A Text From Michael Jordan Later, Michael Block is Still Living the Dream
By Adam Stanley & Michael Abramowitz
(David Cannon/Getty Images)
The fairy tale continues.
Michael Block, the PGA Head Professional from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California, set the golf world on fire with his fabulous effort at Oak Hill Country Club. He finished tied for 15th and earned his way into next year’s PGA Championship, re-writing the PGA Professional record books along the way.
He played with Justin Rose, a major winner himself, during the third round, then teed it up alongside two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy in the final round – where he also dunked his tee shot on the par-3 15th to make an incredible ace. Finally, he scrambled for par from the greenside rough on the par-4 18th to punch his ticket to Valhalla for next year’s PGA Championship.
A week to remember, certainly.
But now Block is enjoying the fruits of his labor.
He’s in the field this week at the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge after accepting a sponsor invite. The RBC Canadian Open extended him an invite, as well, and he’ll be in the field in that event in early June.
Block arrived at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas – about 1,500 miles from Rochester – and he’s still living the dream.
“I'm just cruising. I'm actually kind of glad that at this point I haven't come to the reality about what's happening so I can actually play pretty good golf. I think, if I sit down and think about it too much, I'm not sure I could swing the club on Thursday,” he said with a smile.
From charging $150 for an hour lesson to being offered at least $30,000 for the miracle 7-iron that he used to sink the ace heard round the world, the man is walking on clouds.
And who can blame him?
“My initial response was $50,000 and I’d hand deliver it,” said Block, about the 7-iron. “Kind of kiddingly, but I guess not really anymore.”
A message from MJ
The popularity of the PGA Professional continued through the first two days of the new week, with upwards of 10,000 new texts, direct messages, and emails.
“I really apologize to all my friends and fans and PGA Members out there who have texted me,” added Block. “I literally scroll and scroll and scroll, and it’s never ending.”
A long-time pal has come on board to help Block out with some of the day-to-day management of his brand-new affairs, including appearances on the “Today” show, “CBS Mornings,” “Good Morning America,” and the “Dan Patrick Show.”
But one thing Block handled himself? A text exchange with Michael Jordan. Problem is Block’s cell phone was so jammed with messages, he couldn’t find it for much of the day. Finally, the text appeared.
“I’m a big Jordan guy. My whole life,” noted Block, who said Jordan told him about how Block’s story reminded him about why he loved golf so much.
I was a little kid in Iowa saving 100 bucks for a pair of Jordans back in the day. Pretty darn cool to say the least.
Michael Block, on getting a text from Michael Jordan.
The tour players Block will tee it up alongside with this week in Fort Worth, agree.
“When I was watching him play golf, it’s enjoyment,” said 2020 PGA Champion Collin Morikawa. “Truly amazing what he’s done. The world loved it. I loved it.”
Added Tom Hoge: “It was incredible. To do it on that kind of a test, I think really speaks to his game and the way that he played. What a great story.”
Max Homa has known Block since he grew up in Orange County, California, and he played with Block from time to time, first at Arroyo Trabuco. Homa knew Block was good, but was stunned by the T-15 finish at Oak Hill.
“I just think, at its core, this is what golf’s about,” said Homa. “Kind of that any given Sunday thing. You go out there, you play your game, no one can play any defense, and you go show the world how great you are at golf.”
While Block is not yet ready to go back to work in Southern California, he will be at work this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge. This will be his fourth PGA Tour event of the season – he missed the cut at The American Express, although he shot 65 in the opening round there, and the Farmers Insurance Open before teeing it up at the PGA Championship – and said the course fits his eye.
“A lot of cuts off the tee. You've got to be pretty straight. And the greens are perfect. I've got a nice little ryegrass around the green,” Block said. “To be honest, it fits me a lot better than it did last week.”
'It's good all the way'
Block is a celebrated PGA Professional in Southern California, having won everything there is to win in the state for PGA Professionals. His week at Oak Hill Country Club was his fifth PGA Championship, so he’s used to parts of what’s transpired over the last seven days.
However, he’s not used to people screaming “Block Party!” at him, or the chef at the omelet station at breakfast giving him a fist-bump and telling him how great he played the week prior. But playing good golf and being rewarded for it – he knows what that is like.
Block also knows his story can inspire a new wave to love golf like he does. When signing autographs for a couple of kids, he asked them, “Are you going to be a PGA Professional?”
One young boy quickly answered, “I hope so!”
Regardless of what happens this week, or in a few weeks’ time in Canada, Block knows the life he’ll return to is a good one. He waxed poetic about how much he loved his job, his members, and his family. A firepit in his backyard. A cold beer with his buddies. Simple things like sushi on Tuesday night in Texas, he said.
He’s set to have a comfortable pairing come Thursday (he’s grouped with rising star Pierceson Coody and Min Woo Lee, who is a friend of Block’s) and he’s going to just ride this wave as long as he can.
“I don’t really know what the future is going to hold whatsoever,” Block said. “Just keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing, exactly what I did last week, and exactly how, honestly, I’ve lived my whole life. Whatever comes of it comes of it. I’ll enjoy it one way or the other.
“It’s good all the way.”