There have been no shortage of surprises for Michael Block since the 46-year-old club pro authored one of sport’s great surprise stories at the PGA Championship.
Before he had even left Oak Hill Country Club, he’d been invited to play two PGA Tour events: Thursday’s Charles Schwab Challenge and June’s RBC Canadian Open. His press conference had been momentarily paused for an impromptu presentation of the 15th hole flag, the site of his remarkable slam dunk hole-in-one. Then, he received a $50,000 offer for the 7-iron he used to achieve it.
But one surprise has trumped them all. Amid the thousands of messages lighting up the Californian’s phone in recent days, one came from NBA legend Michael Jordan.
“I’m a big Jordan guy my whole life,” Block told reporters at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge, on Tuesday.
“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’s not the first time that Jordan, a well-documented golf enthusiast, has reached out to a player that caught his eye. After Matt Fitzpatrick clinched the first major of his career at the US in June last year, he quickly received a congratulatory message from the five-time NBA MVP.
According to the Englishman’s friend and golf journalist Dan Rapaport, the text read: “Congrats Michael Jordan.”
Block’s was more wordy, though the Californian did not disclose the exact details.
“It was something in the way that what he saw is why he loves the game of golf so much,” said Block.
“I told him that I just want to be in one of his 36-hole games.”
It may, however, take a little longer for other messengers to receive a reply.
“There’s a lot going on, and I really apologize to all my friends and fans and PGA members out there that have texted me,” Block added.
“I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. 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.”
On Thursday, Block will once again have the chance to compete alongside many of the game’s elite, with both PGA Championship runner-ups, new world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Norway’s Viktor Hovland, on the field list.
Joining them at Colonial Country Club are a host of stars Block finished above at Oak Hill; multiple major champions Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Tony Finau are all among the big names present in Fort Worth.
They will compete for a $1.566 million winner’s share of an $8.7 million prize pot. For Block, it will be an opportunity to add to the $288,333 he won at the PGA Championship, so long as he can bring himself to focus on golf.
“I’ve said it a lot, but it’s just a dream,” Block said.
“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.”