First Off: Michael Block longs for Rory's driving; Schwab didn't want to be designated
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First Off: Michael Block longs for Rory’s driving; Schwab didn’t want to be designated

A photo of Michael Block May 21, 2023; Rochester, New York, USA; Michael Block acknowledges the fans on the 18th green during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Welcome to First Off, my new daily recap and reaction feature for Golf News Net members. Catch up on everything happening in the golf world each morning in an easy-to-consume format with commentary -- and sometimes insight -- to get your day started.

In today's kick-off edition:

  1. Michael Block dreams about having Rory's length
  2. Schwab declined chance to be designated event
  3. Deal of the Day
  4. Spieth explains how he hurt his wrist
  5. Shout Outs

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Michael Block dreams about having Rory's length

Imagine for a minute that you could hit the ball as far and straight as Rory McIlroy typically does with driver in hand. You can't even fathom being about to play your 6,200-yard weekend game with a 340-yard drive in the bag that would leave you less than a full wedge into practically every hole -- including some of your par 5s.

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Would you still be bad at golf? Yeah, I mean, you still have to hit wedges, chips and putts, but you'd be a lot better as a player.

And that's the lens through which PGA Championship hero Michael Block viewed having McIlroy's driving superpower. Appearing on Bob Menery's "Ripper Magoo" podcast, Block was asked about how good of a golfer he would be were he able to hit it as far as McIlroy.

In short? Block said he would be one of the best golfers in the world, crediting his iron play, wedge game and putting. This seems to have ginned up quite a bit of controversy, as though he's some obtuse dude on Twitter that is like a 12 handicap who thinks he could beat all of the LPGA if he were just a 4 index and playing from their tees (which are actually the same tees he plays). But Mike Block is almost a +5 index. The dude can play. He's also 46 and definitely doesn't have the same pop in the bat as he did even 10 years ago. Is it a stretch to say he'd be one of the best in the world? Yeah, but relatively speaking, no. The guy has played a couple dozen times on the PGA Tour and in seven major championships, so he's done some things. But the difference between Michael Block and, say, Jon Rahm, isn't just the long ball.

Schwab declined chance to be designated event

When the PGA Tour came out with their slate of designated events this year (originally elevated, then designated), there were questions about how the four non-invitational events that got the spots -- Phoenix, Harbour Town, Travelers and Wells Fargo -- got them over other tournaments. Well, turns out, some of the tournaments that were asked simply said they didn't want to do it.

One of those was Colonial and the Charles Schwab Challenge.

According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the tournament was offered a designated spot in exchange for another $12 million from the title sponsor investment firm. Schwab, which has been embroiled in rumors around capital liquidity, declined, as did other title sponsors.

Is that shocking? No, not at all. But it's a clear reminder that not every PGA Tour title sponsor has eight figs lying around in the marketing and sponsorship budget.

Deal of the Day

Our friends at Stitch Golf are having a sitewide 25% off sale through Memorial Day weekend, running May 25-30. They make great golf and travel bags, as well as excellent apparel.

Spieth explains how he hurt his wrist

There was some doubt as to whether Jordan Spieth would even be able to play in the PGA Championship last week. He'd withdrawn from the AT&T Byron Nelson with a wrist injury, saying he was day-to-day and would be a week-of decision to play in the second major of the year.

However, Spieth had yet to explain how he had actually hurt his wrist in the first place. Golf can cause a lot of damage to the body (believe it or not), so it seemed natural he did it on the course. But he did it being a parent.

“I was just playing with my son,” Spieth said ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge. “I wasn't even holding him or anything. I was just pushing myself off the ground while he was laughing and going side to side. Something just popped and jammed, and then all of a sudden, I couldn't move it.”

Welcome to getting old, Jordan. I did to my knee a few years ago, and popping that sucker back into place was the strangest feeling of my life.

The diagnosis is a moderate grade tendon sheath tear, which could get worse, but Spieth is deciding to treat it without going full bore on the pain meds.

“This is one I didn't want to [get an injection] because it can get worse and I need to listen to it,” Spieth said. “So I've done nothing but Advil as far as anything to take for it.”

Shout Outs

A big shout out to the Wake Forest University women's golf team, who won their first-ever national championship at Grayhawk Golf Club yesterday by defeating the University of Southern California in the finals!

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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