FORT WORTH, Texas — A few days removed from one of the most compelling storylines of the golf season, Michael Block was still the talk of the town in Rochester, where he made history with a top-15 finish at the PGA Championship.
But the buzz has followed Block to the Dallas Metroplex, where he’s making a surprise appearance at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Block was a late addition to the field after University of Texas star Parker Coody, the grandson of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody, withdrew from the event.
As he did at Oak Hill, Block endeared himself to the media with stories of his journey, which has included rubbing elbows with sports royalty.
And other PGA Tour players have enjoyed the ride as much as fans. Despite an impressive field at Colonial Country Club that included the likes of Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel as well as Texas staples Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler, many of the questions — and lengthy answers — have focused on Block and the optimism he brings to the game.
Here’s what others had to say this week:
Max Homa: ‘I don’t think you could have written that one. Even ‘Tin Cup’ didn’t go quite that far’
It’s awesome. I’ve known Michael for a little bit. He’s a legend in Southern California. I played a professional golf tournament with him back in the day, I think it was the So Cal Open or the California Open.
It’s always amazing to see someone who, if you go to the US Amateur or the US Mid-Am and you see those players, how great they are, and they have a job. I spend all my days here practicing golf. That’s all I have to do, and he can still whup me real good.
It was amazing to see. Obviously, that event has that attraction that 20 PGA professionals play, and to see him not only play great, but enjoy it so much and get appreciated by the fans and appreciated back, it was just — it was refreshing.
Man, that hole-in-one — I saw him today. I said that hole-in-one on 15, I was kind of side-eyeing the TV, and it looked fake. I don’t think you could have written that one. Even “Tin Cup” didn’t go quite that far. They made him hit seven more balls before one went in. So that was pretty amazing.
I just think that any time you have the teaching pros, the PGA professionals in your area, there’s some that are — you know, play some golf. Some don’t really play much at all anymore. And then you have some people like Michael who are still tremendous at golf.
I think that’s what kind of brings the legend of them around. You hear about these people. You see them. You play events with them. So I think that’s where that comes from.
And just to go out last week and be — it’s a major. Everyone is as prepared as you could possibly be, and to go and beat basically everybody, all but 14 people, I mean, that’s awesome. It shows you how much game he’s got. It shows you his mental fortitude.
Again, as much as all that was impressive, just the joy he had while playing and all of that was — I think that’s what stuck out the most.
That pro event I played was the first time we’d been around each other. I think the first round was at Arroyo Trabuco, which is where he teaches at. I’d seen his name. There’s a lot of guys out there that their name will pop up, and you know they’re not young because you don’t see them at college or whatever.
So you try to… you learn about what they do, figure it out, whatever. So we played, and I thought he was a really good player, and he kind of met like expectation. But that was the first time.
Obviously, I don’t live there anymore. I don’t see him a lot. I’ll see him at the Tour events. I know he played San Diego this year, so I saw him there. And just keep up, you like to keep up with the people from around where you’re from. So I always root for those guys to do well.
I never really thought that that would happen, getting 15th at the PGA and all that. But as far as a human being, like he deserves that praise. He’s always been super, super nice. Every time you’re kind of around him … even if we’re not playing together in an event, he’s a nice guy to go up to and say hi. He’s just usually in a great mood and kind of just a joy to be around.
It’s always tricky, the grow the game thing, but he ruined it for the next PGA pro to get warm for two days at the PGA. You’re going to see a guy in the 20th next year, if it’s not him, and there’s a lot of expectation. If they don’t dunk a hole-in-one… I think it’s what Tiger did to the rest of us.
But, yeah, I just think that its core is what golf’s about. Kind of that any given Sunday thing. You go out there, you play your game, no one can play any defense, and you go show the world how great you are at golf. I think it got people excited to play. I think it got people excited to watch golf, especially him, and that’s always going to be a good thing.
Ryan Palmer: ‘It’s cool to see a guy like that succeed’
That was actually fun to watch. I’m sure like a lot of people who sat there on Sunday watching, we just wanted to see what he did. He played a lot better than I probably gave him credit for.
It was unbelievable watching that and what he showcased. Then I found out late Sunday night he received an exemption into this tournament, which is very special. I’m so excited to meet him and congratulate him on what he did last week, which is unprecedented for sure, especially for a PGA of America member, and he qualified for next year’s PGA.
Yeah, it was fun to watch. I really enjoyed watching him battle and fight. What an unbelievable, just a great story for the game of golf. Excited to see him this week.
I think it just shows that anyone can do it. Not anybody can do it, but if you believe in what you’re doing and put in the work, you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve always said winning on the PGA Tour is the hardest thing to do, but you never know when that’s going to happen.
You may wake up one Sunday morning and you’ve had the best day of your life, and the next thing you know, you’re winning. He obviously didn’t come in there expecting to do that, I’m sure, but after that, his confidence is built, and it’s high, and he’s here this week playing. He’s going to be playing in Canada.
I’ll be cheering along with a lot of other folks cheering him on to see him play well. But it’s very, very cool to see it happen to a guy who’s been around the game of golf. He’s given back, teaches. He plays the game as well, but he’s also a big part of the Professional Golf Association. It’s cool to see a guy like that succeed.
Tom Hoge: ‘He’s fun for all of us to watch’
It was incredible. I mean, it was a brutal golf course, so to do it on that kind of a test, I think, really speaks to his game and the way that he played. That exposed every weakness he might have out there. He passed the test very well.
What a great story, and it’s pretty cool to have him here in Fort Worth. Let’s see if he can keep it going. He’s fun for all of us to watch.
Jordan Spieth: ‘Just insane. Absolutely insane’
That’s one of the beauties of the PGA Championship. You don’t really see it to that extent but every 20 or 30 years, but how cool. He’s extremely accomplished in his own right. I know we have some mutual friends. I met him yesterday on the 10th tee. He was turning, and I played the back nine behind him.
We were actually watching it while flying home, and when that happened, it had frozen before they’d hit, and my phone was blowing up with my friends like you’ve got to be kidding me. No way. No way. I’m like what happened? They’re like, he just dunked it on 15. Just insane. Absolutely insane.
I think what was so cool about that, as a player that can get caught into a decade out here and think of it as work more than play, is you saw how he embraced that entire week, and he’s talked about it after like, you’ll look back and think of a couple of weeks in your life, and this may be one of the best ones I’ve had. It’s like, man, we get to do that every week.
I think if you can kind of help keep that perspective and be a little more like Michael Block week to week, it would be a good thing for all of us.
You just get kind of caught up in the week to week, and sometimes — 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.
If I’m 80 years old, I’m not going to remember when I laid it 30 feet left of the hole, which at times may be a better decision, but also if I played that way, I may have won another event or two, but I probably wouldn’t have won three or four of them that I did.
I guess what I’m saying is he has no reason to play other than playing 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 demeanor 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 the first few years, and I never thought it would be me, and then I catch myself sometimes. Just we got it pretty good.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek