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How did Michael Block qualify for the 2023 PGA Championship? Qualification criteria

The fan favorite at the 2023 PGA Championship is one of 20 club pros who teed up on Thursday, but the Man of the People is the one everybody’s talking about

Joseph McMahon
The fan favorite at the 2023 PGA Championship is one of 20 club pros competing this weekend, but the Man of the People is the one everybody’s talking about

Everyone who is watching the 2023 PGA Championship this weekend is talking about one player. Not Brooks Koepka, not Jon Rahm, not Rory McIlroy... The buzz is about Michael Block. Where did this guy come from?

This isn’t Block’s first rodeo. He has played in five PGA Championships, including this one. It’s his seventh major, but it’s his first time making the cut in one of them. In the final round of the PGA Championship he starts his day on Sunday T8 and is paired with Rory McIlroy. He is one of 20 club pros to be invited to the event, but he’s the only one that everyone is talking about.

How did Michael Block make it to the 2023 PGA Championship?

As we’ll read below, there are several ways to qualify for the PGA Championship. Block hasn’t won a PGA Championship or a Masters, US Open or British Open. He isn’t a Senior PGA Champion and he hasn’t won one of the last three Playes Championships.

What Michael Block did do to qualify was finish T2 at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship. He just happens to be the reigning PGA America Professional Player of the Year as well. So, as Bill Murray’s character in “Caddyshack” would say: “he’s got that going for him.”

What makes Block so likeable is that he’s competing with the best, but has his feet on the ground and celebrates every shot with the huge gallery that’s following him around. He kind of reminds us of Joel Dahmen from Netflix’s “Full Swing” in that he knows he’s good, but he’s not cocky about it.

A little info about Michael Block

He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and played golf in college at Mississippi State and then at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He works as a club pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California where he’s the head golf pro.

He has played in several PGA Tour events over the years, 25 to be exact. He has only made the cut four times and his best finish came at the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2014, where he finished T69.

His biggest paycheck was $75,000 at the 2014 Club Professional National Championship at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach. Before that it was $4,500 at the California State Open in 2011.

PGA Championship qualification criteria

To be eligible for the PGA Championship, golfers must meet specific criteria, which may change yearly and allow exceptions in exceptional circumstances.

Winning the tournament in the past five years or any other three major championships during the same period qualifies a golfer for the tournament.

Similarly, securing victory in any of the PGA Tour’s flagship events, such as The Players Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Genesis Invitational, within the past year is also valid. A golfer can also earn a spot by winning any PGA Tour event between the previous year’s PGA Championship and the current year’s event.

Alternatively, finishing in the top 70 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings from the previous season, finishing in the top 20 in the last year’s PGA Championship, finishing in the top 30 of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals (for players who didn’t qualify for the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs), allowing for the previous year’s season-ending Tour Championship, or being selected by the PGA of America as a special exemption also qualifies a golfer.

Club professionals can secure a spot in the PGA Championship by finishing in the top 70 of the PGA Professional Championship or by being selected by the PGA of America as a special exemption. It’s important to note that these qualification criteria are subject to change each year, and exceptions can be made for exceptional circumstances.