Michael Block wasn’t supposed to be in Rochester, New York, on Sunday. The 46-year-old pro from Mission Viejo, Calif., had booked a flight home Saturday morning at 10 a.m., but the surprise PGA Championship superstar ruined those plans with back-to-back rounds of 70 to make the cuts before he tackles a third straight par 70 a day. Saturday.
Block will play on Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club which is tied for eighth with a shot in history. He is paired with Rory McIlroy. Both are chasing Brooks Koepka, who is a -6-year-old two stroke ahead of Corey Conners and Victor Hovland.
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The magic of the PGA Championship is the addition of club professionals to the event. Block qualified five times. He walked away from the 2023 edition with the goal of making the cut and being the club’s low pro. The bar has definitely been raised.
“I love Rosie, but I can compete against those guys, to be honest,” Block said, referring to his Saturday playing partner, Justin Rose. “I can compete with them. I can comment. I can post 3 [under] Or 4 less than tomorrow, especially if things start to roll over again.”
Bob Boyd in 1990 was the last professional to finish in the top ten after 54 holes. The best PGA Championship finish ever by a professional was a tie for 11th by Lonnie Nelson in 1986 and Tommy Aycock in 1974. If Block can finish fourth, he’ll earn an invitation to the 2024 Masters.
The PGA of America raised the prize money for this year’s golf event to $17.5 million, up from $15 million in 2022. The winner will receive $3.15 million, and the eighth place will receive $535,000.
Block is heading towards the best working day. He’s played 24 PGA Tour events since 2007 and made four cuts, most recently in 2015. His best-ever finish in any event was a tie for 69th at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship and the season’s high prize money came in 2014-15, Totaling $14,960.
Block’s biggest payday came off the tour, which he explained after the third round. “[Most I’ve made is] $75,000, 2014 Pro National Club Championship at The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach,” Block said. “There was the 2001 California State Open for $4,500 for a long time, and when I got $75,000 in one tournament, I was so happy.”
He qualified for the PGA Championship with a runner-up finish last month at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship.
Block impressed the fans, the media and other players with his good mood all week. “I’m living the dream,” Block told Jim Nantz during Saturday’s “Walk and Talk” on the 14th hole. Talking to the “Hello, friends” announcer didn’t cut his play. Bird the hole and the next.
Block said he charges $150 for a one-hour lesson at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club. Block gave little reason why he chose the professional club route over the PGA Tour mill when his children were younger. “I don’t want to be forced into mortgage payments,” Block said.
He has stopped giving lessons in recent years as he has taken more prize money in non-PGA Tour events. He is the American PGA Professional Player of the Year.
Block is enjoying the ride this week in Rochester. “I doubt anyone on this entire estate loves golf as much as I do,” Block said. “I’ve learned at this point to enjoy the moment, to sit back, relax and enjoy it because it goes by fast, and life goes by fast.”
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