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A new major champion was crowned on the Champions Tour on Sunday.

Richard Bland took advantage of a week off from LIV Golf duties to win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores, in Michigan.

But within hours of hoisting the trophy, Bland was dealt a major blow by the PGA Tour.

As reported by Bob Harig, the Englishman will not earn the customary one-year PGA Tour Champions exemption because of his LIV allegiance.

In a statement, the Tour said: “In spite of the win, because of competing in an unauthorized event by the PGA TOUR, he will be ineligible for TOUR-affiliated events.

“The PGA of America, USGA and R&A each operate based on criteria of their own.”

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The 51-one-year old unknowingly earned his place in the field courtesy of winning the Betfred British Masters in May 2021.

The Senior PGA Championship offers a one-time exemption to players who have won on the circuit in the past five years.

However, Bland could not play in the event 12 months ago due to a clash with the LIV Golf schedule, so asked the PGA of America about this year and was granted an invitation.

“The British Masters was very special at 48,” Bland said after the triumph. “This is right up there. I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to celebrate the hell out of this one.”

He’ll return to LIV Golf action in Houston next month before a trip to Nashville two weeks later.

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Then, Bland could tee it up in the Senior US Open. He is now eligible for the major championship at Newport Country Club, which falls the week after LIV Golf Nashville.

Meanwhile, the Cleeks GC player dedicated the win to his brother, Heath, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year.

“I just wanted to win for him so bad,” he said.

“This is my first event. I was interested to see if I brought my game and how it would stack up against these guys. Thankfully, it does.”


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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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