‘One Of The Most Disrespectful Comments I've Come Across’ - Social Media Reacts To Bland Comments

Pros and journalists alike took to Twitter to defend Richard Bland after a US writer suggested Dustin Johnson wouldn't recognise his WGC-Match Play opponent

Richaed Bland faces Dustin Johnson in the round of 16 at the WGC-Match Play
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Social media was not impressed after a US-based golf journalist suggested Dustin Johnson wouldn’t even know who Richard Bland -  his opponent in the last 16 of the WGC-Match Play - was. Joel Beall, a senior writer at Golf Digest, tweeted on Friday that there was “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”.

Martin Dempster, a golf writer for The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, demanded Beall say sorry to Bland, replying: “One of the most disrespectful comments I've come across in my time covering golf. I think you owe Richard Bland an apology”.

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While Beall denied his tweet was a shot at Bland, fellow English pro Eddie Pepperell joined in with his suggestion of how Bland could look less like a member and more like a professional. “He wouldn’t think this if @blandy73 was wearing a Queenwood cap,” tweeted Pepperell, tagging Bland and referring to the exclusive Surrey golf club.

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Lee Westwood, who lost to Bland in the group stages, was more direct in his criticism of Beall, eventually ending up blocked by the journalist, something he looked proud of as he showed Twitter. 

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At 49, Bland is enjoying the form of his life since becoming the oldest first-time winner in the DP World Tour’s history when he won the British Masters in May 2021 in his 478th start. That earned him a tilt at the 2021 US Masters, where he finished tied 50th. He has had seven more top-10 finishes on the DP World Tour since Torrey Pines, including finishing runner-up in January’s Dubai Desert Classic, where he lost a play-off against Viktor Hovland.

Bland traveled to the WGC-Match Play - just his third start on the PGA Tour in America - with a career high world ranking of 60. He’s the oldest player ever to reach the last 16 of the WGC-Match Play, doing so by winning group 9, beating Westwood and Talor Gooch and tying with Bryson DeChambeau.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!