‘It’s very special to be back’: Richard Bland relishing emotional Belfry return

Bland is preparing to defend his Betfred British Masters title

Phil Casey
Wednesday 04 May 2022 13:04
Comments
Richard Bland defends his British Masters title on his 500th DP World Tour start this week (Tim Goode/PA)
Richard Bland defends his British Masters title on his 500th DP World Tour start this week (Tim Goode/PA)

Richard Bland expects to have tears in his eyes when he begins the defence of his BetfredBritish Masters title and 500th DP World Tour event on Thursday.

Bland defeated Guido Migliozzi in a play-off at The Belfry 12 months ago to win for the first time at the 478th attempt, the 49-year-old having previously had to regain his card via the Challenge Tour in 2019.

The win gave Bland a two-year exemption and ensured he would be able to achieve his goal of playing 500 events, a feat which will be achieved this week after some careful planning of his schedule.

“It’s very special to be back here,” Bland said. “What went on 12 months ago was obviously a dream come true, something I had worked for for 20 years.

“I knew this week would be very close to my 500th event so I kind of tweaked it around a little bit and withdrew from the first event in Spain last month to make it fall this week. That makes it that even more special and something I’m very, very proud of.

“When you lose your card at the age of 46 a lot of people are writing you off, so to come back the way that I’ve come back, when I finish playing, that will probably be something I’m most proud of.

“It took a lot of hard work. But I guess it’s made it that much more special to be doing this when, at my age, I probably shouldn’t. So yeah, I’m certainly enjoying it.

“I came back here in October to do the Sky documentary (about the win). I can still remember pretty much every shot. Certainly the back nine, most of the last day.

“This place now is somewhere that will always be very, very close to my heart. How I’ll feel on the first tee Thursday morning, not too sure. Probably be a tear in the eye, I would think. I’m going to have all my family here with me and it just feels great to be back.”

Bland’s victory prompted an outpouring of support on social media, with former Masters champion Fred Couples calling him “inspirational” and comedian Stephen Fry admitting to “much weeping”.

But it is the messages he received from members of the public from around the globe which Bland cherishes the most and has pledged never to delete from his phone.

“In all fairness, I was glad I had a week off after this event because the next four or five days was just a blur, you were being pulled, left, right and centre with media commitments,” Bland added.

“But the messages that I got from people all across the globe, that’s something I wasn’t ready for and it was quite emotional to read some of the messages, that they were losing faith in whatever journey they were on and my win sort of helped them to sort of re-evaluate and keep going.

“I’ve still got the same phone, so they are all here. I’ll never get rid of them. They will stay with me forever and it just made the whole win that much more special.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in