One Year On: Remembering how Club Pro Michael Block took the 2023 USPGA by storm

Playing alongside Rory McIlroy, Block had a famous hole-in-one on the 15th, and a miraculous up-and-down on hole 18 to secure the final qualifying spot for this year’s USPGA

By KT Golf

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Michael Block was one of the great sport's stories of the year 2023. - Supplied photo
Michael Block was one of the great sport's stories of the year 2023. - Supplied photo

Published: Tue 14 May 2024, 3:22 PM

It is a year since one of the great golf, in fact sports stories of the century, happened at the 2023 USPGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club, New York.

Michael Block, the then 46-year-old PGA Club Professional from South California, shot rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 71, to finish one over par 285, tied 15th and won a cheque for $288,000.

Each year, the leading 20 PGA Professionals from the annual PGA Professional Championship qualify for the second Major of the year. This year the PGA Professional Championship was held in early May at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco, Texas.

That is how Block qualified for the 2023 US PGA Championship.

In the final round playing alongside Rory McIlroy, Block had that famous hole-in-one on hole 15 with a seven iron, and a miraculous up and down on hole 18 to get into this year’s USPGA with the final qualifying spot.

A look at his career shows that he is more than a ‘decent’ golfer. He competed in the 2007 PGA Tour Qualifying School – but did not make the second stage.

Before the 2023 USPGA Championship Block had played in 25 PGA Tour events – making the cut in four of them.

He won the Southern California PGA Player of the Year nine out of 10 years, 2012 – 22, and played in the US Team at the PGA Cup Matches for Club Professionals – the US versus Great Britain & Ireland, in 2015 and 2022 – the US winning the latter.

Life would never be the same for Block following last year’s performance.

He immediately received invites for tournaments, both on the PGA Tour and internationally.

But Block’s 15 minutes of fame was put into perspective as a possible career change when he was asked about what separated his game from that of Rory McIlroy.

“Oh my God, 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. My iron game, wedge game, around the greens and my putting is world-class,” said Block.

It gives hope and encouragement to all players especially the 20 PGA Professionals qualifying, plus Block for this year.

It is always possible, just ask Michael Block!


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