FORT WORTH, Texas — Michael Block wasn't the one hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club, but the 46-year-old PGA teaching professional out of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, won the hearts of golf fans across the country with his inspiring performance at the 2023 PGA Championship. Block finished in a tie for 15th, beating out some of the top-ranked golfers in the world as he secured his spot in next year's PGA Championship before earning sponsor exemptions for both the Charles Schwab Challenge this week and the RBC Canadian Open in June.
Of course, Block's inspiring finish at the PGA Championship and abrupt change of destination to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth has made for a whirlwind 48 hours since his final putt at Oak Hill. That includes a sea of text messages from friends and other supporters Block said he has still not finished sorting through, though among the congratulatory messages Block said he did get to was one from NBA legend and six-time champion Michael Jordan.
"I mean, getting a text from Michael Jordan today, that's -- I'm a big Jordan guy my whole life," Block told media members after a practice round Tuesday at Colonial. "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 didn't share the text message word-for-word, but said Jordan reaching out made for unquestionably the most unexpected text he received in wake of his feat at golf's second major of the season.
"It was something in the way that what he saw is why he loves the game of golf so much," Block said of Jordan's text.
Jordan isn't the only retired professional athlete Block has been in communication with either as he prepares to tee things up at Hogan's Alley later in the week. Block detailed that he holds a close friendship and even frequently golfs with retired MLB star Albert Pujols, who spent a considerable portion of his career in Southern California playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and, briefly, the Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring at age 42 after the 2022 MLB season.
Block said the longevity of Pujols' baseball career was a source of inspiration for himself as Block continues to post low rounds on the golf course well into his 40s.
"I went to almost all of the games when [Pujols] was a Dodger, when he was close to me, and would follow him around as a St. Louis Cardinal too," Block said. "To be around him and to see what he did at a similar age to me and to watch his professionalism and his willpower."
For now, the grind continues for Block as he prepares for what will be his fourth start in a professional event this season. Block played in both The American Express and the Farmer's Insurance Open before his rise to stardom at the PGA Championship, but missed the cut in both of those Southern California tour stops. And in his downtime, there are plenty of more messages to go through in an effort to empty his inbox.
"I really apologize to all my friends and fans and PGA members out there that have texted me," Block said with a bit of a grin. "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 [texts] or who's texting me. So it's been crazy."