Former UMSL golfer Michael Block enjoying a homecoming in the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive

by | Aug 8, 2018

Block, now a club pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, was a member of the Tritons' golf team in 1996-97.
Michael Block

Former UMSL golfer Michael Block tees off at the 18th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday. Block, the head professional at a golf club in Mission Viejo, California, qualified for the tournament through the PGA Professional Championship in June. Block shot a 5-over 75 during the first round Thursday. (Photo by Steve Walentik)

Former University of Missouri–St. Louis golfer Michael Block will be first off the tee Thursday morning when the 100th PGA Championship officially gets underway, a few miles from where he grew up, at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri.

Michael Block mug shot

Michael Block

Block, now the head professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, is set to play alongside Eddie Pepperell and Ryan Fox beginning at 6:50 a.m.

He’ll be mostly out of view of the bigger crowds that are sure to be following the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth later in the day. But it’s hard to imagine Block complaining.

As Block recently relayed to GolfDigest.com, he’s made it his goal for the past six years to play in this tournament at this course – the same one he attended as a kid in 1992 when Nick Price won and Payne Stewart signed his program.

The magazine explored the trials Block endured to qualify for the tournament and the important role his 13-year-old son, Dylan, played in helping him do so while serving as his caddie during the PGA Professional Championship in June.

Block, who played at UMSL during the 1996-97 season after transferring from Mississippi State, will be making his third appearance in the PGA Championship. He also twice has qualified for the U.S. Open, including earlier this year at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York.

He first qualified for the PGA Championship in 2014, the same year he won the 47th PGA Professional Championship at Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

He spoke to UMSLTritons.com that summer about being in the field and offered some advice for other Division II players looking to have careers in the game of golf.

“Put yourself around positive people, not only in the game but in life in general,” Block said. “Your coach and teammates should be nothing but positive reinforcement for your game and mental attitude. I’ve seen great golfers lose their game when having negative influences and at the same time I’ve seen average golfers turn into one of the best players in the world.

“I wasn’t even the No. 1 guy on my team when I was at UMSL. Dustin Ashby was the team’s top golfer and I learned a lot from him and I still use a putting tip he gave to me almost 20 years ago. I do not care if it is a Division I or Division II school, everything happens for a reason. Just learn from your mistakes and never lose your confidence.”

Share
Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

Eye on UMSL: A day in the life
Eye on UMSL: A day in the life

Students from UMSL’s College of Optometry and College of Nursing participated in a simulation designed to expose them to the complexities of poverty.

Eye on UMSL: A day in the life

Students from UMSL’s College of Optometry and College of Nursing participated in a simulation designed to expose them to the complexities of poverty.

Eye on UMSL: A day in the life

Students from UMSL’s College of Optometry and College of Nursing participated in a simulation designed to expose them to the complexities of poverty.