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PGA Championship 2023: The story behind the inspiring message Michael Block writes on his golf ball


Andrew Redington

Michael Block was born in Reno, Nev., so he knows something about beating long odds. Like finishing T-15 in the PGA Championship to take low club pro honors, making a hole-in-one and capping his week with a hellacious up-and-down at the last to cement folk hero status.

It also perhaps explains why Block has long had “Why Not?” on his golf ball—something he has done since an exchange with his caddie while sizing up a 22-foot putt to win a playoff to get into the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

As Block relayed during a PGA Professional National Championship a number of years ago, his caddie said, “If you make this putt, we’re in the Open.” Block recalled audibly saying to himself “Why not?” and made the putt to win the playoff and earn a spot in the field.

Block shot 77-79 that year to badly miss the cut but more than made up for it at Oak Hill by having the best finish by a club pro in the PGA Championship in more than 30 years and had a highlight-reel moment using his TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 7-iron to ace the par-3 15th hole on Sunday, sending the gallery into a frenzy.\

That club might replace his 5-wood as his favorite. Block, the head professional at Arroyo Trabuco G.C. in Mission Viejo, Calif., calls his 18-degree TaylorMade M5 fairway wood “the eagle maker,” telling the company, “The 5-wood comes down like a sand wedge. If you ever see me 230 to 240 out in the fairway, and I’ve got a smile on my face, you know why.”

He had plenty to smile about this past week at Oak Hill, too. Here’s a look at Block’s entire bag.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus, 9 degrees

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus, 15 degrees

5-wood: TaylorMade M5, 18 degrees

Irons (4): TaylorMade Stealth UDI; (5-9): TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC; (PW): TaylorMade Milled Grind 3

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (52, 56 degrees); TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 TW (60 degrees).

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball

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