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The thing about parties – be they birthday, cocktail or Block – is that they always end.

They’re fun whilst they last, of course, but eventually everybody has to go home.

And so to Michael Block. Much like a non-league side travelling to Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup and “giving it a right good go”, the plucky 46-year-old delighted a global golf audience starved of feel-good content with his performance in last week’s PGA Championship.

The shank, the hole-in-one, the tears, the selfies, the self-effacing ‘everyman’ shtick and, when all scores had been recorded, the tied-15th finish that earned him a spot in next year’s championship – the only thing that could have made Block’s performance more of a fairytale was a byline for Hans Christian Andersen.

Amidst the schism and rancour that has subverted all that is good about the game over the last 12 to 18 months, Block’s performance – inside and outside the ropes – was a reminder that there’s more to all this than constant grousing and grandstanding over where the best players play.

As Brooks Koepka was raising the Wanamaker Trophy, there was a palpable sense that “the real winner” was Michael Block.

Then it all began to unravel. Fast.

Suddenly, everybody wanted a bit of ‘Blockie’. Good Morning America, The Today Show, even Piers Morgan – quicker than you can say “milk it”, he was mic’d-up and in front of them all.

No harm in that, right? He did earn it. Trouble is, the only thing worse than no exposure at all is over-exposure. By close of business on Tuesday, the same Twitter that had feted him on Sunday was starting to turn. The fairytale became a nursery rhyme and the ubiqutious Michael Block had transformed into golf’s Solomon Grundy.

Made the cut on Friday
Beat Xander on Saturday
Hole-in-one with Rory on Sunday
Media rounds on Monday
‘Getting a bit much’ on Tuesday

All the while, the tweets were piling up and piling in. “Done with this now.” “Surely his fifteen minutes are almost up.” Etc.

A tin ear was turned. The real-life Tin Cup juggernaut rumbled on.

TaylorMade put him in the front window of their Carlsbad HQ. An adult website offered him $300,000 to be the face (well, presumably the face) of its activity for the next year. Souvenir hunters tabled six-figure bids to own the 7-iron he used for his Oak Hill ace. Michael Jordan sent him a congratulatory message. A management company snapped him up.

We were guilty of it, too. Let’s not pretend otherwise. On The bunkered Podcast earlier this week, my colleague Bryce Ritchie and I called for him to get an invite to the Scottish Open in July.

We all got carried away, so it was probably inevitable that Block would do likewise.

In an already infamous appearance on Bob Menery’s RipperMagoo Podcast, he was asked for the difference between his game and Rory McIlroy’s.

“He’s a lot longer than I am, that’s what it is,” he replied. “What I would shoot from where Rory hits it would be stupid. I think I’d be one of the best players in the world. Hands down, if I had that stupid length, all day.”

He added: “My iron game, wedge game, around the greens and my putting is world class.”

One of the best players in the world.

World class.

Hey, look, there’s nothing wrong with backing yourself and, in isolation, you could excuse what he said as a poorly-articulated mistake – but it’s a pretty big mistake. It’s like me buying a Zwilling Pro Rocking Santoku knife and demanding a Michelin star.

McIlroy is a four-time major champion, who has spent 122 weeks as world No.1 and has won 23 times on the PGA Tour. He’s the reigning FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai champion.

To say that the only real difference between him and you and is how far he hits the ball is an insult to the Irishman.

There is a justifiable argument for not being too harsh on Block. He’s not accustomed to the spotlight and heaven forbid anybody be discouraged from being their true self. Still, inexperience and or ignorance is no justification for a free pass. He said something stupid. It’s okay to call it out. Anything less is just pandering.

More recently, Block shot 81 to be dead last after the opening round this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. Playing on a sponsor’s invite, he finished with three doubles in his last four holes.

Afterwards, he said he was “not disappointed” with his performance, adding: “I’m looking forward to coming out tomorrow and playing a great round, and giving it everything I have. I’ve shot 58, and I’ve shot a 59 in my life, and since what I had today, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did it.”

Wouldn’t be surprised? Shooting a 58 on tour – something that has only been done once before – wouldn’t surprise you? Again, love the confidence, but pump the brakes. One exceptionally good week and suddenly we’re talking about going sub-60 on the tour and being “better off the tee” away from rivalling Rory.

If Michael Block truly believes what he said, who are any of us to disagree? ‘Winner’s mindset’ and all that. It’s just not too hard to imagine Curtis Strange throwing his head back and confidently declaring: “You’ll learn.”

And maybe that’s the whole point. Maybe we all should learn. Learn to enjoy the moment without losing perspective. Learn to stay humble in the face of sudden acclaim. Learn not to get unnecessarily carried away.

Learn to know when the party’s over.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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