If you’re following the U.S. Open Championship, you may be wondering: who the heck is this Richard Bland fellow?
Well, he’s a 48-year old Englishman who epitomizes journeyman, who just posted a second-round 67 and sits atop the leaderboard (at the moment) on 5-under par.
Here are 10 things to know about Richard “Blandy” Bland:
1. The Bland Profile: The 6’1″ Bland was born February 3, 1973 in the town of Burton-on-Trent, which is about 110 miles northwest of London. The place is known for its beer brewing history. He currently resides in Southampton, and plays out of Stoneham Golf Club.
2. 563 Tour Starts: Began career in 2000 and has made never missed a season. Only season under 20 starts was during the COVID-reduced 2020 season.
3. 480 European Tour Starts: This is Bland’s 480th career start on the European Tour. His goal is to make 500 career starts which would put him in the all-time top 30.
4. 4th Major Start: He’s only played in two prior majors: 1998 Open Championship (NC), 2009 U.S. Open (MC) and 2017 Open Championship (T22).
5. Perseverance: After losing his tour card in 2018, Bland played on the Challenge Tour and became the oldest player in history (46) to graduate from the development tour. He currently ranks 106th on the all-time money list with €5,956,626.76 in career earnings (or $7,071,469 USD).
6. Qualified For U.S. Open By Claiming Maiden Trophy: Bland became a viral sensation when he won his maiden title at the Betfred British Masters on his 478th try at the age of 48. His emotional chat with his parents was shared across the world, and was noticed by the entire golf world.
7. His Coach is British TV Pundit Tim Barter: After his win, Barter was shown on TV pumping his fist, and then interviewed his pupil.
8. Has Eyes on PGA Champions Tour: Before his win last month at the British Masters, Bland said, ““Yeah, I’m already sort of looking ahead, you know, I can go to the Champions Tour – qualifying the end of next year which is what I plan to do. So yeah, it’s a big incentive for me this year to play well, so I can play again on the European Tour next year and stay competitive – so I can go straight into that and hopefully try and get my playing rights out there. That’s kind of like my plan.” He will be eligible for the U.S. Champions Tour on Feb. 3, 2023.
9. Plays Titleist Gear: Bland plays a full Titleist bag, including irons, and ball.
10. Best OWGR: Bland reached his best world ranking (No. 102) in 2016. He’s never once cracked the top 100. He’s currently 115th.