Club pro hero Michael Block posts opening-round 81 at Colonial
Michael Block had a difficult opening round at Colonial.
It’s been a whirlwind week for 46-year-old club pro Michael Block.
Last Thursday, Block was building the foundation of what became his legendary PGA Championship run with an opening-round 70 at Oak Hill.
A lot can happen in seven days.
You likely already know the story, but to recap: Block became the biggest story of the PGA Championship, aside from Brooks Koepka’s win. He was the only club pro to make the cut, he earned weekend pairings with Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, and became a final-round hero with a 15th-hole ace and a clutch up-and-down to get in the clubhouse at T15 — which means a guaranteed berth in next week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Golf fans are used to seeing incredible play on the course, but Block’s story resonated like few do. Viewers were charmed by his relatable demeanor and humility. After the PGA, Block received an exemption into this week’s tournament field at Colonial, and the RBC Canadian Open in June. He received texts from people like Michael Jordan. He was signed by power agency WME Sports. His sleeve bore a new Raising Cane’s logo for his Charles Schwab Challenge debut. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to participate in this Block party. Whirlwind is an understatement.
But then came the golf.
On Thursday at Colonial, Block struggled from the start, bogeying his three opening holes. He bounced back with a couple of birdies to get back to two over at the turn, but was ultimately sunk by a back nine that included three bogeys and three doubles. Block ultimately signed for a final score of 81 — 11 over par, and last on the leaderboard by four shots.
“It’s one of those days of golf,” Block said after his round. “If you play golf, you know exactly what just happened. So I don’t really need to explain it too much because, if you are a golfer, you’ve had the day I’ve had. You understand the facts of where the lies aren’t good and the trees are in your way every time. Even your good shots are bad, your bad shots are worse, et cetera, et cetera.
“It is what it is. I’m going to live with it,” he continued. “I thought it was going to happen that third or fourth round last week at Oak Hill, and it never happened. It happened now, and I wasn’t surprised by it, to tell you the truth. The experience I had that last week was next level. So today, coming out here and not having my game at all and having a lot of bad luck or whatever you might call it, just call it golf. It is what it is. At the same time, I sat there, and I thought about it, and I said, I’m going to see my boys tomorrow night.”
Block’s journey thus far has been quite an emotional rollercoaster — and the experience seemed to sink in a bit as he considered making an early exit from Colonial.
“I’m not disappointed. I’m going to go home tomorrow night. (Crying). I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m looking forward to coming out tomorrow and playing a great round and giving it everything I have.”
And despite where Block sits on the leaderboard, he’s still holding out hope that he can turn things around on Friday.
“I’ve shot 58, and I’ve shot a 59 in my life, and since what I had today, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did it,” he said. “So if I do, cool. If not, I’ll be seeing my kids and my wife tomorrow night in Orange County, California.
“It’s all good one way or the other.”
For Michael Block, that couldn’t be more true.
As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.