Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bladon Takes the Road Less Traveled; He Qualifies for Open after His Girlfriend Lends Him 110-Pound Entry Fee

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bladon Takes the Road Less Traveled; He Qualifies for Open after His Girlfriend Lends Him 110-Pound Entry Fee

Article excerpt

Byline: SCOTT MICHAUX

HOYLAKE, England - Warren Bladon sums his career up in one succinct sentence.

"I was around and disappeared, and I've sort of come back," he said.

Bladon's road to Hoylake isn't the one less traveled. It's more likely never been traveled.

His 40-year path includes the requisite highlights. It includes two previous British Open appearances. It includes a British Amateur championship a decade ago. It includes a memorable trip to the Masters when he had the chance to play half a practice round with Jack Nicklaus before apologetically walking off.

It also includes twice quitting the game for extended periods of five and three years. It includes aborted attempts on the European Tour and failed efforts to qualify in the United States. It includes a stint as a pub manager. It includes twice weekly games with his mates in between days working for minimum wages as a picture framer and plumber's assistant. It includes divorce and child support. It includes being eliminated from The Golf Channel's reality show, The Big Break.

It finally includes being so broke that the only way he could give reaching the British Open another shot was if his girlfriend would lend him the 110-pound entry fee.

"She offered to put it on her credit card and I accepted," Bladon said. "She had one condition, that you practice a little bit so at least you give yourself a chance."

Bladon got through the first stage, his second event of the year. He got through the final stage, his third event. Now he faces the best players in golf at Royal Liverpool and dreaming the impossible dreams.

"People have written me off and I'm 40 now," he said. "I don't think it's an age issue. So many times before I've missed all the youngest records. There's no reason you can't win the Open in your 40s."

There are 156 stories of players at the British Open and none more interesting than Bladon's. …

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