Pelley: 'If I was in your position I’d do exactly the same'

Richard Bland is playing in this week's DP World Tour event in Northern Ireland having featured in the first three LIV Golf events. To date he has finished in 17th, 28th and 41st spot which, if there was a money list available, would add up to an awful lot of money given that he's shot one round in the 60s.

Those DP World (European) Tour players who have signed up to the Saudi-backed series have been banned from playing the Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship and there is talk that some will feature at Wentworth.

Those who featured at Centurion, the first LIV event, were fined £100,000 which, according to reports, was paid off by the new tour.

But the interesting story here is that Bland, who will be 50 next February, told Matt Le Tissier on his podcast that the tour's chief executive Keith Pelley was far from off-putting about the new venture.

Bland said: “When we played at Centurion, we certainly didn’t know what was going on. I had two or three meetings with Keith Pelley, our CEO, and he said to me – we were at The Belfry, at the British Masters, and he said: ‘If I was in your position I’d do exactly the same as you’re going to do.'"

The British Masters took place in early May while the Centurion event followed a month later. All of which goes against everything that we've heard from Pelley, which is pretty much next to nothing.

A couple of weeks after the first LIV event Pelley, speaking about the fines, was calling a very different tune.

"Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules. That is what has occurred here with several of our members," said Pelley.

"Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our Tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years. 

"Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the Tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced."

Then came the news that the PGA and DP World Tours were strengthening their strategic alliance.

Before Centurion Bland told BBC Radio Solent that he was pretty clear of the consequences ahead.

"I am going to play. If I get banned, I get banned. Most of my career is behind me now as regards playing at the very highest level. I'm a realist. Mother nature does tend to catch up on you. I have an opportunity to play these events and secure my future and I'd be pretty foolish to turn that down.

"Everybody has their own opinion and are they going to play or not going to play; you can only do what's best for yourself. I understand some people might not like that but it's an opportunity for me to make the next stage of my life very comfortable and how can I turn that down?"