Richard Bland produced a superb performance throughout the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, with the 49-year-old making it to the last-16 of the tournament before getting knocked out by an in-form Dustin Johnson.
However, it was events before the last-16 match that perhaps overshadowed the superb effort from Bland, with senior writer for Golf Digest, Joel Beall, tweeting: “An 80 percent chance Dustin Johnson looks at Richard Bland tomorrow and thinks an Austin Country Club member accidentally walked onto the first tee” and that the Englishman would be told, “Sorry bro, we’re playing a tournament”.
Following the controversial tweet, many pros and journalists took to Twitter to defend Bland, none more so than Andrew 'Beef' Johnston, with the Englishman releasing a lengthy tweet that received a huge amount of praise and attention.
Here @GolfDigest I’ve written something maybe your senior writer could of. Btw don’t spell check me I’m in middle of making a coffee and playing with my child. Hope you all enjoy 🤦♂️ #positive btw huge respect blandy pic.twitter.com/2DXe7ntHeeMarch 26, 2022
Captioning his statement with: "Here @GolfDigest I’ve written something maybe your senior writer could of. Btw don’t spell check me I’m in middle of making a coffee and playing with my child. Hope you all enjoy #positive btw huge respect blandy." Beef also attached a supportive written piece in support of his fellow countryman.
Titled 'Richard Bland's grit and determination,' Beef wrote: "It was only a few years back Richard Bland lost his European Tour card. He was 45 years old. After a solid career for years on tour. Most people would happily retire or take a few years out to wait for the senior tours. But Blandy goes back to the challenge tour which is one tough place to go and recaptures his European Tour card.
"This may not sound like much but it really is something special. To be on tour as long as he has is a serious achievement. But to still have that fire to bounce back at 46 when the average age on all the tours are getting younger is incredible. Now he didn't just return to the European Tour he's come back stronger and better, winning the British Masters and finishing 11th on the Race to Dubai.
"With this comeback it brings him to the match play in Austin this week where he's come through the group of Westwood, Gooch, DeChambeau, he now faces Dustin Johnson in the last 16. Yes Dustin is favourite but all you have to do is look where Blandy has come from and I wouldn't be surprised if he beats him.
"His story shows his toughness and determination. It's one of these matches that draws attention because of things like this that's why we all love sport. So sit back and enjoy."
Beef's words were responded to by Bland, with the 49-year-old commenting: "Thanks @BeefGolf hope you’re well mate & see you back soon #respect." Along with Bland, Ross Fisher also replied to the tweet with: "Well said Beef . Maybe you're in for the senior writers job for golf digest."
While Joel Beall denied his tweet was a shot at Bland, many professionals and journalists voiced their dismay at the post, with the likes of European Tour winner, Eddie Pepperell, Martin Dempster, who is the Golf writer for The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News, and former World No.1, Lee Westwood, all calling out Beall for the comments.
Westwood's words were that direct, that the 25-time European Tour winner ended up being blocked by the journalist, something he looked proud of as he showed his many Twitter followers.
Did I touch a nerve? @GolfDigest @JoelMBeall ??? Great photo work @sunnysidejohnn1 pic.twitter.com/YCtx3iWoj8March 26, 2022
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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