PITTSFORD, N.Y. — On Saturday evening, 46-year-old Everyman Golf Pro from California’s public courses, Michael Bullock, had a spellbinding run as he played the final round of this year’s PGA Championship with Rory McIlroy. I learned to continue 4 times major champion. Brock rolled his eyes at the news and turned around.
“Are you serious?” he asked.
He stumbled and started backpedaling.
Eventually he walked away laughing, but muttered, “Oh boy.”
Brock added, “It should be fun.”
And oh, has it ever been?
In retrospect, perhaps one of the greatest golfers of his generation, McIlroy, 34, finished the tournament tied for 15th but was treated like a visiting rock star all weekend. I should have been grinning and waiting for the opportunity to play. and he complied with the request.
Brock has proven what is possible in a game like golf, which is more player-versus-course competition than golfer-versus-golfer.
In this tournament, Brock, who had never even played in a major, was able to hold on to his best over the demanding 72 holes. He’s proven it’s possible. That may be the core reason why people watch sports. And he won $288,333.33.
At the end of Sunday’s pairing, McIlroy grabbed a block on the final green and gave a long bear hug. With a 12-year age gap between the two, they may have a hundreds of millions of dollars difference in golf earnings, but it wasn’t obvious from their heartfelt embrace.
It was just one of the highlights of their pairing during their four-plus hours of golf on Sunday afternoon, but there were many.
It was good golf, and more importantly it was good for golf.
But nothing will be as memorable as Block’s shot on Sunday at the 151-yard, par-3 15th hole.
First, as background, the PGA Championship is a rare major tournament that reserves 20 spots for members of the PGA of America, the organization that organizes the tournament and represents 28,000 certified club professionals in the United States.
Block’s full-time job, teaching golf lessons and serving recreational players at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, southeast of Los Angeles, qualifies for one of 20 slots. obtained. It was a shock when he was even par and tied for 10th in the first two rounds. This makes him only the second club pro in the last 40 years to finish in the top 10 after two rounds at the tournament.
Brock, who signed nearly every autograph request from fans at this year’s PGA Championship and entertained reporters with amiable and self-deprecating answers to countless questions, was just getting started. found.
He hit his third even par 70 on Saturday, keeping him relatively close to the top of the leaderboard.
Just before 2pm on Sunday, a block party erupted next to the number one tee at Oak Hill Country Club. It was unlike any other celebration of the event since fans began lining up in the halls of the century-old course for practice rounds early last week.
When the block came on, the 15-deep crowd roared with raucous cheers enveloping the overcrowded bleachers and arena-like first tee boxes. McIlroy’s greeting was quiet in comparison.
A shout of “Let’s go block” followed him up the first fairway where, apparently without any hesitation, he hit his first shot.
Brock bogeyed on the first hole, but he didn’t seem to care, and McIlroy and the two chatted amiably for a few minutes as they sauntered down the fairway. As the block reached the green, the fans shouted, “Hey! we are with you!
Brock walked down a narrow hallway of fans as he hit the second of a solid par six. One shouted, “Workers are here!”
Brock kept playing calmly, even though some of the crowd’s enthusiasm was starting to wane. But on the 15th hole, Brock showed another sense of drama when he slammed his tee shot into the hole.
The applause for Brock’s hole-in-one could be heard from near the clubhouse, about 600 yards away.
By the 18th hole, Block hooked his second shot well to the left of the green, about 100 feet from the flagstick. His recovery was going well and the pitch was 7 feet for him. His par putt slowly approached the end of the hole, stopped, and disappeared from his sight.
A par on the finishing hole also secured Brock an invitation to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
In an interview minutes later, Bullock said: It doesn’t get any better than this. “
Dedicating his performance to club pros across the country, he added with tears in his eyes. “This is for you.”