Players seek memorial for 'spiritual leader' of European golf

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The Independent Online

While a campaign was launched yesterday to immortalise Seve Ballesteros as the image of the European Tour, the great Spanish golfer continued to be honoured across the world. The American Tour held a minute's silence at all three of their competing events and, defying convention, the Spanish flag was raised at Sawgrass, venue for this week's Players Championship.

In the Ryder Cup Ballesteros may have taken golfing competitiveness to new levels, but the US clearly still felt great affection for the man described by Colin Montgomerie yesterday as "Europe's spiritual leader".

Tradition dictates the national flag of the defending champion is hoisted aloft in the run-up to the Players – AKA "the fifth major" – but Tim Clark, the 2010 victor, asked for La Bandera De Espana to be unfurled instead. Officials granted the request and also decided to fly the official Players Championship flag at half-mast.

Tributes continued to pour in for the five-time major champion. But with the Seve Trophy recently renamed the "Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros" many believe there should be a more high-profile reminder of European golf's best-loved character. Padraig Harrington proposed Ballesteros's silhouette replacing that of Harry Vardon on the European Tour's official logo and the idea soon gathered pace.

Rory McIlroy and his manager, Chubby Chandler, were just two who signalled their intention to support the campaign after being contacted on Twitter. "I'm not sure who is on our logo for the European Tour, but I'd certainly back putting Seve on it," said Harringon.

The conviction was only strengthened by Montgomerie's words on Radio 5 Live yesterday morning. "Seve completely changed the face of European golf," said the Scot. "He is the reason why it is in the enviable position it is today. Prize money has gone through the roof because of one man. The Ryder Cup is the international event it is because of one man. There is a huge amount to thank that one man for."

Ballesteros's funeral will be held in his hometown of Pedrena in northern Spain on Wednesday. A players' service will also be held that day at Sawgrass.