PGA professional Michael Block will ride a wave of emotion to Colonial Country Club this week after earning a special exemption to compete at the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge.
The Orange Country pro tore up the final day script at the PGA Championship to write his own Hollywood blockbuster ending with a slam-dunk hole-in-one at the par-3 15th topping the highlight reel after echoing around Oak Hill.
Playing alongside Rory McIlroy, Block never once seemed overawed by the occasion and as good and all as his 7-iron was on 15, it was an up and down for the ages at the last that ensured him a top-15 finish and a place in next year’s Championship.
Block played it cool for as long as he could but having arrived to the course four hours prior to his tee-time off the back of little sleep, and after riding a rollercoaster of emotion throughout his final round, it all finally hit the American at the post-round press conference.
“I have cried only a couple times in my life. When I won the National Championship in 2014 in Myrtle Beach. At The Dunes Club I cried. And after that, my wife hasn’t seen me cry until this week,” Block said after taking some time to compose himself in a nearby tent.
“If it makes any sense, the one thing in the world that makes me cry is golf. If that puts into context as far as how much I love the game, you know now. It’s everything to me.
“Obviously I love my family and everything else and my job and everything, but golf is my life. I live it, breathe it. I made sure of one thing in my life: That I was going to drive to a golf course every day, whether it was a caddy or an onsite service kid or an assistant pro or a head pro or general manager, I was going to be at a golf course.”
Last week, that journey took Block to dreamland, AKA Rochester New York where he collected the biggest cheque of his career worth $288,333, usurping the $75k he cashed in 2014 at Myrtle Beach. And now, after a phone call from the Tournament Director at Colonial, Michael Tothe, there’s more opportunity on the horizon, and no need for Block to wake up any time soon.
The Block party heads to Fort Worth!
Michael Block finds out he will be playing next week @CSChallengeFW.pic.twitter.com/7uBjf8G9LZ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 22, 2023
“We have an exemption available and we’d love for you to be in Fort Worth this week,” Tothe told a tearful Block, who also received an invite into June’s Canadian Open. “There’s no better person for this last exemption to go to than you.”
So often it’s said that one week can change it all in golf. Last Sunday, Michael Block sat in the Pittsburg Pub and not one person knew him. He was just the long-time pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. A 46-year old mightily content carrying out lessons with a decent hourly rate of $145 an hour. One week later, he was heading back to the same watering hole as one of the most famous faces in the game.
“I’m going to go there in about an hour, and it’s going to be on. We’re going to have a crazy good time tonight, and I look forward to it,” Block said.
“I’m like the new John Daly, but I don’t have a mullet, and I’m not quite as big as him yet.
“I’m just a club professional, right? I work. I have fun. I have a couple boys that I love to play golf with. I have a great wife. I have great friends. I live the normal life. I love being at home. I love sitting in my backyard. My best friend in the world is my dog. I can’t wait to see him. I miss him so much it’s ridiculous, my little black lab.
“But, yeah, it’s been a surreal experience, and I had this weird kind of sensation that life is going to be not quite the same moving forward, but only in a good way, which is cool.”
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