Category - Major Events
Surveying Valhalla for 2024 PGA, Michael Block's Magical Run Continues With Course Record
By Ryan Adams, PGA
When Michael Block came to the final green at Valhalla Golf Club on Aug. 17 after a wonderful pitch to 8 feet, he knew he was close to something.
When the putt dropped for birdie, that "something" turned out to be the course record.
In a trip to scout the course for next year's PGA Championship, Block added six more birdies and an eagle to the one on 18 for a 63 — tying Jose Maria Olazbal's number from the 2000 PGA Championship.
It was just another chapter in what's been a truly magical year for the PGA Head Professional from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, and he's soaking it in with true appreciation, wise advice from a new comrade in DJ Khaled.
"As he likes to say all the time, I've been blessed," Block said after the round at Valhalla. "Magical is probably the No. 1 word to describe this year. There's no real better word I can think of to explain what's happened."
In the scouting trip to Valhalla, Block played with John Jackson, his caddy who looped all four rounds at Oak Hill, Valhalla co-owner Jimmy Kirchdorfer, and his son Jay. A group of his buddies were behind him, and it was the first time he's played golf with Jackson, making the round extra special.
While it wasn't Block's first rodeo at Valhalla — he played in the 2014 PGA Championship — the course still packed a punch.
"There's, I think, six new tee boxes that've been added on certain holes, so it's playing longer," says Block. "The rough isn't as high as 2014, but I think I had 4-iron into seven holes, and then a 5-wood into a par 3."
But on No. 7, Block took driver, then hit a 5 wood to 50 feet and banged in the long putt for eagle. Two holes later, another birdie. And another on No. 10. Then three more for the 63.
Not a bad Thursday.
In regards to holes that stuck out to him during the round, Block pinpointed No. 13, the par-5 that has a completely new island green complex.
"When they were digging up around the green and through the brush, they accidentally found this limestone rock outcropping with waterfalls on 13," says Block. "Wait until you see it — it's very dramatic. Unbelievable, actually. All in all, there's a whole bunch of great holes though, and it'll be a great spot for a PGA."