After a PGA teaching professional stole the show at the second major of the season, the “Block Party” will continue this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, which begins Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Michael Block received a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s PGA Tour stop at Colonial Country Club — plus next month’s RBC Canadian Open — after tying for 15th at the PGA Championship last week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
When Block arrived, he just wanted to make the cut for the first time in five tries. His fairytale week ended with a hole-in-one on the 15th hole Sunday and people around the world learning his name.
“(Tuesday) was my first time on property here at Colonial. I absolutely love it,” Block said. “The people have been amazing. The invitation was fantastic, obviously from Charles Schwab and everyone here.”
The 46-year-old, who has heard from the likes of Michael Jordan about his impressive PGA showing, is the head pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif. He thought he’d be heading home from upstate New York after the PGA, but plans changed. A package of fresh clothes was sent to Block to wear at Colonial.
It isn’t his first exemption into a regular PGA Tour event, but this time the golf world will be following along.
“Just keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing, exactly what I did last week and exactly how honestly I’ve lived my whole life,” Block said. “Whatever comes of it comes of it. I’ll enjoy it one way or the other. I’ve got a great life both ways.”
Sam Burns is the defending champion after holing an unlikely 38-foot putt from the fringe to defeat Scottie Scheffler in a playoff last year. Burns has one victory this year, at the WGC-Match Play, but he enters the week having missed back-to-back cuts. He shot an 80 in his second round at the PGA Championship.
Dallas-area natives Scheffler and Jordan Spieth will compete, as well as Ryan Palmer, a 46-year-old Texan who’s a member at Colonial. Not counting a team event he won with Jon Rahm of Spain, Palmer is looking for his first victory on tour since 2010.
“I guess the old cliche, it’s my fifth major,” Palmer said. “It’s very special. It’s the one tournament I look forward to the most. I probably cherish it the most because of being a member here for a long time now, just the friends I’ve made throughout my years here.
“I’ve had some close calls, which is nice, but just being a part of this tournament each and every year, it’s hard to put into words what it would mean if it did happen, but I try not to think about it as much. It’s one I want the most.”
Scheffler is back to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking this week after tying for second at the PGA Championship. He’s coming off a 5-under 65 on Sunday.
“I hit a lot of good putts,” Scheffler said Sunday. “I can start feeling the ball coming off the blade again the way I want to, which is nice, and so definitely some confidence going into next week.”
In 10 starts at Colonial, Spieth has never missed the cut with eight top-10s, three runner-up finishes and one win (2016). He’s playing through a left wrist injury but still made the cut at the PGA Championship.
Colonial is nicknamed “Hogan’s Alley” for Ben Hogan, who hailed from Fort Worth and won the event five times, including four of the first seven editions.
“Mr. Hogan has his clubs here. He made this place,” world No. 7 Max Homa said. “Them two are synonymous, and that’s special. Obviously we come to a lot of pretty amazing places out here, and we’re lucky to play some tremendous golf courses, but you add some of the history to it, it makes it even more special.”
–Field Level Media