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Michael Block is back at the PGA Championship; here’s what to know about the darling of Oak Hill

Brooks Koepka won the 2023 PGA Championship.

But Michael Block won fans’ hearts.

Block captivated those watching on television. He became an adopted son of Rochester, New York, where last year’s PGA Championship was contested at Oak Hill Country Club. And during his final round, he hit one of the tournament’s most memorable shots in recent memory: a hole-in-one at the 15th hole, playing alongside one of the sport’s biggest stars, Rory McIlroy.

MICHAEL BLOCK!

HOLE-IN-ONE! pic.twitter.com/AGckvo8F7B

— Golf on CBS (@GolfonCBS) May 21, 2023

“I couldn’t believe that my game held up for four straight days at Oak Hill,” Block said Tuesday. “That golf course is so hard. Just a spectacular golf course, especially when we lost the roll (on the fairways) going into Saturday when it rained. … I couldn’t believe that the 47-year-old club pro’s swing and putting stroke somehow held up during that time.”

One year later, Block returns to the PGA Championship, held at Valhalla Golf Club for the first time since 2014.

More: Michael Block’s 2023 PGA Championship performance was a win for all PGA of America golf professionals

“Valhalla is just a spectacular track,” Block said. “I have not heard one negative thing said from any player or caddie this entire week. Only positives. It’s very fair. … I’m excited to get out there and tee it up.”

Here’s what you need to know about Block heading into Thursday’s opening round:

Who is Michael Block again?

Michael Block of the United States, PGA of America Club Professional, is seen on the driving range during the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 21, 2023 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Block is a golf instructor, serving as the head golf professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club‎ in Mission Viejo, California.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIPHow to watch | Tournament hub

What is Michael Block known for?

Michael Block reacts after being awarded the low PGA Championship Club Professional Bowl at Oak Hill Country Club. (Photo: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports)

Block finished in a tie for 15th at the 2023 PGA Championship. It was the best showing by a PGA professional (those who teach the game) since Lonnie Nielsen tied for 11th at Inverness in 1986 — and the third-best all time.

Has Michael Block ever won on the PGA Tour?

No, Block has never won a PGA Tour tournament. Block has appeared in 30 PGA Tour events, making five cuts. His best finish was the T15 at the PGA Championship — the only cut he made in six tries during the 2022-23 season.

But he’s no stranger to success elsewhere, as he’s won the Southern California PGA Championship four times.

Has Michael Block competed in more than one PGA Championship?

Yes, this year will mark his sixth appearance in the PGA Championship. Prior to last year, he never had made the weekend at the PGA.

Coincidentally, the first time he played in the PGA was the 2014 edition … also at Valhalla.

“2014 was great,” Block said, “and the course has, I think, gained a couple hundred yards (since then). … But it’s going to — it will be a good time. Just keep it in the short grass, for sure.”

Has Michael Block played at Valhalla Golf Club prior to this year?

Aside from his 2014 PGA appearance, Block came to the Bluegrass State last year and put on a record-setting performance during a practice round. Block carded a 9-under 63, matching the score shot by José María Olazábal during the 2000 PGA Championship.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at rblack@gannett.com and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.

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