A surprise early leader at the US Open turned down a hat sponsorship so he could represent his home club
- British golfer Richard Bland was tied for the lead at the US Open through two rounds.
- Bland didn't have a hat sponsor for the tournament, so he wore the hat of his home golf course.
- After his stellar start, Bland received offers to change hats, but he stayed true to his promise.
Richard Bland has had quite a year.
The 48-year-old English golfer had made nearly 500 starts on the European Tour before finally securing the first win of his career at the British Masters in May.
His win was a masterpiece, the result of a career comitted to the grind and capped with an emotional family moment.
Bland had lost his Tour card in 2018, and where some men might have chosen to retire, he got back to the course, won back his place on Tour, and finally got a win.
But his storybook ending wasn't over yet.
With the win at the British Masters, Bland earned himself a spot at the US Open, and through two rounds, Bland held a share of the lead.
Notably, while most other players in the field wore a hat bearing the brand of a Nike swoosh, Titleist logo, or some other sponsorship, Bland was without a hat sponson. Instead, he chose to wear the hat of The Wisley Golf Club, his hometown course located just outside London.
"I kind of said to the golf club, look, it would be quite nice if I wore the hat, and they gave me sort of like 10 hats to come out here with," Bland said of his hat after the first round. "So yeah, it's just the golf club that I'm a member at back home."
"I don't have a hat kind of deal at the minute," he said, "so if anyone is offering..."
After his hot start at the US Open, some offers were coming in. On Twitter, PointsBet Sportsbook reached out to Bland to see if he'd be interested in making a deal for the remainder of the tournament.
Bland politely declined, saying he'd stay true to his word to his home club.
-Richard Bland (@blandy73) June 19, 2021
While Bland wasn't sporting a major brand on his hat, he still made an impact. According to the broadcast on Saturday, the pro shop at The Wisely Golf Club received around 60 messages on their answering machine overnight from golfers looking to buy a hat.
Bland had a tough weekend at the US Open, going 77-78 Saturday and Sunday to finish well out of contention despite his hot start.
But despite the disappointing finish, Bland will leave Torrey Pines with his head and hat held high.
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