Sunday afternoon was an absolute delight for me. While I was interested to see who would pull out the eventual victory between LIV’s Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland, and a surging Scotty Scheffler, what I really wanted to see more of was Michael Block’s final round. And I don’t think I was even close to being alone in that desire.
If you are reading this post, I have to imagine you know at least a bit about Michael Block, the latest feel-good story from golf’s professional ranks. If not, let me get you caught up in a few seconds. Block is a PGA Pro who runs Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, CA. Similar to what your local PGA Pro likely does, he runs the course, gives lessons, and generally hits the golf ball far better, farther, and more consistently than you do. And on top of that, he seems like a genuinely humble, awesome guy.
But Block’s run at the annual PGA Championship was not like what you normally see from the 20 PGA teaching pros that make the cut for the Major Championship. Generally speaking, most of those guys don’t make it to the weekend, and that’s to be expected. PGA Pros aren’t out playing for the majority of their professional time: they are teaching and usually running the club. While they are professionals in the golf industry, don’t mistake them for touring pros you watch on TV each week.
Yet, in unbelievable fashion, Michael Block put together solid rounds on Thursday and Friday, getting him not just past the cut line, but in real contention for the weekend. He entered Sunday’s round tied for 8th place, and finished a very convincing +1 in 15th place to seal his fate for next year’s PGA Championship where he’ll be teeing it up for certain. In his own words, Michael Block had this to say of himself:
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 of 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.via rochesterfirst.com
Michael Block is Everyman
Clearly, this guy is more like you and me; a dude who loves golf, loves his family, and is humbled by what is happening to him right now. I tweeted during his post-round interview that we all choked up a bit when Block showed sincere gratitude to his people back home, crowded together to watch as he drained an ace at hole 15 and put a cherry on top of his magical weekend.
Block’s story was simply electric, and though I think Brooks Koepka’s run to his 5th major victory is substantial and a fantastic story, it was overtaken by a regular guy who went out and stunned the world with his golfing performance.
It’s not often you see something like this, and the feeling it can give you as a regular person playing golf is pretty astounding. Stories like these are why movies like Tin Cup – one of my all-time favorites – are made. While we love to watch the pros tee it up each week and find reasons to root for our guys, seeing a man of the people step in, perform, and inspire is something else entirely.
And with his run, Block capped off what will go down as one of the most memorable moments for me watching golf on a television. There are a few burned in there that will never go away. I imagine watching Tiger win different majors over the years, but I’ll never forget the sight at the 18th during his final round at the 2019 Masters when he came striding up the fairway with an ocean of a gallery in his wake. It was monumental, and this weekend’s performance by Block was as well.
So hats off to you, Michael Block, and may your moment in the spotlight be a blessing on you and your family. You’ve given us a great story to remark upon and you’ve given us all yet another reason to love this great, confounding, beautiful game. This weekend and this story is everything I love about golf. Sure, there are giants of the game, but we are each one of us caught up in this larger history, this larger story of a hundreds-year-old game that simply cannot be stopped. And my God, I love that.