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Club pro Michael Block makes cut at Oak Hill

Club pro Michael Block makes cut at Oak Hill

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Michael Block has imprinted on his TaylorMade golf balls the words, “WHY NOT?”

Could it be that a 46-year-old Southern Cal club pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo shot a pair of even-par 70s in the first two rounds at Oak Hill in the 105th PGA Championship? Why not?

Could a club pro who spends the majority of his time on the lesson tee beat the likes of Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler and even nip Patrick Cantlay, who gives him odds when they play back home, by a stroke so far? Why not?

Could it be that a PGA club pro is in the top 20 at the halfway point of the PGA Championship for just the second time in the last 20 years? Why not?

The genesis of Block’s “Why not” ball stamping goes like this: More than 15 years ago, he said he was the type of player who used to question himself over every shot, the type who’d also get ahead of himself booking hotel rooms in his mind before he made the cut or even qualified for a tournament. But one day he was on the verge of winning a tournament and simply told himself, Why not win?

Here Blockie, his nickname that is on his staff bag, picks up the thread of the story: “Why not just clip this, spin it to the right three feet, and make the putt?” he recalled. “I go, why not? I started saying that, and so to do it, they started stamping my golf balls.”

In 2007, at Bear Creek in Murrieta, California, he had a 22-footer in a playoff to get into the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

“I was behind the putt, and my caddie whispers over my ear and says, ‘If you make this, we’re in the Open.’ Out loud, while I was over the golf ball, I said, ‘Why not?’ Then I proceeded to drain it and made it into the U.S. Open at Oakmont, which is my first event I ever played in.”

Block also played in another U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 2018, and described Oak Hill as what might result if Oakmont and Shinnecock had “a baby.” He made six birdies during Thursday’s opening-round 70 and did a live walk and talk on the 14th hole with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt that he knocked out of the park.

“I’m just your local club pro. That’s what I do. I don’t hit balls. People think I’ve got…


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