Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Block: ‘Magic carpet ride’ since Oak Hill finish

By admin May18,2024

  • Paolo Uggetti, ESPNMay 14, 2024, 12:33 PM ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For a moment Tuesday, Michael Block did not have something he has had in abundance over the last year after shocking the golf world and finishing in a tie for 15th at last year’s PGA Championship: an audience.

Due to thunderstorms in the area that shut down the golf course, Block’s scheduled press conference had to be altered. A single pool reporter asked the PGA teaching pro from Orange County a few questions about how his surprising 1-over finish at Oak Hill in 2023 — which included a final round ace playing alongside Rory McIlroy — has changed Block’s life.

“That was a magical carpet ride for sure,” said Block, who earned $288,000 in prize money that week. “I literally felt like that the entire week, to tell you the truth. It was just almost kind of a blur, surreal moment.”

Since last May, Block has turned into a media darling, hoovering up appearances and sponsorships. It’s resulted in at least one major shift to his everyday work life: since leaving his home golf club of Arroyo Trabuco for Oak Hill in 2023, Block has not taught a single lesson.

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“I’ve been so busy and on the road and playing and all types of things, so I had to give off all my students to fellow instructors, which was a bummer,” Block said. “My door has to stay shut in my office, which is a bummer. Usually it’s open and I can say hi to the assistants and everyone that’s walking through, but it’s been such an onslaught of people and things like that, I can’t keep my door open.”

Despite the ways in which his life has changed, Block remains adamant that he wouldn’t “trade any part of it.”

“I’ve loved every moment of it,” he said. “The people I’ve met, the places I’ve been able to go, the tournaments I’ve been able to play in. Hopefully it inspires a lot more people to do the same.”

Though Block will forever be linked to his Oak Hill performance, he is hoping that Valhalla will offer a continuation of his success, not just off the golf course but on it as well. The 2024 PGA will be Block’s eighth major championship appearance, which includes the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla. Block, like he did at all his other major appearances before last year, missed the cut in 2014, and the golf course has only gotten harder since.

“2014 was great, and the course has I think gained a couple hundred yards,” Block said. “But the rough is getting a little wet this afternoon … It will be a good time. Just keep it in the short grass for sure.”

Block said what surprised him most about his performance last year was that his game, at 47 years old, was able to hold up at a challenging track like Oak Hill all four days. Just a month from turning 48, he’s hoping this week at Valhalla he can find more of that magic.

“You play as good as you can and try not to get frustrated when you hit a bad shot because there is going to be a bad shot,” Block said. “And just have a good time. That’s how I play at my best.”

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