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richard bland

Richard Bland: I’d be surprised if Jay Monahan was in a job very soon

Richard Bland believes Jay Monahan's future as PGA Tour CEO could be cut short soon as the LIV Golf player gave a damning verdict on the merger with the Public Investment Fund
 

LIV Golf player Richard Bland believes PGA Tour and DP World Tour bosses Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley have much to answer for following their proposed merger with the Public Investment Fund.

Speaking on NCG’s The Slam Podcast, Bland echoed the scrutiny some PGA Tour players have already sent Monahan’s way after a significant U-turn saw him collaborate with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund which he was previously opposed to.

Bland and co. were given $100,000 fines for playing in the first LIV event at Centurion last June, and the financial punishment continued to mount for playing in conflicting events since.

Having joined the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia in resigning from the DP World Tour, Bland ruled out reapplying for his card and believes their absences signify a sad way for things to end – especially with Ryder Cup captaincies on the horizon for his LIV colleagues.

“When I first got my card in 2002, if someone said to me 21 years later, you will resign from the tour and be fined nearly $800,000, I would’ve said you’re barking mad,” Bland told NCG.

“And it wasn’t an easy decision. I talked it through with my wife quite a bit. I felt like I had nowhere to go really.

“Obviously, the other players lost the arbitration which came as a surprise. So, the tour could then hit us hard with fines which they did.

“It’s just a sad way for things to end. I certainly didn’t want that to be the case. I think there’s a lot of double standards going on that other guys can play another tour and play the DP World Tour with no repercussions – but if you don’t play on that tour, then there are repercussions.

richard bland

“I don’t think it helps the DP World Tour at all. I know Lee’s resigned, Poulter’s resigned. Sergio resigned and Martin’s resigned. You’re just looking at future Ryder Cup captains and they all deserve to be Ryder Cup captains for what they’ve given to the tour. It’s just sad.

“The announcement that came along a couple of weeks ago – it was a bit left field. I wasn’t expecting it. Things might just settle down, but they seem to have nailed us to the cross again.

“I think 12 months ago, we were destroying golf as I’m sure some people wrote. We were the criminals on a hostile tour, and now, the powers that be have done a deal with the same people that fund that tour.

“Jay and Keith have got a lot to answer for and if I’m honest, I’d be surprised if Jay would be in a job very soon. He’s going to come under a lot of player scrutiny because there’s probably a lot of players in the US that turned down offers from LIV – he can’t make that decision for them but I’m sure he’s probably tried to persuade them to stay.

“And now, hang on a second, you’ve done a deal with them. We just have to wait and see – the funny thing is people are asking questions left right and centre and we don’t know.”

Bland also appeared bewildered he and Lee Westwood were rejected entry in the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl at the end of July, as they still have outstanding fines to pay the DP World Tour if they were to become members again.

The Englishman admitted the lucrative offer he was given to join LIV Golf last summer was something “he just couldn’t turn down at that stage of his career,” while also describing it as one of the best decisions of his life.

Bland’s story first emerged from the shadows when he won the Betfred British Masters in 2021, his first victory on the DP World Tour and a victory on his 478th start at the age of 48, making him the circuit’s oldest first-time winner.

This sparked a run that saw him break the world’s top 50 barrier, spend 50 weeks in the top 100, and gain experiences he could only dream of had he not won at the Belfry.

“I wish I’d have done it 20 years ago!” Bland added. “I wouldn’t change a thing. Sometimes you get late bloomers so to speak and maybe that’s me.

“Winning at the Belfry did open a few doors to then lead at Torrey Pines (2021 US Open). I got to hit the first tee shot that year at Royal St. George’s which was one of the coolest experiences and most nerve-wracking experiences of my life.

“Those memories will last forever. Getting through the group stage last year at the WGC Match Play and being one match away from getting in the Masters – it would’ve been a dream come true to play in that event.

“DJ was just a little bit too strong for me in the last 16 match. It just reaffirms your own belief that you can compete at that level. And it can only do great things for your confidence. I was fortunate where I was in the world rankings at the time that it allowed me the option to look at LIV.”

richard bland

This week, Bland flies to Valderrama in Spain for the eighth event of the second LIV Golf season. He is a member of Cleeks GC with Graeme McDowell, Bernd Wiesberger, and captain Martin Kaymer.

The 50-year-old, still yet to register a win on the Saudi-backed circuit, has always been honest in his reasons for making the leap to Greg Norman’s tour, and he couldn’t hide his enjoyment for this new realm of his career.

In an interview with the BBC in May, Bland correctly predicted Brooks Koepka would win a major in 2023 having played with him before the PGA Championship, and the opportunities to compete against players with Koepka’s calibre on a regular basis further vindicates his decision to join LIV in his eyes.

“It’s just been so cool to play and that’s nothing against where I’ve played for the last 20 years,” he said. “It’s just something different. It gives the golf fan a different look at how golf can be and that’s the thing that I’ve loved about LIV.

“Because there’s only 48 of us, you get to know some players and you get to socialise with some players that you’d never dreamed you would ever know as much as you would. And that’s been great as well.

“The team aspect side – you’re building friendships that hopefully will last beyond your golfing career. And it’s just a special thing. I know a lot of people might shoot me down for that, but unless you’re in it, you just don’t know.

“It’s still in its early stages. We’re only 15 tournaments old – it’s just going to be a really exciting next two years to see how far LIV can go and for me, it’s only going to get bigger and it’s only going to get better, it’s only going to get stronger. The ball is rolling and I just don’t see it stopping.”

Listen to Richard Bland: LIV Golf, PGA Tour-PIF merger, and more on The Slam podcast here!

NOW READ: I tried to put in a score for handicap in Ireland – here’s what happened

richard bland

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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