Whoever wins the 2023 PGA Championship, Michael Block (Titleist V1) will be the people’s champ.
The 46-year-old club pro from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California continues to be the story unfolding on the East Course of Oak Hill Course in Rochester.
Persistent heavy rain has plagued the tournament, but it hasn’t affected Block, who has grabbed the hearts and minds of the people lining the galleries.
He entered the tournament as one of 20 club pros, but he was the only one to survive the cut after shooting two rounds of even par.
He continued his Cinderella story on Saturday with another round of even par.
He has played sublimely so far. Even if he shoots a few strokes over par on Sunday, he will go home with a solid payday.
He is the embodiment of every club pro who dreamed of playing in a major and has accounted himself well.
It’s being called a Block Party.
On his ball, Block has the words “Why Not?”
He was miked up for the broadcast during Friday’s second round as part of a new idea of talking to a player live via a wireless earbud. It has provided some great insight.
He was asked by a member of the media after his opening round what it felt like to be six shots ahead of world number one John Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X).
“Hmm, crazy, pretty cool to say the least,” he said. “I don’t know who I beat, who I didn’t beat, I just wanted to go out there and do my best and put my head down and play as well as I can for the next few days.”
During the third round he was miked up again and he talked to CBS about his experience so far, which he described as amazing.
“I’m living a dream,” he said. “My life, it feels like it’s changed a little bit honestly, to tell you the truth. I’m still kind of like on cloud nine and I’m just having a good time.”
When asked about the conditions, he said, “It’s been brutal. The rough is like something I’ve never seen. When it got wet it became instantly hard. The course is drying out beautifully. What they’ve done here, the drainage is amazing and the greens are perfect.”
When asked about the reaction he has received from the gallery, he said: “This crowd is just awesome. It’s so much fun.”
He will be paired with Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5X), who is one-under, on Sunday when the weather is expected to be sunny and warm.
The top-15 in the tournament qualify for next year’s PGA Championship and the top four earn a starting spot in the Masters.
You have to think Block will play well enough to earn a repeat invitation to the tournament. As for Masters, who knows? Why not?
QUOTES OF THE DAY: “I like when it is difficult. Today was super difficult.” Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z-Star Diamond) talking to CBS’ Amanda Renner what the conditions were like in the third round.
“Two brilliant drives and after a reception on the opening tee that was not so warm and fuzzy.” CBS announcer Jim Nantz talking about the drives on the 18th hole by Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B X), who were booed by the crowd before each of them were announced by the starter.