Charles Schwab Challenge
Exhausted and heading home, Michael Block says the 'golf gods' finally caught up to him
Michael Block hits a shot in Friday's second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Jason Allen/ISI Photos
Last week, California club pro Michael Block had a flight booked for 10 a.m. on Saturday from western New York back to Orange County, where he lives. “So that gives you [an indication of] how much confidence I had in making the cut at the PGA Championship,” Block said.
The 46-year-old did make the cut, however, and he went on to create the feel-good story not just in golf, but also sports more broadly, last weekend. Block tied 15th while making a hole-in-one playing with Rory McIlroy in the final round at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.. He made $288,000 in prize money.
“Life changed a little bit since then, and I've enjoyed every single moment,” he said on Friday.
A week later, in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth’s famed Colonial Country Club, Block will get on a Saturday morning flight after signing for a four-over 74 in Round 2 to miss the cut. After an 81 on Thursday, he was in last place of the 120 players in the field and remained there.
Block did manage some highlights, including a near-ace and a daring approach shot off a bridge to save par. But the exhaustion from the PGA Championship finally caught up to him, and his reliable fade with the driver deserted him.
Jason Allen/ISI Photos
“I have no legs. The tee shots killed me, honestly, this week,” he said. “I think I felt the wrath of the golf gods this week, which I get. I don't blame them for it because they gave me a lot of positive things last week.”
Talking about “golf gods” is just one of the many sides of Block that make him relatable to the average golf fan. Tour pros don’t often talk about golf gods. Then there’s honest interviews with media, the I-can’t-believe-I-just-hit-a-good-shot expressions and the general delight in playing a PGA Tour event.
“I'm not trying to do anything, period,” Block said when asked what it was like to embody the spirit of the everyman. “I'm just playing golf. That's what I know to do.
“If somebody says, ‘Hey, Michael,’ I have a problem not looking them [in the eye] and shaking their hand. I've got issues with it. If you want an autograph, I'll sign your autograph, and if you want a picture, I'll probably give you a picture too. My dad raised me right.”
Block choked up when asked how he will let out all the emotions from the past two weeks.
“I'm not going to let it all out until I get to my house and I'm sitting in the backyard—no, I can't talk about this stuff right now,” Block said, pausing briefly. “My black lab Messy, he's waiting for me. I haven't seen him in almost two weeks, and I can't wait to get home and throw the ball with him.”
After his time with the pooch, and likely some celebrations with members at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, where he teaches, Block will be back out on the PGA Tour next month for the RBC Canadian Open. There, he’ll compete on a sponsor’s invitation at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, on the other side of Lake Ontario from Rochester, where his star was born.
“I cannot wait to get to Toronto,” Block said.