A LIV Golfer Got Invited to the Senior PGA Championship and Is Leading

England’s Richard Bland, 51, had never played Harbor Shores in Michigan but is leading going into the weekend.
Richard Bland, a LIV Golf member, is leading the Senior PGA Championship.
Richard Bland, a LIV Golf member, is leading the Senior PGA Championship. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

One week after Bryson DeChambeau nearly won the PGA Championship while representing LIV Golf, another member of the Saudi-backed league is in the hunt at a PGA of America major.

Richard Bland, 51, is 12 under and leading by one shot over Scott Dunlap and by three over Chris DiMarco going into the weekend at the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. The member of Cleeks GC in LIV Golf is playing his first 50-and-over event, having received a special invitation from the PGA of America.

The Englishman was invited last year—“completely out of the blue, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said—but couldn’t play due to a conflict with a LIV Golf event. But when he saw his schedule would be free this year, Bland reached out to the PGA of America to see if he could use the invitation one year later.

“I’m very grateful for the invite and hopefully I can do something with it,” Bland said.

He is so far. Bland has turned in rounds of 64–66 so far, with 11 birdies, an eagle and just one bogey. Not bad for a course he hadn’t seen in person before.

“I kind of looked a little online … Googled the golf club and they had like a drone of each hole, so I kind of looked at that,” he said.

Bland has played the best golf of his career in his later years. He won on the DP World Tour for the first time in 2021 at age 48 the nearly won again in 2022 before losing in a playoff to Viktor Hovland. He got to No. 48 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2022 before leaving for LIV Golf in June that year, playing in the inaugural LIV Golf event in England and remaining on the circuit since.

John Schwarb


John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.