Adam Bland prepares for first major outing
BY Anthony Powter | European PGA Tour | 2006 British Open | General | 19 Jul 2006
Royal Liverpool, Holyoake, is a far cry from the Arizona desert where the Von Nida Order of Merit winner and Australian PGA 2005 Rookie of the Year, Adam Bland, has based himself since a disastrous start to 2006.
Bland is about to embark upon a possible life changing event as he tees up tomorrow in The Open Championship. It’s the South Australian’s first taste of Major Championship golf and there are sure to be a few butterflies, but Bland feels he’s blended into the “hype” and is ready for what lies ahead.
Bland is to the point, and tells it as it is.
“Qualifying for the British Open was a huge boost after the poor start to the year. It’s kick started my motivation to practice hard and remember that it’s all just one big process.”
Missed opportunities early this year in the two Australasian Nationwide co-sanctioned events prevented Bland from transitioning to the Nationwide Tour, which has seen both Nick Flanagan and Michael Sim making their respective marks in the US.
Missing his Asian Tour card a month later was a further blow to Bland. The result being, he was forced to find some kind of “tour” to play.
“In Australia, I was playing very bad and was experiencing a difficult patch at the wrong time. It was a grip problem that I couldn’t change overnight. It was certainly a goal I had at the time to make the Nationwide Tour from those two starts and I missed the boat. That’s golf though and it’s how you bounce back from those stages and what you learn from it that becomes important when you are starting out.”
“The way I see it is you just have to learn to grow with the game and enjoy it no matter how things are going. Despite the start of the year, I am happy how things have panned out so far. I just have to learn to grow with the game and enjoy it, no matter how things are going.”
“Making the British Open through qualifying in Melbourne was a real boost after a poor start to the year, it lifted me and gave me a fresh approach to the game getting my confidence back.”
The Grey Goose Gateway Tour in the US – a pay for play tour – has been “home” for Bland since February. He currently sits 3rd on its money list.
“I needed somewhere to play before the British Open and this fitted in perfectly so that I could be tournament ready. Golf in America is just bigger, they do nothing by halves. The competitions are low scoring, so it has me trying to shoot low, but learning to do that in a more consistent way.”
“If you play well it’s profitable and if you struggle you will burn lots of cash. Ultimately, I believe it depends on how much you’re willing to pay to gain the experience.”
With the assistance and financial support of equipment supplier PING, clothing manufacturer Ashworth and faith from an Australian company Interior Fitouts, Bland was able to gain the experience in the US and develop his game as well as regain his confidence.
This week’s British Open Championship is seen by Bland as an opportunity to make amends for the events of earlier in the year.
Adam wasted no time in acclimatising to the elements in the UK, arriving early to practice and acclimatise to the obvious differences between a traditional British links and a Arizona golf layout.
He had a shared practice round with Robert Allenby earlier in the week and Bland felt he was hitting the ball well and fitting into the major league. He’s also spent a week in Liverpool, having rented an apartment with his girlfriend Bec and his mates, Aaron, who will carry his bag during the tournament, and fellow British Open contender, Ben Bunny.
The practice sessions have been long and arduous; put simply, Bland is enjoying the challenge.
“Mostly, I am just looking forward to mixing it with the best. All week I’ve had mixed feelings from being confident, nervous and excited.”
“The Open this week is really an opportunity to getting my career moving up and that’s a massive driving force. Plus, the people I’m surrounded by, there all very positive, which really helps. I just want to enjoy the experience. Being a professional golfer is a great job, so I want to work hard and see if I can get rewarded.”
One of the reasons for choosing Holyoake – the subject of some criticism – for this year’s Open was to emphasise how things can change. Adam Bland was not even born when The Open was last played there in 1967.
Just like Royal Liverpool as host to the Championship, Bland is looking to make his mark on world golf.
Photo – Anthony Powter