Block recently turned pro and competed in his first Canadian Tour event. He played three rounds at Augusta National Golf Club. And, oh yeah, he got married. What’s next for this 41-year-old retired Army sergeant, former Armed Forces champion and cancer survivor? Block was recently interviewed by San Antonio writer Dan Calderon.
I'm sure you’re disappointed that you didn’t make the cut to play on the weekend at the Barton Creek Classic (held in early March in Austin, TX). What did your first Canadian Tour event teach you?
It was probably the worst two rounds of golf that I’ve ever played in my life. I can’t blame the weather, even though it was 36 degrees when I teed off for the first round Thursday morning, because I birdied the first hole. I just didn’t hit any shots, and I didn’t prepare for it like I should have. I practice two or three times a week, and the guys on the Tour practice two or three times a day.
You’re already a scratch golfer. What’s the biggest difference between your game and the game of the guys who play regularly on the Tour?
They live, eat and breathe golf, and that’s really the biggest difference. I work for a living in the golf industry, for the largest independent golf retailer in South Texas - GolfCraft - so I don’t have the time and luxury to practice three times a day. On a par 3, when those guys have a bad shot, it’s on the green, but not on the part of the green they wanted. My misses are off the green and in the wrong spot.
The Golf Channel invited you to sit in the commentator’s booth for the last two rounds. How was that experience?
I really enjoyed it. A lot of customers have come into the store and said I did a good job, and even suggested I should consider trying a career in sports broadcasting. It was a lot of fun.
The Barton Creek Classic was the one exemption you earned from "The Big Break." Do you plan to continue competing as a pro?
I’m going to try it this year for sure. I’ve written the tournament directors of a couple of Canadian Tour events coming up this summer up in Canada, and I’m hoping they will give me a sponsor’s exemption. I’m also planning on competing in the qualifiers for the Valero Texas Open (at the Westin La Cantera in San Antonio) and the Shell Houston Open (at the Redstone Golf Club in Houston).
The Golf Channel has high hopes for the next installment of "The Big Break." Are you going to be part of "The Big Break 2?"
They’ve asked me to come back and I plan on doing it. I may be part of a skills challenge, where the new guys trying out on the show will have to play against me, or I’ll be doing some commentary. Nothing’s been decided yet.
How has your life changed since "The Big Break?"
The biggest change in my life is that I got married. We did it on Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas. I’ve known Lucy for four years. She’s a beautiful woman, and my best friend. I’m very happy.
I’ve also had some opportunities that I never thought I would get. A member of Augusta National Golf Club who was a fan of the show called me up and invited me to play a few rounds with him. That was just incredible. Augusta is beautiful, and it has a lot more elevation that you see on TV. It’s not an easy course to walk, but I had a great time and shot 82, 75 and 76 over three rounds. I played Amen Corner in one over and one under the last two rounds, and I even birdied the par-3 No. 12.
People come into GolfCraft and say they recognize me from the show, and I’m getting recognized outside the shop also. I was at a charity golf tournament that GolfCraft supports, and I was talking a bit about the store, and a lot of the players were calling out “Big Break.” They said they thought I did a good job representing San Antonio and Texas on the show. That’s been very nice. It’s been a great help having an employer who also shares my passion for golf. Ed Royer, the owner of GolfCraft, has built a successful business, is an avid golfer and shares the same passion about the game. This has been very beneficial in helping me reach my goals and being around a lot of good folks here at GolfCraft who support me.