Club pro Block awed by fanfare, message from MJ

FORT WORTH, Texas — Michael Block wants to apologize to his friends.

“I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you,” said Block, who finished tied for 15th at last week’s PGA Championship and then was a awarded a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. “I literally scroll and scroll and scroll, and it’s never ending. I can’t even get to the bottom of any of my feeds to even see how many or who’s seeing me. So it’s been crazy.”

But there was one text message he received Tuesday that he was able to return. It came from Michael Jordan.

It seems the basketball Hall of Famer and avid golfer took notice of Block wearing Jordan brand shoes last week at Oak Hill Country Club.

“I’m a big Jordan guy my whole life. I was a little kid in Iowa saving 100 bucks for a pair of Jordans back in the day,” Block said. “Pretty darn cool, to say the least.”

And Jordan’s message?

“It was something in the way that what he saw is why he loves the game of golf so much,” Block said.

Block’s 1-over finish at the PGA Championship last week captured the minds of golf fans everywhere. By finishing tied for 15th, he qualified automatically for next year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club and it was the best finish by a club professional at that major since 1986. According to the latest Official World Golf Ranking, which were released Monday, he jumped from 3,580 to No. 577 in the world.

“I’ve said it a lot, but it’s just a dream,” Block said after finishing a practice round. “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.”

Block’s ace at the 151-yard 15th hole was the first in a PGA Championship since 2020 and the first by a PGA club pro at a PGA Championship since 1996. The 7-iron he used is now much sought after.

On Monday, he told 1310 The Ticket in Dallas, he was offered $30,000 for the club. He has received more offers since.

“It’s crazy, right? The initial response was it was $50,000 and I’d hand deliver it. Kind of kiddingly, but I guess not really anymore,” Block said. “But I’ve had other people ask about it to maybe have it preserved in certain spots for the PGA, etc., stuff like that. So it’s up in the air. For right now it just needs to hit shots in there close for me, and I’ll go from there.”

Max Homa called Block, the head pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, a “legend in southern California,” having played in tournaments against him in the past. Block played the front nine at Colonial Tuesday with Beau Hossler, another southern California golfer. As he teed off on No. 10, Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson, were watching.

“It’s always amazing to see someone who, if you go to the U.S. Amateur or the U.S. Mid-Am and you see those players how great they are, and they have a job,” Homa said. “I spend all my days here practicing golf. That’s all I have to do, and he can still whoop me real good.”

Ryan Palmer was practicing at Vaquero Club in Westlake, Texas, and saw Block’s hole-in-one. He was curious how Block’s game would withstand the pressures of the weekend of a major playing with Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

“I think it’s just one of those stories that game of golf hasn’t had for a while,” Palmer said. “The game is in such a great place, the PGA Tour, the guys that are playing each week, the guys that are winning, it’s stronger than ever, I think, but I think a lot of that has to do also with what’s been going on in the golfing world, the battle that’s been happening I guess you could say. To see a story like that, bring together fans that are golfers or not golfers, I think that’s pretty cool to see.”

Block received the sponsor’s exemption on Sunday and flew to Dallas/Ft. Worth on Monday. He was at Colonial by mid-morning Tuesday for a practice round. He brought the same clothes with him from last week in Rochester, New York, but that did not help with the hotter weather in Texas.

“I don’t have any shorts with me at all,” Block said. “So I’m going to try to get some shorts here this [so] at least when I’m out here practicing [Wednesday], I’ll have some shorts on.”

The spotlight has not been too much for Block. After concluding his news conference Tuesday, he spent roughly an hour handling other media obligations. He calls future baseball Hall of Famer Albert Pujols one of his best friends. He plays regularly with Patrick Cantlay. He is paired Thursday with friend, Min Woo Lee.

This is his first time playing Colonial, Ben Hogan’s home course.

“The course fits my eye, a lot of cuts off the tee,” Block said. “You’ve got to be pretty straight. And the greens are perfect. I’ve got a nice little ryegrass around the green. To be honest, it fits me a lot better than it did last week.”

The most encouraging part of last week has not been all of the recognition and congratulations.

“It’s that my golf game’s good enough,” Block said, his voice cracking. “Yeah, that my game can hang with these guys.”

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