Category - Major Events
Michael Block Eyeing Low Club Pro Honors at PGA Championship
By Ryan Adams, PGA & Jeff Babineau
“How about that Scott — you see that drive?”
Not a bad way for Michael Block to start a walk down No. 14 at Oak Hill Country Club during the first round of the PGA Championship, after blistering a tee shot and putting in an Airpod to begin chatting with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt.
The two, along with major champion David Duval, hit on all sorts of topics during a stroll down the 14th, with fantastic insight into Block’s goals this week, as well as how he coaches his students back home in Southern California.
“The goal of the day was not to be at an embarrassing number when I’m talking to you guys, so I guess you could say it’s going pretty well,” quipped Block, who finished tied for 20th at even par. “I no longer try to act like a tour pro — I understand who I am, and what I am and I just come play my game.
With eyes on the Low Club Professional honors this week at the 2023 PGA Championship — it’s one thing Block says he still needs to “check off in his life — the PGA Head Professional at California’s Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club shared a highlight reel worth of quotes with Van Pelt and Duval.
Check out the interview below:
And for more on Block's opening round even-par 70 at Oak Hill, here's some notes from writer Jeff Babineau:
Michael Block is highly competitive, and cannot stand to shoot over par, no matter how difficult the test.
So when he stood on Oak Hill’s 11th tee at 3-over late Thursday, having just made double at the 10th, he decided to do something about it. He did, too, climbing his way back to level par with three late birdies.
“I don't like to lose, much less make doubles,” said Block, who is playing in his fifth PGA Championship, and looking to make the cut for the first time. “When I made that double without really hitting a bad shot, I told my caddie, I go, we've got a couple of birdie holes coming up. I was looking forward to it.”
There was another motivating factor for Block. He knew he was slated to do a walk-and-talk on the ESPN telecast at the par-4 14th hole, and he didn’t want his score to be “embarrassing.”
"I didn't want to go into that being three or four over, honestly,” he said. Block birdied the 12th, 13th and 16th holes to take care of that, finishing the day as Low PGA Club Professional. He made a 10-footer at 12, where he played aggressively with a driver off the tee, then saved his best for the par-5 13th. A poor 3-wood second shot left him with a semi-plugged lie in a bunker. He was near the lip, hit a full 9-iron from 128 yards to 10 feet, and ran that birdie in, too.
How good was it? Block said it was probably one of the best bunker shots of his life.
“It was a good day. Yeah, it was awesome,” he said.
When he left the course, he was tied for 20th. Block’s vision for the next three rounds is simple: Be standing there on the 18th green on Sunday alongside the tournament champion as the 105th PGA’s low Club Professional.
I've got the game to do it.
Michael Block, PGA