LIV Golf’s Richard Bland Set For Senior Major Debut

The Englishman will tee it up in a senior Major for the first time after earning a one-time exemption to the tournament

Richard Bland at LIV Golf Tulsa
Richard Bland will play in the Senior PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Richard Bland is benefiting from a mid-season break in the LIV Golf schedule to tee it up at the Senior PGA Championship, which begins at Harbor Shores in Michigan on 23 May.

Bland is able to compete at the tournament thanks to a one-time exemption granted to players who have turned 50 and who have won a DP World Tour event in the last five years.

Now aged 51, Bland was one of the initial intake to LIV Golf in 2022, and has competed on it ever since. That appeared to put his chances of playing in the senior Majors in jeopardy, but he has his age and victory at the 2021 Betfred British Masters to thank for that exemption, when, at the age of 48, he became the oldest first-time winner in DP World Tour history in his 478th start on the circuit.

The Englishman spoke to LIV Golf’s Fairway To Heaven podcast about his first experience of seniors golf and said it would offer an excellent opportunity to see how his game stacks up against his opponents.

“I’m looking forward to it," he explained. "It will be interesting to see where my game’s at with regards to some of these guys. I’d like to think that if I play well, I should be there or thereabouts come Sunday.”

Richard Bland with the trophy after winning the 2021 Betfred British Masters

Richard Bland won the 2021 Betfred British Masters on the DP World Tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Given the Cleeks GC star's form with LIV Golf, he has every right to feel confident. Even though Bland plays regularly against some of the best players in the world, including Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith, he is more than holding his own this season, and currently stands 25th in the individual standings.

Bland, who also made a hole-in-one at season opener LIV Golf Mayakoba, admitted that regularly pitting his wits against some of the biggest names in the game should stand him in good stead. He said: “It’s going to be a new challenge but the way I kind of look at it nowadays I don’t think there’s anything in golf now that I haven’t faced.”

He added: “It’s just going there, trusting yourself. Just got to go there and not get too ahead of yourself. It’s going to be a mental challenge as well because I never played a senior event.”

While Bland has the event to look forward to, he’s not thinking too far into the future about the possibility of playing in another upcoming seniors Major, the Senior Open.

Last year, both Bland and fellow LIV golfer Lee Westwood, who had both resigned from the DP World Tour at that point, were denied entry to the Senior Open.

He said. “I’m not too sure what the situation is going to be with the Senior Open, whether they’re just going to kick us out again if we do decide to enter. I assume so - I don’t see anything that’s changed in the last year, so I don’t really see anything changing in that, but I guess I’ll ask the question and find out.”

Bland is one of two over-50s in the LIV Golf League alongside Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is not in the field this week and is yet to tee it up in a senior Major despite four wins in six starts on the PGA Tour Champions in 2021.

Steve Stricker is the defending champion after beating Padraig Harrington in a playoff in 2023, while the American is the favorite heading into this year's edition.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.