Club professional Michael Block is hoping to avoid a return to reality for as long as possible after his US PGA Championship heroics.
Block almost stole the show from winner Brooks Koepka at Oak Hill, making a hole-in-one during the final round while playing alongside Rory McIlroy and finishing in a tie for 15th place.
The 46-year-old’s display captured the imagination of the spectators and his tie for 15th secured a place in next year’s US PGA at Valhalla, followed soon after by invites for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge on the PGA Tour and June’s Canadian Open.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 21, 2023
“I’ve said it a lot, but it’s just a dream,” Block told a pre-tournament press conference at Colonial.
“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.
“There’s a lot going on and I really apologise to all my friends and fans and PGA members out there that have texted me. 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.”
Among the messages Block has been able to reply to was one from his hero Michael Jordan, the former basketball star telling Block that his performance was “why he loves the game of golf so much”.
“I’m a big Jordan guy my whole life,” Block said. “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.”
Block also revealed he became friends with baseball star Albert Pujols after being paired with him in a golf tournament in California and will be attending his wedding in the Dominican Republic in December.
And although he, understandably, has never received such attention before, he has been around the professional game for long enough to get a sense of how it works.
“I’ve been around it in a weird kind of small way in little bits here and there over the last 10 years,” the Block said. “So I’m somewhat comfortable with it.
“It’s just weird now where I come up through a gate and the guys at the gate are screaming ‘Block Party’ when I’m going through – and the guy making me an omelette gave me knuckles and said I did awesome last week.
Michael Block's irons (especially the 7-iron from his ace) are drawing quite a bit of attention 👀
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 24, 2023
“I mean, that’s the part where it’s a little beyond me at this point. So it’s cool, but I’m trying to enjoy it.
“I don’t really know what the future is going to hold whatsoever. I’m not trying to guess what’s going to happen. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.
“I just show up on Thursday and tee it up with Min (Woo Lee), which is a buddy of mine, which is great – so super comfortable pairing – and just have fun. Whatever comes of it, comes of it. I’ll enjoy it one way or the other. I’ve got a great life both ways so it’s good all the way.”
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth believes Block’s performance was a welcome dose of perspective in a sport which has been split by the emergence of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf League.
“I’ve always talked about the most important thing for me is trying to remember that it’s a game and I want to be who I was when I was 14, 15 years old, getting better and falling in love with the game by shooting low scores, wanting to go out and practice and having fun attacking pins,” Spieth said.
“I guess what I’m saying is he has no reason to play other than play the way he always has known, and I think there’s something to be taken from that.
“More importantly, it’s just the way his demeanour was on and off the course, the way he talked about it.
“That’s what I meant in we could all use a little Michael Block. Those of us that have been out here a long time and get caught up in the complaining route.
“I was told that happened (after) the first few years and I never thought it would be me, and then I catch myself sometimes. Just (need to remember) we got it pretty good.”