LIV Golf Invitational Series: Richard Bland requests release for opening event at Centurion Club | Golf News

Bland makes his 500th DP World Tour start at the British Masters, a year on from his maiden DP World Tour victory; The 49-year-old confirmed he hopes to feature at the Centurion Club in June 9-11 for the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Last Updated: 04/05/22 12:13 pm

Nick Dougherty and Wayne Riley review Richard Bland's final round at the British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt.

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Nick Dougherty and Wayne Riley review Richard Bland’s final round at the British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt.

Nick Dougherty and Wayne Riley review Richard Bland’s final round at the British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt.

Reigning British Masters champion Richard Bland has confirmed he is among the players to have asked for a release to play in the opening event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Bland secured a breakthrough title at the 478th time of asking during last year’s event at the Belfry, becoming the oldest first-time winner in DP World Tour history, with the Englishman since breaking into the world’s top 50 after further success over the past 12 months .

The 49-year-old is one of only a handful of golfers to confirm their intention to tee it up at the Centurion Club from June 9-11, the first of eight scheduled events in 2022, although refused to be drawn into his reasons behind his decision.

Richard Bland hopes to feature in the opening event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Richard Bland hopes to feature in the opening event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series

When asked about whether he had asked to feature in next month’s event, Bland told a pre-tournament press conference: “I have. And if it’s okay. That’s where I want to leave it.

“For me right now, I want to concentrate on this tournament. I want to respect Betfred, obviously the British Masters, obviously Danny who is a wonderful host.

Richard Bland was an emotional man speaking to his coach Tim Barter and his family after claiming his first European Tour win at the Betfred British Masters.

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Richard Bland was an emotional man speaking to his coach Tim Barter and his family after claiming his first European Tour win at the Betfred British Masters.

Richard Bland was an emotional man speaking to his coach Tim Barter and his family after claiming his first European Tour win at the Betfred British Masters.

“So yes, I have, but right now, this DP World is my 100 per cent focus this week. I want to make a good defense of my title and we’ll leave it there if that’s okay with you.”

Many of the world’s top players have already distanced themselves from any potential breakaway circuit, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, while former Masters champion Danny Willett – tournament host at the Belfry – also confirmed his intention not to take part.

Danny Willett intends to return to PGA Tour action after hosting duties at the British Masters

Danny Willett intends to return to PGA Tour action after hosting duties at the British Masters

“No, it’s not, it’s a week off,” Willett said when asked if the series opener was a consideration. “I think it’s a very difficult one. You’ve got guys in massively different situations in age, career, what they have achieved, what stage they are at and I think it definitely suits certain people. So if you feel like you call into that category, then that’s on you.

“We haven’t really had many discussions. My main focus was to keep my head down and try to get as many points in the FedExCup and in Europe as possible, because I think it was a distraction for a few guys at times.

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“I think you did see a few guys fall off in form because maybe they weren’t concentrating on what they were trying to do. But my main goal was to try to focus on what I was doing in golf and kind of see what happened with everything else. “

What is the LIV Golf Invitational Series?

Eight 54-hole tournaments across three continents will feature on the 2022 schedule, taking place over a five-month period, with prize purses bigger than anything currently available in the professional game.

Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

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Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

Matthew Southgate sees merit in the Saudi-backed golf tour, arguing the guaranteed income would appeal to him

Phil Mickelson’s agent revealed last month the six-time major winner has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play the first event in June, with Robert Garrigus among others seeking permission to also be part of the 48-man field.

Reports suggest at least 15 of the world’s top 100 players have sought releases in order to play in the opening event at Centurion Club from June 9-11, including Mickelson, with the Daily Telegraph reporting Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are among the others to consider appearing.

Watch the Betfred British Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.

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