FORT WORTH, Texas — The Block Party is coming to Fort Worth.
Michael Block, the previously unheralded golf professional who burst onto the golf scene with a top 15 finish at the PGA Championship on Sunday, received an invitation to play in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club this week.
Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship for his fifth major title. But Block, a golf pro at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Southern California, was far and away the fan favorite at Oak Hill Country Club.
What makes Block's status unique is that he's not a touring pro who goes toe-to-toe with the top golfers in the world. He plays competitively on the PGA's Southern California circuit, but his day job is as a club professional who gives lessons.
While 20 or so club professionals typically qualify for the PGA Championship, few make the weekend cut, much less end up in the top 15, which secures an automatic berth in next year's tournament.
Block, however, fired three rounds of even par 70 to find himself paired with Rory McIlroy in the final round Sunday. Block was one-over par through 14 holes when he hit the shot of the tournament - and his life: A slam dunk hole-in-one that sent the Oak Hill crowd into a frenzy.
After the tournament - and after an emotional post-round interview - Block received a call from Fort Worth. The Charles Schwab Challenge was extending him an invite to this week's tournament. Block's invite was the tournament's last-available sponsor's exemption, which is given to players who aren't previously qualified for the tournament.
“I’m in next week as the last sponsor’s exemption, which is really even more mind-boggling now,” Block told the Associated Press. “This week’s been absolutely a dream. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but I knew if I just played my darned game, right, that I could do this. I always knew it.”