PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — In May, Michael Block became a household name thanks to Oak Hill Country Club. The PGA teaching professional from California sunk a hole-in-one at the 2023 PGA Championship on the 15th hole to cap off a magical week in which he finished tied for 15th place.
This weekend, he made his return to Pittsford for the first time since the event.
Block was the special VIP guest at the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation’s Emerald Ball. The ball, which was held for the 24th time, has raised over $7,500,000 to support the foundation.
Block couldn’t say enough nice things about the Flower City when he played here in May and that continued this weekend.
“I think I need a realtor,” said Block. “I love Rochester so much, a nice summer home would be so nice. The people here are amazing. The second I get back it’s so good. Everyone here at Oak Hill treats me like family.”
Block played the course on Saturday before the event, alongside his caddy John Jackson, Oak Hill Head Pro Jason Ballard, and a few fortunate players who won an auction to be in the expanded group. The money went to the Pluta Cancer Center.
It was an overcast and rainy day at Oak Hill, playing “so hard” according to Block as the ball went nowhere with the wet fairways.
“If the course had been playing like it was today in the PGA Championship, you wouldn’t know who I was,” said Block.
Another drastic difference was his result on the par-three 15th. On Sunday of the event, Block famously slam-dunked a seven iron for the only hole-in-one of the tournament. On Saturday, he pulled his approach shot into the bunker and made a bogey. It was the first time he missed the green on 15, including his practice rounds.
“I deserve a bogey right now on that hole,” said Block. “I was three-under in the PGA Championship on that hole, but 15 got me today.”
Rochester has a rich and lengthy golf history and Block is thrilled that his story is a small chapter in that book.
“Oak Hill is such a world-class golf club,” said Block. “For them to put the pins out there in the same locations that they were on Sunday at the PGA Championship means so much to me as such a golf-lover that I am as a PGA Professional. “
“It’s still a dream,” he added. “These are still dreams. Playing in tour events, playing in majors, and finishing 15th, those are all dreams. But it’s also a dream of mine to come here and have everyone be such a big support system to me. It’s very, very special for someone who loves golf as much as I do.”
Block was able to take a tour of the Pluta Cancer Center before his round on Saturday.
“It was a pretty heavy thing,” said Block. “The center and the people that work there, the doctors, the volunteers, they make it feel like home.”
“I’ve never had cancer and I don’t have too many people close to me who have. I think the biggest part of it is to be ahead of it,” said Block of his support of the event. “It’s not something where you need to know somebody to go help. A lot of people start helping once they know somebody. I want to start helping before I know somebody that has it. It’s going to hit everyone. It’s going to hit me, it’s going to hit my friends, and my family, and I want to be there before that happens.”
Block also made another special visit while in town — to the Pittsford Pub. He made a few famous trips to the watering hole during the week of the event, but not on Sunday night after the final round as his team told him that the bar closed at 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, he made his return and was allowed to get behind the bar and serve a few drinks.
“It was fun,” Block said with a smile.