LIV Golf pro takes over 1 minute to hit — and official drops rule book on him

Richard Bland, Dean Burmester

Richard Bland and Dean Burmester on Saturday on the 15th tee at Valderrama Golf Club.

LIV Golf

Richard Bland walked up to the 217-yard, par-3 15th hole at Valderrama Golf Club. And then?

Things took a while. 

In order:

With the green clear ahead, Bland handed his putter to his caddie. He grabbed his rangefinder from his bag. He went to the tee and lasered his distance. He walked back to his bag to put his rangefinder away.

He stepped away to put on his golf glove. He looked at his yardage book.

He reached for an iron.

He went back to the tee and put his peg into the ground. He stepped back and stared at the target. He took one practice swing. He stepped back and stared at the target.

He stepped to the tee and hit, and his ball finished left of the green.

And somewhere at this point, Bland was slapped with a rare slow-play penalty, after it took him well over a minute to hit on Saturday during the second round of the LIV Golf event. Bland took four strokes on the hole, but signed for a five. 

News of the penalty came from a release from the Saudi-backed league, which said:

“In round two, the group of Dean Burmester, Sergio Garcia and Richard Bland were officially warned by a rules official after their 4th hole of the day (hole 8) where the group was out of position on the golf course as well as behind in relation to time par.

“After their 9th hole of the day (hole 13) the group, who had further lost position on the course, was officially timed by a rules official. In accordance with the LIV Golf League Pace of Play Policy, ‘A player has 40 seconds to play each stroke, with an additional 10 seconds if they are the first to play any stroke in the group.’

“On the tee of the 15th hole, Richard Bland, who was first to play, received a time of 84 seconds for his first stroke. This exceeded the allotted time per the policy. Bland was immediately notified by an official and assessed a one-stroke penalty. With the one-stroke penalty, Bland’s score of 4 on the par-3 15th hole resulted in a score of 5.”

On a viewing of the 15th hole broadcast (above), Bland took 1 minute and 49 seconds from the time he reached into his bag for his rangefinder, until he hit. There appeared to be no conversation with a rules official, and Bland followed his tee shot with a pitch to the fringe and two putts. 

Neither he, Garcia, Burmester nor rules officials had press conferences afterward. 

Slow-play penalties are rare and are enforced by events or tours; the last known one in men’s pro golf came during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship, when John Catlin was docked a stroke. As for the Rules of Golf, Rule 5.6b offers this: “It is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction.”

Notably, slow play — and potential penalties for it — recently resurfaced at the Masters, when Brooks Koepka, who also plays for LIV, noted this while playing in the final group during the final round: “Yeah, the group in front of us was brutally slow. Jon [Rahm] went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”

A month later, at the PGA Championship, Koepka then offered this solution

“Honestly, I would start stroking guys. If you are going to take that long, you have to get stroked. There are certain circumstances where the wind switches, something like that, it’s understandable, but taking a while is, I just think, unnecessary.” 

On Saturday, LIV Golf agreed. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at