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Michael Block is Living the PGA Dream

Michael Block is Living the PGA Dream
Michael Block of the United States | Andrew Redington/Getty Images/AFP

New Kid on the Block

You don’t even need to like “grippin’ it and rippin’ it” to enjoy this story. In PGA news, a dude named Michael Block is one of the 28,000 certified club pros of the P.G.A. of America and he not only qualified for one of the sport’s four major events, he crushed it!

Now you have to understand, he’s a teaching pro and the man with the plan who will tell you to keep your head down, swing leisurely through the ball, and for the luvva gawd, “Don’t try to kill it!”

He can make all the weekend duffers look silly when he’s in their foursome, yet, he’s not of the same sublime ilk that you see on television, roaming the lush plush of Augusta National or some other national treasure that caters to the likes of millionaires, billionaires, and senators when they’re not hosting world-class golf tournaments.

However, the P.G.A. Championship is unique in that it reserves 20 spots in the field for members of the P.G.A. of America who win qualifying tournaments. It’s like getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory only you have to earn it against all odds.

Now, if you’re a guy like Michael Block, a 46-year-old no-name pro who calls the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California his home, then you’re just thrilled to be invited to the most jaw-dropping two rounds of golf in your life. Mind you, only two rounds are promised until the cut, then you pack your bags and go home to watch the big boys play for all the marbles.

Naturally, you don’t expect to do much more than rub elbows with your heroes because hitting a golf ball is tough when you’re being watched by thousands in the gallery and millions at home, all while your knees are knocking and your palms are sweaty.

But here’s the thing, Michael Block wasn’t just content to mingle and walk among the giants, he decided that he’d be one – a fake it ‘til you make it kind of thing. After all, he’s no spring chicken and this wouldn’t likely be a springboard to bigger and better things. Oh wait, this is one of golf’s four majors, there is no bigger and better.

Fast forward to the end of the second round and he’s tied for 10th after shooting par, the first club pro to accomplish such a feat in 40 years. After the third round, he shot his third consecutive even par round to stay near the top of the leaderboard.

And in the final round, as the galleries began to swell with newly-minted Michael Block fans, he was teamed with one of the best in the business, Rory McIlroy. It was one part Rudy and the other part Happy Gilmore as Block stole the show when he aced the 151-yard, par-3, 15th hole as the event’s coup de grâce and capped a storybook finish that would make Disney blush.

When it was all said and done, McIlroy embraced Block like a long-lost brother and the 46-year-old Everyman walked away with a 15th-place finish in one of golf’s most revered tournaments and over $288,000 for his efforts.

The world of golf will likely never see such a remarkable, yet, fitting finale. It was a surreal, spellbinding, and stunning performance in which every man, woman, or child who ever swung a golf club lived their own fantasy through a regular guy whose grace under fire and poise under pressure revealed more about the indomitable human spirit than it did about a breathtaking round of golf.

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