Di Dougherty meets: Richard Bland
How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing properly since I left school. I played a little when I was younger, but football was my number one sport until a nasty ankle injury stopped that. My parents played so I guess it was them who got me playing.
I turned pro in 1996 and I’ve played on tour since 2002. In between I did my PGA qualifications.
What’s the best thing about being a professional golfer?
The best thing is playing the game that is your passion everyday. Travelling the world to do it and playing the best courses in the world against the best players in the world. Love that!
Missing cuts, being away from my fiance, family and not being able to sleep in my own bed every night. Oh, and hitting par 5s in two and three-putting for par.
Where do you play?
I’m attached to Stoneham, in Southampton. They have been fantastic in letting me play and practise there over the past 16 years. I recently joined The Wisley though so I practise there most of the time now.
Who is your best mate on tour?
Sam Little. Unfortunately he lost his card last year, so he’s mainly playing Challenge Tour. It’s a shame as it was always easy to take cash off him on Tuesday’s in the practice round!
What is the toughest thing about the sport?
The mental side of the game. There are not many sports where once you’ve played a shot it’s another five minutes until you play your next. So you always have a lot of time to think on the course. So when things are not going well, it’s a tough mental battle to stay positive, stay in the present and don’t dwell on the past or poor shots you’ve hit. Maybe just maybe the next shot you hit will be the best!
What are the strengths to your game?
It’s always been my short game. I’ve felt that I’ve always had a natural feel.
Do you prefer inland or seaside courses and which is your favourite course?
I tend to prefer inland courses like Sunningdale but there are some fantastic links courses too. My favourite course is Loch Lomond. I love that place!
What was your best competitive round?
I guess the final round in the Challenge Tour Grand Final 2001. I shot 63 with 29 on the back nine to win and secure my Tour Card for the first time.
Who is your favourite player?
My favourite would have to be Tiger Woods. I’ve watched him practise and it was flawless for an hour. I was so impressed.
The golf he played 1999 and 2000 was at a level that no one but him could achieve or in my opinion ever will.
Who is the best-dressed golfer in your opinion?
Apart from me? Ha ha! Tough one. Maybe Henrik Stenson, but only because he wears Hugo Boss and it’s my favourite clothing.