Not only is Michael Block set for a blockbuster tee time with Rory McIlroy in the final round of the PGA Championship, he’s also on the verge of picking up a career-high payday.
The 46-year-old has been one of the stars of the show at Oak Hill Country Club and comes into Sunday as one of just nine players who aren’t over par following three consecutive 70s.
He’s already beaten most of the game’s best players, including World No. 1 Jon Rahm. Can he do the unthinkable and land the Wanamaker Trophy? That might be a stretch with a rampant Brooks Koepka six shots up the road, but he’s ruling nothing out.
“They’d have to come back a little bit, but can I shoot three or four under? One hundred per cent, absolutely, especially if the fairways dry out a little bit. That would be a huge thing for me.” he said.
Should it not happen, however, there is still plenty on offer for the reigning PGA Professional Player of the Year club based out of California. The PGA of America announced a record prize purse would be dished out at its flagship event, up from $15 million last year to $17.5m.
Should Block hold station in a tie for eight, he’ll leave Rochester more than $500,000 richer. Not bad for a club pro who has no plans on upping his hourly $150 fee despite his newfound notoriety.
Asked what his previous highest payday is, he said: “$75,000, 2014, Club Professional National Championship at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach. There was the 2001 California State Open for $4,500 for a long, long time, and when I got $75K in one tournament, I was very happy.”
There’s also the extra nugget of exemptions. He needs to win to qualify for The Open and US Opens, but a top 15 will get Block into the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla, while a top four will earn him a Masters debut next year.
Whatever happens, Block’s only goal is to enjoy the moment this Sunday and soak in what he expects to be the final throes of “the best week of my life.”
“I doubt if anybody on this entire property loves golf as much as I love golf,” Block said late on Saturday. “I’ve learned at this point to enjoy the moment, to sit back and relax and enjoy it because it goes by fast, and life goes by fast.
“Before you know it, you’re 60 years old and retired and look back at the videos on this and remember that was the best week of my life, and more than likely this is probably going to be the best week of my life.”
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