Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Club pro Block authors feel-good PGA Championship story

ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) – Michael Block’s Cinderella run at the PGA Championship did not end in victory but the club professional left a lasting impression at Oak Hill, highlighted by a hole-in-one on Sunday that will stand as the signature moment of the tournament.

Block was one of 20 teaching professionals in the starting field but the 46-year-old American played like he belonged with the elite and was a fan favourite throughout the week.

After he earned a top-15 finish to qualify for next year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla, Block could barely believe what was happening.

“I’m living a dream. I’m making sure that I enjoy this moment,” an emotional Block said after finishing one-over for the tournament on a week when only 11 players broke par.

“I’ve learned that after my 46 years of life that it’s not going to get better than this, there’s no way. No chance in hell. So I’m going to enjoy this.”

Down-to-earth and personable, Block teaches golf at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo and played this week with his personal mantra, “WHY NOT?” imprinted on his golf balls.

Adoring galleries latched on to Block all week at Oak Hill and tried to will him to the most unlikeliest of victories, much like John Daly’s stunning triumph at the tournament in 1991.

“I’m like the new John Daly, but I don’t have a mullet, and I’m not quite as big as him yet,” said Block.

“I’m just a club professional, right? I work. I have fun. I have a couple boys that I love to play golf with. I have a great wife. I have great friends. I live the normal life.”


There was nothing normal about Block’s final round, with his tee shot at the par-three 15th soaring through the air and slamming into the hole without even touching the green.

The hole-in-one produced the loudest roar of the week at Oak Hill and Block was presented with the flag from the green during his press conference.

“I blew the hole out. Rory (McIlroy) was like, we need to recut that thing. I walked up there, and half the hole, the hole back was just blown out,” said Block. “I still just feel like I’m on a cloud nine right now.”

For Block, who missed the cut in his six previous major starts, the hole-in-one was simply one of many ‘pinch me’ moments of a memorable week.

Paired with England’s Justin Rose for the third round, Block said he was so nervous playing with the former U.S. Open winner that he could not even make eye contact with him for the first few holes.

Upon learning he would be playing the final round with four-time major champion McIlroy, Block simply turned away from the camera in disbelief.

Needing to make par on his final hole to secure a spot in the field at Valhalla next year, Block missed the green with his approach but scrambled for a remarkable up and down from nearly 100 feet.

Block said he has also been given the last sponsor’s exemption to play at next week’s PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

But before he makes his way there he has one stop to make, and it is the same place where he started his week.

“So I was at the Pittsburgh Pub on Sunday night. Not one single person knew me,” said Block. “I’m going to go there in about an hour, and it’s going to be on. We’re going to have a crazy good time tonight, and I look forward to it.

“My life’s changed, but my life’s only changed in the better.”


(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford)


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