It’s Not Midnight Yet, Cinderella

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Greetings From The Booth!

You can’t make up stories like this. If you pitched a script to Hollywood about the week Michael Block just had at the PGA Championship, you would be booted right out of town. Block, who just had a top-15 finish in golf’s second major championship of the year, was “the” story of the tournament. You could make the case that he even upstaged winner Brooks Koepka, who captured the fifth major title of his career on Sunday at Oak Hills Country Club.

The PGA Championship is unique in that a handful of PGA club professionals get to compete. Contrary to popular belief, PGA club pros play very little golf. Just ask your club pro about that. Their time is spent on the putting green with members, making sure the pro shop is stocked with golf clubs and gear, charging up golf carts, and ordering new sand for the bunkers. I just described a day in the life of Michael Block, who is the pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California.

Not this past week…and maybe not for the foreseeable future.

Block captured the hearts of golf fans around the world by making the cut at the PGA, and for a while was in the top-10 with a chance to win. Surely, midnight would come for this Cinderella on the weekend, but it wasn’t until late Sunday that Block started to fade a bit down the leaderboard. Had the story ended there, it still would have been a good one.

Then came the 15th hole, where Michael Block slam-dunked a 7-iron for a hole-in-one, and became an instant folk hero. It was the cherry on his Sunday, as Block collected over $288 thousand for his top-15, and gets to play in next year’s PGA Championship. But the story doesn’t end there. This week, someone offered Block $50 thousand for that seven-iron he used for his ace on Sunday. Surely, he would have a sentimental attachment to that golf club and not give it away at any price. Nope. In true “everyman” form, he offered to hand-deliver it for that kind of money.

Then, Block’s childhood hero, Michael Jordan, sent him a text congratulating him for his PGA showing. And, guess who the crowds are going to be following this week as Block plays at Colonial Country Club? All pretty heady stuff for a guy who just a few weeks ago was probably giving someone a chipping lesson. But, anyone who thinks all of this newfound fame will change Michael Block didn’t hear the humility in his emotional interviews last week.

At some point, Block may fade from memory and become an asterisk in the annals of professional golf. But for this Cinderella, it ain’t midnight yet.

Until the next visit from The Booth…have a great Memorial weekend!

RW

 

 

Sports Dogs Podcast: Masters Preview

In this edition, we take a break from basketball and join up with Nick Ciattei of Mid Atlantic Golf Getaways and preview golf’s first “major,” the 2023 Masters, as the world’s top golfers get ready to tee it up from famed Augusta National. Who will don the green jacket this Sunday? Enjoy the witty banter! (and Nick’s golf attire!)

 

Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs Podcast
Sports Dogs Podcast: Masters Preview
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Tidbits

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Greetings from The Booth!

I have no major topic this week, but I did want to weigh in on a few things, so here goes…

Let’s start with Dallas-Washington week, which used to be a big deal. It really isn’t anymore. George Allen and Tom Landry are long gone, and it’s been almost 30 years since the end of the Joe Gibbs era (not counting his mini-comeback in the early 2000s). Championships haven’t been on the line in this rivalry for awhile. And Dallas seems to own Washington recently. There’s absolutely no buzz about the game this week, and that’s a shame. Random thought: given all the team name changes recently, shouldn’t Dallas have to change it’s name to “Cowpeople”?

I’ll admit it. I’m a golf geek. I must be, because I watched way too much of the President’s Cup this past weekend. I know this because my wife’s irritation meter was about an 8 on a scale of 10. In case you don’t know, the President’s Cup is the team event that is held every other year, alternating with the more popular Ryder Cup, and is formatted in similar fashion. Unlike the Ryder Cup, which pits the USA versus Europe, the President’s Cup has the USA playing the International Team (minus Europeans). On paper, this year’s PC looked like a rout, an it ended up that way, as the Internationals were overmatched by an American team made up of the top names in golf: Thomas, Scheffler, Schauffele, Speith, Finau, etc. I’m sure only us golf geeks were watching on Sunday, when the only drama was how many points the USA would win by.

I have an idea for spicing up the President’s Cup. Let’s do away with the nationalism and have a PGA Tour versus LIV Golf event. The bad blood between the rival organizations is well documented and this would make for some great drama. Who wouldn’t want to see Rory McIlroy (my new favorite golfer) against Patrick Reed (my new favorite heel)? Man, this would be Flair versus Hogan stuff and the ratings would be off the charts. The only hurdle to making this a reality would be getting the 2 organizations to sit down and hammer out the details. Come on guys, make it happen!

Finally, on the date of this writing in 490 BC, the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. A Greek soldier named Phidippides ran over 26 miles to tell the good news to Athenians, dying after his announcement, but was the inspiration of the marathon race. So it’s only fitting that this week, Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon, breaking his own world record with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 9 seconds. There are a lot of us who would celebrate a time of 2:01 in the half-marathon.

Kipchoge has actually broken the 2-hour barrier in the 26.2, but it doesn’t count as a World Record, because the feat came in a Nike-orchestrated event specifically created to have him break 2 hours. The Nike Sub2 Project had Kipchoge running on a controlled course with pacers, and generated some controversy in the running community. World Record or not, a sub 2-hour marathon was once unimaginable.

Come to think of it, I once had a pacer. It was an AMC Pacer. I barely broke the 4-hour barrier from college to home…

Until the next visit from the Booth…GO Phidippides!

RW