He tripled a senior tour salary on LIV. Now he’s contending for a senior major..as the details is revealed below ⬇️

He tripled a senior tour salary on LIV. Now he’s contending for a senior major..as the details is revealed below ⬇️

Afew years ago, Richard Bland’s career was left for dead.

He was 46 years old and on the brink, a zero-time professional winner who’d just been relegated from the DP World Tour to the Challenger Tour. At his age, Bland’s odds of getting another shot in the big leagues were next to zero. His odds of making it back to the big leagues and making something of it? Well, they were stretching the limits of the decimal point.

On Friday morning, Richard Bland awoke in a very different place. He was holding the lead at the Senior PGA Championship, topping a leaderboard of former stars like Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk after an opening-round, 7-under 64. And wildest of all? He was doing it with the knowledge that in a field full of big-time senior tour earners, he had tripled nearly all of their 2024 salaries.

For Blandy, the story begins in his 478th professional start at the 2021 Betfred British Masters, when the unthinkable happened: He won. At 48 years old he was the oldest first-time winner ever on the European Tour. The victory guaranteed him invites into the U.S. Open and PGA Championships, and a strong stretch of golf followed over the next year, which included starts on the PGA Tour and a full DP World Tour calendar.

Then, in June 2022, chaos arrived to professional golf. LIV Golf burst onto the scene with billions in funding and a mandate to hire a class of professional golfers. Bland, a pro golf lifer with little in the bank to show for it, was the ideal early target. LIV’s $20 million events offered more money than he’d ever dreamed of, and the no-cut structure protected him from the bottom falling out. The choice was easy, and before long, he was a founding member of the Cleeks.

Two years and a number of LIV starts later, an email arrived from the PGA of America’s Bob Jeffrey last May. Jeffrey wanted to know: Did Bland, then 50 and newly eligible for senior tour events, have any interest in competing in the Senior PGA Championship?

“Yeah, I got invited last year. Completely out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it,” Bland said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t play it. Clashed with a LIV event.”

As it turned out, Bland was eligible for the tournament based on a one-time exemption given to past DP World Tour winners. The exemption was due to lapse in 2025, but when Bland saw his tournament schedule was free for the week of the tournament this year, he reached back out to the PGA of America.

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