PGA cult hero and Charles Schwab Challenge invitee Michael Block has taken over the world of golf — and golf betting

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Michael Block

Michael Block, a 46-year-old golfer who has spent most of his career as a Southern California club pro, has taken over the PGA — and golf betting — in a matter of days.

This time last week, the vast majority of golf enthusiasts — even most of the diehards — wouldn't have been able to pick Michael Block out of a lineup of tan, middle-aged SoCal dudes with polos. Then he started making history. 

Michael Block
(Getty Images)

A Block party 

The head club professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Clubout in Mission Viejo, CA, Block qualified for the PGA Championship — his fifth — after his T2 finish at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship. Entering last weekend, he had never made the cut in a major — in fact, he had only ever made the cut in four of the 24 PGA Tour events he started.

Make that five now. And make that fifth one the biggest made cut of his life: the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

Block was at even par after two days, good enough to place him within the top 20. The 15-year veteran became just the second PGA professional to be within the top 20 after 36 holes at the major over the last 20 years, per the PGA Championship.

Suddenly, Block was generating a ton of betting interest on the major sportsbooks. Live bets started pouring in on Block to win or place, most of which were yielding much better odds than the rest of the household names occupying the top 20. But as we now know, the fun was just beginning.

A dream run

After Block carded four Round 3 birdies — giving him 13 total over three days — Block had finished with his third consecutive 70. He then got word that he would be paired with golf superstar and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy on Sunday. 

McIlroy caught wind of Block's exasperated reaction to being informed they were paired together. The four-time major winner commented on the video simply "Looking forward to it, Michael."

McIlroy finished Round 4 at one under par to finish the tournament -2, good for T7. Block endured some hiccups on the front nine — as was largely the case in his first three rounds — but once again rallied late. And with the help of his 'shot heard round the world,' a hole-in-one dunk on the par-3 15, he managed to upstage a 23-time PGA winner with over $125 million in career earnings

Block closed out Round 4 with a 71 and finished T15 at +1. With the strong finish, he earned $288,333 (not bad for a guy who charges $125 for 45-minute golf lessons). More importantly (at least to him), he earned an automatic invitation to the 2024 PGA Championship.

And this dream was far from over. Block received a text from Michael Jordan. He received a $50,000 offer for his seven-iron, the one he used to knock in that instant-classic ace. Then he received the final invitation to the Charles Schwab Challenge via the tournament's last sponsor exemption. Another Kodak moment in a Cinderella story that every PGA fan has come to love.

MORE BLOCK: Charles Schwab Challenge tee times, TV schedule, more

A story everyone — including sportsbooks and bettors — can get behind

Call him an underground icon, cult hero, Not Your Average Mike — whatever you want — there's no denying that the sport has landed on something great with this guy. At a time when golf fans must come to terms with the downslope of Tiger Woods' career and the LIV Tour continues to polarize the fanbase, Michael Block is an honest-to-goodness solid story. It's like if "Tin Cup" came to life, but with a much more likable and far less smug main character.

The story doesn't just translate to solid journalistic content, of which there has been plenty over the past five days. It has also permeated into the world of sports betting, and in a major way. Our friends at BetMGM told us that as of Wednesday morning, Block was their second-biggest liability at the Schwab, sandwiched between superstars Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth.

As for the prop market, BetMGM lists the following five Schwab Challenge props as the most heavily bet:

  • Michael Block to make the cut (+225)
  • Michael Block to finish top 40 (+333)
  • Michael Block to finish top 20 (+800)
  • Michael Block to score an eagle in Round 1 (+2000)
  • Michael Block to shoot 71 or lower in Round 1 (+110)

Full stop — that's a lot of Block. Almost makes you want to freestyle a DMX remix — "Stop, drop, throwin' down bets on Mike Block! Oh no, that's my Charles Schwab bankroll."

But BetMGM's Block-related prop action is only the tip of the iceberg. Other sportsbooks have literally highlighted Block atop basically every prop list, regardless of where his odds fit within the pool of players around him. 

Just under the Schwab Challenge outright winner odds board on FanDuel, take a look at the top three props listed under 'Golf Specials,' putting Block in some seriously good company:

  • Scottie Scheffler to shoot 67 or better and Michael Block to shoot 72 or better in Round 1 (-160)
  • Scottie Scheffler or Jordan Spieth or Michael Block to be bogey free in Round 1 (+170)
  • Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa, and Michael Block all to shoot 69 or better in Round 1 (+210)

Scroll down a little further and you get to the "Top 5," "Top 10," and "Top 20" sections, all of which list Michael Block's name first (but obviously with not even close to the shortest odds). Take a look at how it looks from the desktop version of FanDuel's Charles Schwab Challenge "Top 5" and "Top 10" prop listings:


The "Make or Miss Cut" section is set up similarly. Block is listed at +240 to make the cut, a prop that FanDuel has actually also listed as a promotional highlight atop its app. Right after Block at +240, world No. 1 Scheffler is listed at -2000. And for the doubters and cynics who don't easily fall for hype or 'flavors of the month,' Block is also listed first on the "Miss the Cut" section — at -320. 

FanDuel even lists an entire "Michael Block" tab atop its main Charles Schwab Challenge betting page. The guy just introduced himself to the masses last weekend and he's being treated like the second coming of The Golden Bear! 

Of course, only novice gamblers will assume that Block's front-and-center staging atop prop boards means he's a best bet. After all, BetMGM and FanDuel sprinkling him all over their site isn't an indication that oddsmakers think he's a spectacular golfer who's going to blow down the Schwab doors — in fact, his odds are quite reasonable across the board. Sportsbooks are just trying to ride the wave and harness some profits from the buzz associated with this guy's name right now. Any business would do the same. Whether you should buy into it as a bettor/consumer is a different story. 

MORE GOLF BETTING: Charles Schwab Classic picks | LIV DC best bets

Should you bet on Block this weekend at the Charles Schwab Challenge?

If you want to get in on the action, be forewarned: Block just made his fifth cut in 25 career PGA events. You don't need to be an expert caddie to break down that simple math — that's a 20 percent 'make the cut' rate. He's also entering this weekend coming off the most insane five-day stretch of his professional life, so expect some nerves to come into play now that everything is legitimately sinking in. 

But many would argue that nerves likely came into play after Round 3 of the PGA when he was told he'd be playing alongside Rory — and what sank in then? A 151-yard hole-in-one without a bounce — nothing but cup. Anybody with that kind of magic is bound to generate a ton of bandwagon betting interest. 

Still, we cautiously recommend treading lightly with the newfound celebrity. If you really want to bet Block ahead of his 1:28 p.m. ET tee time today, put a modest FanDuel wager on him at +440 to finish in the top 40. That's a safe way of getting in on the fun without taking on too much risk. 

Want an even better potential payout without tacking on a ton of volatility? Couple Block +440 to place top 40 with another top-40 pick, Denny McCarthy at -140 (McCarthy happens to be our PGA expert Keith Stewart's pick to win outright). That two-leg parlay yields +857 odds, meaning an $11 bet would win you over $100 total if both golfers finish in the top third of the event.

Sounds like some good betting fun to me. And fodder for yet another unforgettable Michael Block story if this wild ride continues into Memorial Day. 

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Sloan Piva is a content producer at The Sporting News.