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9th May 2023

Statement on the passing of John Bland

Beloved South African professional golfer John Bland, who won 36 titles in a celebrated career, passed away shortly after 6am on Tuesday 9 May 2023.

Bland (77) passed away in a hospital in George after a battle with cancer, with his family and his bulldog Handsome by his side.

“As a family we are relieved that John’s suffering is over,” said his wife, Sonja.

“I met John 25 years ago and I knew immediately what a special man he was. The support and loving we have received from his lifelong friends during this time has been incredible and we are all grateful that John is now at peace.”

Bland began his professional career in 1969 and was one of the leading golfers and most loved figures on the Sunshine Tour and international circuit for decades.

He followed in the footsteps of some of South Africa’s greatest ever golfers by winning the 1970 Transvaal Open, joining a list of champions that included Sid and Jock Brews, Bobby Locke and Gary Player. In 1977 Bland beat Player to win the South African PGA Championship. He also won the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit title four times.

Bland was a two-time winner on the DP World Tour (European Tour) and achieved a career-high ranking of 48th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Bland’s senior golf career was equally impressive as he won five times on the PGA Tour Champions and three times on the Legends Tour.

Tributes have poured in worldwide for one of the most loved and respected South African sportsmen.