A close friend of former football star and fellow Southampton resident Matthew Le Tissier, who has caddied for him on several occasions, Bland kept his card in 2012 by the skin of his teeth, taking 119th place – the last exempt spot – in The Race to Dubai. Took the fourth card at the 2011 Qualifying School after finishing 162nd in The Race to Dubai that season. His most lucrative year came in 2010, when he was 65th, thanks largely to a tied third place finish at the Avantha Masters and tied fifth at the Irish Open. Ran Nick Dougherty close for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in 2002. Has earned his European Tour playing privileges three times via the Challenge Tour Rankings – in 2001, 2004 and 2008 - and is coached by Sky Sports commentator Tim Barter.