Fan favorite Michael Block explains confidence heading into PGA Championship: 'I shot the course record'


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The 2000 PGA Championship saw José María Olazábal set the course record at Valhalla Golf Club with a 9-under 63 in his third round. 

Heading into the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla, every golfer would love to hit that mark. In fact, one of them actually did in August, and it’s not who you might expect. 

Michael Block, the club pro from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, captivated the world of golf when he finished tied for 15th at the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Golf Club this time last year. 

He not only made the cut, he hit a hole-in-one with Rory McIlroy as his partner in the final round Sunday and had a terrific up-and-down on the 18th hole to earn his spot in this year’s major. 

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Michael Block smiles and thanks fans on the 18th green during the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club May 21, 2023, in Rochester, N.Y. (Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images)

After missing the cut in subsequent tournaments — the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Canadian Open — following the 2023 PGA, Block went to Valhalla, where he played with the owner of the club. 

He shot 63 in his first round. 

“I shot 63 the first day and 71 the second day with the owner,” Block recalled to Fox News Digital following a round at Shell Bay Golf Club in Florida with Raising Cane’s owner Todd Graves and the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Ramsey. 

“Obviously, different conditions than a major, but still very similar. I love it. I love the golf course. I love everything about it. I love the people of Louisville. So, it can definitely be another party for sure.

“It’s just all up to me.”

MICHAEL BLOCK’S INSPIRING PGA CHAMPIONSHIP LED MICHAEL JORDAN TO REACH OUT

Last year, Block admitted the expectations were reasonable considering he qualified for the tournament as a local club pro and was enjoying the opportunity to compete with the best in the world at Oak Hill. 

After showing that he can play with the best, Block’s life changed forever. He became a golf hero, someone fans could rally around as he had the time of his life. 

“The fact that I’m playing golf and this happened to me and my family is pretty amazing,” Block said, adding he “never met any of those haters” following his performance at Oak Hill. 

Michael Block with Todd Graves, Jalen Ramsey and Tua Tagovailoa

Michael Block stands with Todd Graves, Jalen Ramsey and Tua Tagovailoa. (Raising Cane’s)

Block’s popularity skyrocketed to the point he is sponsored by Raising Cane’s, the American fast casual chain that specializes in chicken fingers. He said it’s the “most-talked about logo” on his polo shirt since they partnered. 

While Block loves that his life has changed for the better, it means there will be expectations when he stands on the first tee Thursday to begin the PGA Championship. And he knows it. 

“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I have more pressure on myself than ever in my life,” Block, who turns 48 next month, explained. “The amount of pressure I had last year going to Oak Hill was nothing. Literally nada. It was like, ‘Oh, it’s the club pro, and he’s going to finish tied for last.’ That’s what everyone expects, so no pressure.

MICHAEL BLOCK SINKS HOLE-IN-ONE AS DREAM PGA CHAMPIONSHIP CONTINUES

“Obviously, I’ve got the eyes of the golf world on me. So, yeah, I do have a ton of pressure. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t trade that. I love that. If you’re sitting there and asking, ‘Would you rather have it or not?’ I’d rather have it, so I’m cool with it.”

Block knows everyday golf fans will be expecting another miraculous four days from him, but he has personal friends and family traveling from far and wide to watch him in person. 

“I’ve had literally a class reunion for my high school showing up. I’ve got friends from across the world showing up. I’ve got my mother-in-law watching from Argentina. She flew in to watch me and has never seen me play golf one day in her life,” he said. 

Again, Block goes back to knowing Valhalla and understanding that he’s had success here, even if the course wasn’t as difficult as it will be for this major. He has a process for working through the pressure, just like any other golfer on tour. 

Michael Block smiles at Raising Cane's

Michael Block speaks during an interview at Raising Cane’s May 8, 2024, in Miami, Fla. (John Parra/Getty Images for Raising Cane’s)

“For me personally, it’s a process of not icing myself,” he explained. “When I say ice myself, it’s like a kicker in the NFL. I’m not going to stand over it and overanalyze or overthink. I’m going to stand over, look at my target, look down and pull the trigger and done.”

And let’s not forget, Block is no stranger to major championships. And it’s not just because of 2023. This will be Block’s sixth PGA Championship, having qualified for it in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2022 and 2023. He’s also played in two U.S. Opens (2007 and 2018). However, he only made a cut once, which came last year at Oak Hill. 

So, the goal for Block is simple after he consulted with his wife. 

“‘What’s the new goal, what’s the new goal?’ She goes, ‘Just make the cut,'” he said, laughing. “It really goes back to what the original thing was: Make the cut being the club pro, and it is what it is.”

Block would love to make the cut at Valhalla, and who knows what would happen from there? Block said he would love to be paired with Tiger Woods and have a similar experience young Neal Shipley did in the final round of The Masters last month. 

“For me to make the cut and play with Tiger on Saturday or Sunday would be — I could literally drop the mic and walk off the golf course and not have to play golf again, and I’d be cool. It’d be that special for me,” he said.

A year later, the world is vastly different for Block. Instead of being just another club pro who qualified for the PGA Championship, he’ll be cheered on from the start by fans who will recognize him in Louisville this week. 

Michael Block swings golf club

Michael Block plays a shot on the 12th hole during a practice round prior to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club May 13, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

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If he can hit fairways and not “have my 6-iron pull left” after doing so, another “Block Party” might be set up at Valhalla this weekend. 

A 63 on the scorecard again would be pretty cool, too. 

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