FORT WORTH, Texas — The stats don’t bear it out, but days after proclaiming that he’d “be one of the best players in the world” with Rory McIlroy’s length, Michael Block again insisted it was his driver that was his downfall in missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
However, a quick look shows that the 46-year-old PGA Championship darling and full-time teaching pro had a worse Strokes Gained: Approach to Green game at Colonial Country Club than he did Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
In other words, Block’s game simply failed him at a place where short hitters often have their best chance.
Still, Block said on Friday that he was humbled by the support he received by a large crowd at the PGA Tour event this week. He’s heading back home now to California, giving himself a chance to unpack all the emotions for a two-week stretch that saw him on an ESPN featured group and making appearances on numerous networks.
“I’m not going to let it all out until I get probably in the … when I get to my house and I’m sitting in the backyard,” Block said after carding a 74 on Friday, not nearly good enough to get into weekend contention, but much better than the 81 he posted on Thursday. “I can’t talk about this stuff right now. My black lab Messy, he’s waiting for me. I haven’t seen him in almost two weeks, and I can’t wait to get home and throw the ball with him.”
Block had more double bogeys (five) than birdies in his 36 holes at Colonial and his 15-over 155 put him five shots below everyone else on the board.
“The tee shots killed me, honestly, this week. I still had the short game. I still had the irons. I still had the putter and everything else, but I’m usually a very straight driver and I love a cut, and I was not feeling it,” he said. “From the first tee shot where I blocked it right, I was either blocking it right or pulling it left. Block it right, pull left.”
Still, he connected with fans, many who cheered him on well into the second round. Block had a respectable group following him throughout the day, even while Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth were on the course.
Block said he was in awe of the response, even with groups he did not think he’d connect with.
“I appreciate everybody that’s shown their support. The people here, the pros here, the members here, the volunteers here, and the fans have been amazing,” Block said. “I thought I was just going to hit a chord with like 40-year-old … what do they call it? Dadbods. I thought I was going to hit a chord with the dadbods, which I think I did, but I think I hit a chord with all the other ones too, which is really, really cool. I met a lot of young people and old people and middle-aged people and whatever else.
“It’s my appreciation to them all. I just want to say thank you.”
Block will keep chugging away, practicing as he always has between lessons as the golf instructor at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. In fact, he estimates that if you add up all the minutes he spent practicing that it would be “10 years worth.”
And he’ll be back on Tour during the RBC Canadian Open in early June, playing on another sponsor’s exemption.
“I can’t wait for Canada, to tell you the truth,” Block said. “I cannot wait. I cannot wait to get to Toronto.”