I can only imagine what Michael Block was feeling this week at the PGA Championship. Here is a 46-year-old club pro playing with the best players in the world. Not to mention that after making the cut and getting to play over the weekend he was paired with Justin Rose in one of the final groups. At that point he was even par and sitting within striking distance of the lead.
To make matters more difficult the PGA setup the course as a par 70 instead of a normal par 72. So as Michael stood on the rain-soaked tee Saturday at even par, he was shooting under par in a normal setup at a Major PGA event. And at his age, he was driving the ball at least 30 yards less than all the other players leaving him longer approach shots into all the greens.
Raise your game by who is around you!
The PGA Championship is a unique event in that it has 20 spots for club pros. They must go through qualifying rounds to earn a spot. And out of those 20 players, only Michael Block was able to raise his game and feed off the talent he was surround by.
Saturday the course was under constant rain all day. But that had no effect on Block who continued to make incredible up and downs throughout the day. And his positive energy level was capturing every fan on the course and Justin Rose too. On the 12th hole Rose rolled in a clutch 30-foot putt. When the putt dropped, Block put his fist in the air and screamed out “Yes”.
This behavior is a totally out of the ordinary between PGA players. Block may have been playing Saturday, but he was acting like a fan in that moment. And one hole later, Block rolled in a 30-foot putt to save a par and Justin Rose threw his fist in the air and yelled “Yes” back at Block. Rose and the entire gallery were caught up in the fandom of Michael Block.
The fairy tale continues…
On Sunday tension was in the air as Block was grouped with Rory McIlroy. He had also changed out his hat to a Taylor Made logo and was sporting brand new Air Jordans. There were so many questions: Could he keep up the incredible play? Was he just happy he got that far? Had the moment overcome him?
After the first two holes the television broadcast was no longer showing him and Rory. I had to keep checking the online leader board to make sure he wasn’t going to shoot 80 on the final day. But every time I checked; he was sitting at +2. There was no way he was going to win but we all wanted the great story to finish with a happy ending.
On the 15th hole par 3 the story reached a crescendo. Block stepped up and hit a 7-iron and made a hole in one. The ball never even landed on the green. It flew and landed directly in the cup for the ace. He didn’t even see the ball go into the hole and Rory had to tell him it went in.
As I write about it today it even seems too good to be true. Seriously, 46-year-old club pro qualifies for a major PGA event, and gets a hole in one on Sunday to get to even par. He makes it into the top 15 and wins $288,000 thousand dollars. He gets invited to the next two PGA events and automatically qualifies for next year’s PGA Championship. Today he was on “Good Morning America”. Wow, simply wow!