PGA Championship: After 'magical carpet ride' at Oak Hill, Michael Block ready to run it back at Valhalla

After a life-changing run at Oak Hill last summer, the Block Party is back and ready for another run.

Michael Block — the 47-year-old teaching pro who finished T15 at last year’s PGA Championship and hit a wild hole-in-one in his final round — is gearing up for this year’s major at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

"That was a magical carpet ride for sure," Block said Tuesday, reflecting on his 2023 outing. "I literally felt like that the entire week, to tell you the truth. It was just almost kind of a blur, surreal moment, exactly what you sitting at home would think it's like."

Block quickly became the fan favorite at last year's tournament at Oak Hill. He became the first PGA club pro to sit inside the top 10 on the leaderboard after 54 holes in decades after he made the cut for the first time at a major, and he hit an ace in his final round alongside playing partner Rory McIlroy. Block posted a final-round 71, and finished T15.

His finish earned him more than $288,000 — which was nearly four times more than he's ever earned completing anywhere in his career. That's an incredible payday for someone who used to charge $150 for an hour lesson.

"I couldn't believe that my game held up for four straight days at Oak Hill," Block said. "That golf course is so hard. Just a spectacular course … Sunday, I couldn't believe that the 47-year-old club pro's swing and putting stroke somehow held up during that time."

Block: ‘I got sick of myself, I was so out there’

Now a year removed, Block’s life is totally different.

He revealed this week that he hasn’t been able to give a single golf lesson since his finish in New York. He’s largely had to step away from the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Southern California where he had worked for years. His office door there is almost permanently closed, which he said is a real "bummer."

All of the attention he's received since — Block even received a text from NBA icon Michael Jordan in the wake of his finish — really started to get to him.

"Yeah, I got sick of myself, I was so out there," Block told this week. "I literally was sick of myself and seeing posts about me that I can only imagine people that weren't me how much they hated — like, I was so over it."

Block will tee off alongside Luke Donald and Shaun Micheel in the first two rounds of the PGA Championship this week. While his outing last May was impressive, Block has largely struggled on the course since then.

He's missed the cut at both PGA Tour events he's played in this year, and the PGA Championship last year was the only event in six starts that he made the cut in. He fell just short of qualifying for last year's U.S. Open, too.

His run, he admitted, is likely nearing its end. He's not upset about that, either.

"I have no doubt that this will all simmer down," Block told "Unless I do something stupid again here in the next couple years … I do realize, though, if nothing else big happens in golf, I'll be back to normal. I'll be back on the range giving lessons, I'll be running a golf course and with my family a lot more than I had been. So it's not a bad thing."

But for now, Block isn’t thinking too much about the future. He knows that, if he’s going to pull off a repeat of last year, he has to just enjoy himself this week.

"Right now I'm just dialing in, trying to get all 14 clubs so I go out there and there's no stress, and then it comes down to golf," Block said. "You play as good as you can and try not to get frustrated when you hit a bad shot because there's going to be a bad shot, and just have a good time. That's how I play at my best."

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