Michael Block in position at PPC for an ultimate homecoming
SEASIDE, Calif. -- Truth be told, if it weren't for 13-year-old Dylan Block, then father Michael wouldn't have even been playing in Wednesday's third round of the PGA Professional Championship.
On Tuesday in Round 2 at Bayonet, Michael Block -- the 2014 PGA Professional Champion -- looked to have lost his ball with his tee shot on the par-4 15th hole.
But Dylan, looping for dad for the first time ever this week, noticed a hole in the bottom of a tree near where his father's ball looked to have landed. Dylan laid on the ground, reached into the hole and pulled out his dad's golf ball.
By rule, Block got free relief from the "burrowing animal hole" and went on to make birdie and the 36-hole cut.
"A hundred percent, I would not be here playing today if it weren't for Dylan," Block said. "I would have been on the road right now heading back to work. For him to find that ball yesterday was absolutely crazy. He's been amazing. To have my son out here, I couldn't ask for anything better. And he's just awesome. I have to constantly kind of slow him down because he's so hyper, loves being out there and loves the cameras. The whole time I'm just holding him back, but it's fun."
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After a break like that, you've got to make the most of it. And Block did.
He fired a tournament-best, 6-under 66 at Bayonet in Round 3 to fly up the leaderboard and get to 2 under for the week.
He had seven birdies in the round, including one at the par-5 18th.
Block chalked up the 66 to some exceptional putting.
"This is so not me," he laughed. "I like it hot and no wind. That's where I come from. Out here, I'm very uncomfortable. I drove it horrible today. But, finally I put a black line on my golf balls last night, because I hadn't made a putt in a week. I got this little think that makes the lines on the ball last week at the Open. They were in the player's locker room, so I just took one. Last night I put the lines on the balls and I haven't putted that good in a long time."
All of this has happened despite the fact that Block didn't get in a single practice round. While the rest of the field was here doing their pre-tournament homework, Block was on the other side of the country competing in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
He rushed to Monterey after missing the Open cut.
"I still don't have my legs under me and I think that's why I'm not driving it that great," said Block, 42, who has one other top-10 finish in the PPC. "I don't know if my legs are nervous or tired. They're probably not nervous, but just tired. They're almost like shaky. I'm worn out. But at the same time, I wouldn't trade what I'm doing for the world."
And that includes having Dylan on the bag.
"This is the first one ever," he said. "The first round was the first time he's ever caddied for me ever. Practice round, anything. We were supposed to get practice rounds in here those three days so I could train him how to do it, but we were at Shinnecock, so we weren't able to do it. It's been trial by error these last three days. It's awesome. He's great. He's a great little 13-year-old that has this personality. He loves talking to the other players and caddies. It's awesome."
Could all of this get any better? Actually, it could.
You see, the 100th PGA Championship in August is being played at Bellerive in St. Louis. Block, who resides in Mission Viejo, Calif., now, grew up two miles from Bellerive and his high school was one mile from the course.
"I've had Bellerive on my radar ever since it was announced," he said. "Talk about a homecoming if I was able to make it to St. Louis. This has been a goal of mine for I can't tell you how long. Today put me in a place where if I can go and play my game tomorrow, I should qualify."