Here’s what’s at stake for PGA Championship cult hero Michael Block Sunday
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Michael Block didn’t even have to think about the answer to his first question Saturday.
“$75,000, 2014, Club Professional National Championship at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach,” he said, without any hesitation. He knew it was coming at some point.
That question was of course what was the biggest check he had ever made in a golf tournament before this week.
“It was the 2001 California State Open for $4500 for a long, long time,” he said, smiling. “So when I got 75K in one tournament, I was very happy.”
Obviously, Block has a chance to better that this week. Even in catastrophe, a 37th-place finish Sunday afternoon at the PGA Championship would still match his career-best winnings. Going into the final round in a tie for 8th, he stands to earn a lot more.
If he holds his position in a two-way tie for 8th, he’ll take home a check north of half a million dollars. Just a top-10 would get him $465,000, but it’s when he starts to move toward the top-five that things become a little more interesting for the head pro at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club.
While simply a tie for 15th will get him back into the PGA Championship at Valhalla next year, a tie for fourth or better gets him into another major, the Masters at Augusta National.
One spot higher, a two-way tie for third or better would net him enough non-member FedEx Cup points (180) to earn Special Temporary Membership to the PGA Tour. That would give him the opportunity to take unlimited sponsors exemptions for the rest of the season, exemptions he is likely to be offered after the cult following he’s acquired this week.
But if he just manages a top-10, he’ll still be guaranteed another start on the PGA Tour at the RBC Canadian Open in three weeks. The exemption would typically carry over to next week, but since the next two PGA Tour events are invitationals (Charles Schwab and the Memorial), he can head to Canada.
However, the 46-year-old is trying to — pun definitely intended — block out all of those thoughts.
As a reporter told him what he stood to make this week, he plugged his ears.
“I don’t listen to what I did on 5 yesterday, I don’t listen about what I might make or could make or anything like that,” Block said. “I pretty much am putting my head down.”