his own country in the middle of the shield — nine flags for this team, the most ever in 25 years.

“We've always played under the flag, but we've never really had our own identity, so to speak," Els said. “Guys like that. ... I explained to them exactly what it entails, what's behind the whole thinking of how we brought the whole thing together,.

Els said he first unveiled the new look to players at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock and received favorable reviews.

The flag is a nice touch. The Solheim Cup on the LPGA Tour once put the flag of players' home state on the golf bags. What makes this logo more meaningful is the shield in the background.

Abraham Ancer of Mexico said it was inspired by three patterns. The first one is the Celtic knot, which stands for unity (or friendship), loyalty and faith. The second is a coat of arms to represent strength. The last one is a pair of flag sticks in opposite directions to bring golf into the equation.