Emotional Response from Underdog Pro on Defeating World’s Best Player

Michael Block, the head pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, held back tears during his press conference at the PGA Championship when asked how it felt to beat Masters champion Jon Rahm. Brock had played two rounds of his life, kicking off the 105th PGA Championship with back-to-back even par 70 rounds, and he was confident he’d be one of the PGA pros to play that week, if not the only one. He briefly came within a shot of the lead in the second round and was undaunted by a disastrous shank and subsequent double bogey. Despite this, he stabilized his position and almost birdied on the brutal sixth and par on the remaining ninth.

Towards the end of the press conference, Brock was asked how it felt to beat the Alpha of golf. At first, his expression didn’t change, but he eventually said, “Pretty, pretty cool to say the least,” before becoming emotional. He said, “I wish you could come to my office and play with me and teach me behind the driving range with my students right now,” holding back tears.

Despite the odds being against Brock, fans love a sports underdog. This was Brock’s sixth appearance in the PGA Championship and his 25th appearance on the PGA Tour. Though an accomplished player who won the 2022 PGA Professional Player of the Year and is a 10-time Southern California PGA Player of the Year, no PGA pro has finished in the top 30 at a PGA Championship this century. Club pros haven’t won a major since the 1948 Masters, and that winner is ironically linked to Oak Hill, where the championship was taking place. E. Claude Harmon, a club pro who won the 1948 Masters, is the father of longtime Oak Hill head pro Craig Harmon and renowned instructor Butch. Claude’s green jacket was on loan from Augusta National and hangs in the Oak Hill clubhouse.

Even after an unfortunate shank didn’t derail his Cinderella story at the PGA Championship, Brock remained confident in his potential. He said, “I don’t know who he [Rahm] won or who he didn’t win. I’m going to go out there and do my best and keep my head down and play as good as I can over the next two days. It may sound strange, but I’m going to compete. I promise you.”

Jack Hirsh, Golf.com editor, notes that Brock’s high school’s golf team captain still strives to stay competitive in the local amateurs. He joined GOLF after working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, where he spent two years as a multimedia journalist/reporter, producer, anchor, and even a weather presenter. Jack graduated from Penn State University in 2020 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science and can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.

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