Another year, another first for record-breaking head professional Michael Block of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo.
Block became the first player in history from the Southern California PGA Section to repeat as national PGA Professional Player of the Year in 2023, an honor announced this week by the PGA of America.
To culminate a career-best season in which he captivated the golf world with a 15th-place finish and nationally televised hole-in-one at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in May, Block, 47, won the season-long points race in a runaway among 29,000 PGA club professionals around the country, finishing with 1,352 points – more than 400 points ahead of runner-up Greg Koch of the North Florida Section.
“It was an absolute dream year, and then to cap it off with the second PGA Player of the Year was just icing on the cake,” Block told Southern California News Group this week.
Block’s dream year also included finishing second in the PGA Professional Championship in New Mexico; winning a career-high $288,000 paycheck for his 15th-place finish at the PGA to earn an exemption into this year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville; defending his SC PGA Section Championship at Sherwood Country Club on the way to his record 10th SCPGA Player of Year title; and finishing 27th in the Australian Open in November.
He also signed several new endorsement contracts as a result of his new-found fame and got to communicate with high-profile athletes such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.
The Section Championship and POY title earned Block two PGA Tour exemptions this month: The American Express in La Quinta and the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, the 29th and 30th PGA Tour events of his career, extending his streak of qualifying for at least one tour event to 12 consecutive years. The 2024 PGA at Valhalla will be his seventh major championship.
As a direct result of his magical 2023 season, the large banner congratulating Block on being honored as the PGA of America’s national 2022 PGA Professional Player of the Year will remain above the entrance to Arroyo Trabuco’s golf shop at least another year.
“I’m living the dream, and I’m going to ride it as long as I can,” Block said.