Club pro Michael Block celebrates another great 2023 PGA Championship round with beers at local pub
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — How did PGA club pro Michael Block, the Cinderella Story of the 105th PGA Championship, celebrate another hard day’s work of shooting even-par 70 at Oak Hill? He hit the town still dressed in his golf gear and had a few pints at the Pittsford Pub with golf fans. (Hey, he doesn’t tee off until 2 p.m. ET today.)
Block, 46, who teaches at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, enters the final round tied for eighth and paired with Rory McIlroy, a day after playing with former U.S. Open champ and world No. 1 Justin Rose.
“I didn’t look at Rosey’s face for the first three holes because I’m a big fan of Rosey and I’ve watched him my whole life, and I knew it could get a little too intimidating, the fact that, holy crap, I’m sitting here playing with Justin Rose, and that might get too big for me, so I literally just kind of looked down, looked at his shoes the first couple holes, and got off to a decent start and went on from there,” Block said after his round.
Michael Block is T8 at the PGA Championship and paired with Rory McIlroy tomorrow.
He’s also at Pittsford Pub tonight near Oak Hill. #ManOfThePeople #TheBlockParty pic.twitter.com/bFoDneJt9I
— John Nucci (@JNucci23) May 21, 2023
Only Rose, with 14, has made more birdies this week than Block’s 13. He’s doing things that a club pro, who makes his living tending to the needs of his membership and rarely has time to play let alone practice, shouldn’t be doing and has practically never done before. Block was ahead of world No. 1 and Masters champ Jon Rahm, defending champ Justin Thomas, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, his buddy from back home in Southern California who gives him odds when they play. Nevertheless, Block has a chance to become the first PGA club pro to finish in the top 10 at the PGA Championship, and a whole lot more.
“I can compete against these guys, to be honest,” said Block, a 10-time Southern California PGA Player of the Year. “I can compete against them. I can hang. I can post a 3- or 4-under (Sunday).”
Asked how he can stay grounded when he’s become an overnight sensation in the golf world, he said, “Have you met my wife? She will keep you down to earth more than anyone in the world. She’s an Argentinian-Italian fireball that will tell me everything you don’t want to hear, but yeah, she’ll keep me down to earth like you have no idea. It’s pretty easy for me. I grew up in St. Louis, I grew up in Iowa, kind of combination, Midwest roots. My parents would never let me get outside my box, right.
“I’m just having fun. Everyone is so cool and the people are great. We go out to dinner, everyone is so awesome, and the fans have been amazing, you guys have been great, and I’m just having a good time.”
Michael Block will be paired with Rory McIlroy in the final round of the PGA Championship tomorrow.
His reaction to finding out will make you smile 😊 pic.twitter.com/hjs6G8Nopj
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 21, 2023
It’s one thing to stay grounded and another to embrace the media attention that’s been showered upon him and engage in ‘walk-and-talk’ interviews with the likes of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and CBS’s Jim Nantz, but Block is a charismatic fellow. Asked to explain how he’s handled it all with such aplomb, he said, “It’s built-in club professional. You deal with 600 different personalities, right? You’ve got a lawyer telling you how to grow grass and you’ve got an accountant telling you that the burger wasn’t cooked right. So you’ve got to deal with it and you know how to deal with everybody under the sun.
“That’s a natural thing for me. I don’t have to try to do that. I’m just being — like I said, I’m just being myself. That’s my big goal. My wife used to give me so much crap because for the first 100 interviews of my life back in the day, not with you guys but much smaller interviews, I was very, yes, yes, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, kind of what I hear honestly with a lot of the guys here when I see them doing this. It’s just like, dude…I just became way more natural. My wife really kind of told me to do that, and it’s worked out beautifully, so she was right.”
Turns out I played with Michael Block at the 2018 PGA at Bellerive.
Also turns out he didn’t have the same reaction back then as he did yesterday after finding out he’s playing with Rory.
— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) May 21, 2023
And Block also spouted off with some deep thoughts that transcend golf. He’s a modern-day philosopher, too, a Ferris Bueller in spikes.
“I’ve learned at this point to enjoy the moment, to sit back and relax and enjoy it because it goes by fast, and life goes by fast,” he said. “Before you know it, you’re 60 years old and retired and look back at the videos on this and remember that was the best week of my life, and more than likely this is probably going to be the best week of my life. So I’m going to sit back as much as I can with my friends and family at the house we rented and watch the videos tonight and see all my new followers on Instagram. It’s been crazy, it’s been awesome.”
And there’s still one more day of the Block Party to go.
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