(Reuters) – Michael Block, the obscure club professional who stole the show at the PGA Championship, has received countless congratulatory messages since his remarkable achievement but admitted that one soared higher than the rest.
Block has so many messages that he has not even been able to scroll to the bottom of a seemingly never-ending feed but did reveal that one from earlier on Tuesday came from six-times NBA champion and avid golfer Michael Jordan.
“I mean, getting a text from Michael Jordan today, that’s — I’m a big Jordan guy my whole life,” Block told reporters ahead of this week’s PGA Tour event in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is competing on a sponsor’s exemption at Colonial Country Club.
“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.
“It was something in the way that what he saw is why he loves the game of golf so much.”
The 46-year-old Block, a down-to-earth head professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, authored a feel-good story at the PGA Championship where, bolstered by a final-round ace, he finished in a share of 15th place.
For his efforts, Block was given a sponsor’s exemption to play in this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in a field that includes world number one Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland, who both finished joint runner-up at the PGA Championship.
“It’s just a 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,” said Block. “I think, if I sit down and think about it too much, I’m not sure I could swing the club on Thursday.”
Block arrived at the PGA Championship as an unknown quantity as one of 20 teaching professionals in the 156-player field at Oak Hill but over the span of four days captivated the golfing world with his performance.
Prior to Oak Hill, Block missed the cut in all six majors he had previously played and made the cut in four of 24 career starts on the PGA Tour. He had last made a cut in 2015.
But that did not stop Block from firing two consecutive even-par 70 rounds at a trying Oak Hill course to comfortably make the cut en route to the best finish by a club professional in a PGA Championship since 1986.
During Sunday’s final round Block even delivered the signature moment of the tournament when his tee shot at the par-three 15th soared through the air and slammed into the hole without even touching the green for a hole-in-one.
Fans will undoubtedly be watching to see what Block can do for an encore. After spending just 20 hours at Colonial for the first time, Block was eager to get going and feels the layout 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,” said Block. “To be honest, it fits me a lot better than it did last week.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)