The 2 inspirational words the PGA Championship’s cult hero writes on his golf ball

Michael Block waves the gallery on Saturday

Michael Block waves to the crowd after finishing his third round on Saturday at Oak Hill.

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If you’ve watched a few minutes of the PGA Championship this week, you’ve likely heard of Michael Block. The club pro has inexplicably contended all week and picked up thousands of fans in the process.

Block’s story is unique because the PGA Championship has a unique format: Every year, it allows 20 club professionals who have to go through qualifying to enter the event. Usually it’s big news if one makes the cut. Most of these guys spend their days teaching amateurs or logging hours at their local clubs, not playing for millions on professional tours. Block is a 46-year-old club pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif.

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Yet no one’s told him he’s not supposed to be here. He’s turned into a cult hero, and not only for his three-straight rounds of 70 that has him at even par after three days, tied for eighth place and six shots off the lead. But also because of his cool-as-ice demeanor, down-to-earth everyman persona and pair of must-watch live in-round interviews.

Plus, can you imagine a PGA professional winning this golf tournament? It’s unlikely Block will, but just typing this is something we didn’t think we’d have to do a few days ago.

michael block's golf ball
Michael Block’s golf ball. Golf Channel

If there’s one thing Block is, it’s confident. This week we found out he scribbles the words “Why not?” on his golf ball. He explained why.

“A long time ago, I questioned myself over every shot like most people do, and I came up with one day I was going to win it. I was coming close to winning a tournament. Why not win? Why not just clip this, spin it to the right three feet, and make the putt? I go, ‘Why not?’ I started saying that, and so to do it, they started stamping my golf balls.

“So I was over a putt in 2007 at Bear Creek in Murrieta, Calif. I had a 22-footer in a playoff to get into the U.S. Open at Oakmont,” he continued. “I was behind the putt, and my caddie whispers over my ear and says, ‘If you make this, we’re in the Open.’ I out loud, over the ball, 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 [major] I ever played in.”

He’s six back of Brooks Koepka to begin Sunday. Koepka has four majors. Block spends his time giving golf lessons for about $150 an hour. But does he believe in himself?

“They’d have to come back a little bit, but can I shoot three or four under?” he said. “One-hundred percent. Absolutely.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at