Michael Block misses cut, going home after life-changing trip
After Michael Block signed his scorecard at the Colonial on Friday afternoon, he left the ball with his cap on his back, his shirt off and still smiling after being at the bottom of the 120-man field after a grueling 36 holes.
A week after the California club pro became an everyday golfer’s sensation by tying for 15th place at the PGA Championships in Oak Hill, Block was excited to finally come home and play his black Lab in the backyard.
Only then, he said, can he take a deep breath and reflect on how much his life has changed in the past week.
“I’m not trying to do anything, period. I just play golf,” Block, 46, said. “That’s what I can do.”
After a week of intense attention that included countless media interviews, thousands of texts and messages, including one from Michael Jordan, and a late sponsor’s dispensation to take part in the Charles Schwab Challenge, the exhausted block was never able to get his game at Fort Colonial Country Club in Bring Gear Worth, Texas.
“I have no legs,” Block said on Friday.
He said he still felt good with his irons, short game and putter, but Block only hit 11 of 28 fairways in two rounds.
“Even if I hit him well, he would land over the bunker and then bounce back to the left of the bunker when he wasn’t supposed to,” Block said. “I think I felt the wrath of the golf gods this week and I understand that. I totally understand and I don’t blame them for that because they gave me a lot of positive things last week.”
“I understand it. I’m not even surprised by that. I’m not at all surprised by my kicks and whatever else happened, my lies. It is what it is and I’ll keep going.”
His 4-over-74 on Friday was seven shots better than his opening 81, which started with three consecutive bogeys, included a par after approaching a cart bridge, and ended with three double bogeys in the last four holes.
The second round saw back-to-back birdies, a 19-foot putt at number 18 before serving first with a 4-foot putt on the par-5. But there were two more double bogeys as well, although Block took off his cap in front of the rapturous crowd and yelled “Block Party!” even more. after entering the number 9 green to complete his final hole.
Block had scheduled a flight to California for Friday night, seven days after originally scheduled to return from the PGA Championship in New York.
“I’m not going to let it all out until I’m probably in the — when I get to my house and I’m sitting in the backyard — no, I can’t talk about those things right now,” Block said. “My black labrador, 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.”
Block, the chief pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif., was virtually unknown when he arrived at the PGA Championship just over a week ago. However, over a period of four days, he captivated the golfing world with his performance.
Even Block didn’t have such high expectations. He had a flight booked for last Saturday morning at 10am ET. Instead, he played in the third round of the year’s second major.
“So, to say the least, it’s crazy that I finished 15th and made it and was there on Sunday and whatever happened because we all went home on Saturday morning and obviously that didn’t happen,” Block said . “Since then, my life has changed a bit and I’ve enjoyed every single moment.”
From the moment he showed up at the Colonial, Block shook hands and greeted the volunteers, taking selfies and signing autographs for fans young and old. More than two hours after his last putt on Friday, he was still near the clubhouse, mingling with fans.
“I thought I would just make friends with around 40-year-olds – with their fathers, and I think I succeeded,” said Block. “But I think I struck a chord with everyone else too, which is really, really cool. I met a lot of young people and old people and middle aged people and whatever. It’s my appreciation to you all. I just…”want to say thank you.”
Block will get another chance on the PGA Tour. He’s on sponsorship leave to play at the RBC Canadian Open in two weeks.
“I can’t wait to get to Canada,” he said. “I can’t wait to get to Toronto.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.