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‘Whenever I lose my spot on LIV, I think that will be me done’ – LIV pro outlines retirement plan

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LIV golfer, Richard Bland, is the rare golfer who’s gotten better as he’s aged. He notched his first European Tour win at the 2021 Betfred British Masters at the age of 48. Bland turned pro in 1996, and it took 478 starts for him to emerge victorious.

This week, Jamie Kennedy of Golf Digest posted a chart of just how far the Englishman has come in the late stages of his career.

“Made $7m in first 26 years as a pro. Has now made over $12m in the last three years ?”.

Last week, Bland won the Senior PGA Championship, which is a major on the Champions Tour, in his first ever start on the circuit.

The win was an emotional one for the 51-year-old, as he dedicated the performance to his brother, Heath, who has cancer.

After the win, Bland spoke with The Times, saying he envisions himself retiring in the next few years.

“Whenever I lose my spot on LIV, I think that will be me done, regardless of how I’m playing. I’ve got maybe another 18 months left and then I’ll cross that bridge.”

“I love what I do, I’ll never stop playing golf, but I’ve travelled the world without seeing an awful lot of it. I’d like to do that while I’m still fit and able, I’d like to go on golf trips with friends and just have fun without competing.”

Despite winning the Senior PGA Championship which usually comes with an exemption onto the Champions Tour, Bland will not be eligible for the Tour due to his affiliation with LIV.

Bland will tee it up next at LIV Houston next week and currently sits 25th in the individual standings.

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Scottie Scheffler makes case over major talking point in distance debate

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Prior to this week’s Open Championship, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler spoke about the “distance issue” in professional golf.

The reigning Masters champion gave the 8th hole at Royal Troon, called “Postage Stamp,” as an example as to how holes don’t need to be lengthened to be more difficult.

“No. 8 is a good little way to almost step back in time and control your ball a bit more.

“You don’t have to make a par-three 230 yards to make it a great hole. It can be 120 yards.

“I think holes like 12 at Augusta and 17 at Sawgrass, the best par-threes in the world are short par-threes. They’re not overly long par-threes.”

“It leaves a lot of opportunity for you to hit a shot.

“If I don’t hit the green on No. 8, it’s mostly likely going to be a bogey unless you’re in the front of the green.

“If you miss it in the right bunker or the left bunker — if you hit it in the left bunker, you’re going to be glad to be making a bogey because it’s probably going to plug, and you’ll be hitting up-and-down for your bogey.

“I think great little, short holes like that are fun.

“I think it’s an underrated skill for guys nowadays to be able to control your ball, and I think it’s something we need to encourage in our game, not just building golf courses longer and longer.

“You can make a short hole with a small green, and it’s pretty dang tough.”

One of the major obstacles of Royal Troon this week will be the bunkering. The fairway bunkers on the course are extremely penal and most will require a splash out into the fairway rather than a shot at the green.

“One of the things I liked that the R&A changed this year from last year was the bunkering,” he said.

“Last year I thought it was a bit silly how they flattened out each bunker.

“The bunkers are still a penalty enough when the ball isn’t up against the lip.

“It was a bit of luck whether or not your ball would bury into the face because you have a flat bunker and a wall that’s going to go right into it.”

“As long as you build a little bit of slope into it, you can allow guys the opportunity to get out of the bunker.

“If you’re on the greens, it allows for opportunity for guys to either take on the lip or play smart and play sideways.

“It leaves more opportunity for great shots and risk and reward around the greens and the fairways because you have an opportunity to hit a great shot or just play it safe and go out sideways.

“I love how they changed how they rake the bunkers this year with the more traditional sloping coming off the walls.”

Scheffler is set to begin his quest for a second major championship of 2024 on Thursday.

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19th Hole

Shane Lowry says this prevalent criticism surrounding Rory McIlroy makes his ‘blood boil’

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Rory McIlroy has been in the headlines since his Sunday collapse at last month’s U.S. Open. Analyst Smylie Kaufman and swing coach Hank Haney have wondered aloud if McIlroy should have hired a new caddie, while others wonder if he has the mental game to ever win another major championship.

This week, McIlroy’s friend and fellow Irishman, Shane Lowry, has come to the defense of the four-time major champion.

While speaking with BBC Sport NI, Lowry said the criticism makes his “blood boil”.

“It makes my blood boil, to be honest,”

“They don’t see how hard Harry works and how good he is for Rory.

“Just because he’s not standing in the middle of the tee box like other caddies who want to be seen and heard doesn’t mean that his voice isn’t heard by Rory.

“When you get to tournaments, he’s always there before Rory, he’s always walking the course. He works harder than any of the caddies out here.”

Lowry added that he still believes Rory will get another major.

“He’s the best caddie for Rory and I’ll argue that with anyone who wants to argue it with me,”

“It’s tough for him. Northern Ireland and Ireland is a small place. I’m sure it’s tough for Harry to go home and deal with all that but he’ll be alright.

“That’ll make the next one they get together all the sweeter.”

McIlroy will try to add to the tally once again this week at Royal Troon, where he finished T5 back in 2016.

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Brandel Chamblee on why he feels Rory’s game ‘deteriorates in the biggest moments’

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Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee has been a critic of Rory McIlroy when it comes to the Northern Irishman’s decade-long major championship drought.

After McIlroy came up short at the U.S. Open last month, Chamblee criticized his iron play.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love Rory’s golf swing, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. But he’s now finished in the top-ten in the last six U.S. Opens and he’s averaging in those six U.S. Opens – because I just looked here in strokes gained approach – about 30th. Guess what they do not do? Win U.S. Opens.

“The guys who win U.S. Opens finish first, second, third, fourth. Brooks Koepka in U.S. Opens – first, second, most greens and best iron shots, strokes gained approach.

“Rory consistently underperforms in his iron play – and that is the most important statistic.”

In the lead up to this week’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, Brandel is questioning McIlroy’s major championship preparation, after posing the question “Why does Rory’s game deteriorate in the biggest moments?”

Speaking at Royal Troon, Chamblee said

“When you look at what the best athletes do when they play to a higher level, they are being themselves.

“They are extraordinary athletes; they don’t have their minds cluttered up and, of course, their focus narrows the closer they get to the lead because of the confidence they get from that.

“So, it seems to me that Rory over time has enquired a lot from swing instructors or putting instructors or sports psychologists or deep dives from YouTube.

“With this generation, there is an epidemic of people doing deep dives on YouTube and getting cluttered up with curiosity.

“When I see Rory, it looks to me like he has either too many swing thoughts in his mind or he has too many voices in his head, it’s the only logical conclusion that I can draw.

“Why can one person be so obviously different getting into the lead or close to the lead and so obviously different when he has the lead.”

McIlroy will look to finally get over the line this week at Royal Troon, where he finished T5 back in 2016.

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