Michael Block Clarifies 'Totally Misconstrued' Rory McIlroy Comments

The Californian club pro previously claimed he'd be "one of the best players in the world" with Rory McIlroy's driving ability

Michael Block takes a shot at the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
The American is in Scotland as he attempts to qualify for the Open at Royal Liverpool later this month.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Michael Block has clarified quotes that he made after the PGA Championship in May, comparing his skills to Rory McIlroy, and insisted that the meaning was “totally misconstrued.”

Block, 47, shocked the golfing world when he produced four sparkling rounds at Oak Hill to finish T15 at the PGA Championship.

The Californian club professional made a superb hole-in-one on the 15th while playing with World No.3 Rory McIlroy in the final round before going on to make a crucial up-and-down on the last hole to earn an invite back to next year’s tournament.

However, in an interview the following week, the American raised eyebrows when he claimed he would be "one of the best players in the world" if he could drive the ball the same distance as the Northern Irishman.

"He’s a lot longer than I am, that’s what it is. What I would shoot from where Rory hits it would be stupid, I think I'd be one of the best players in the world, hands down,” Block said on Bob Menery’s RipperMagoo Podcast. 

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“If I had that stupid length, all day, my iron game, wedge game, around the greens and my putting is world class.”

However, speaking exclusively to Golf Monthly at Dundonald Links this week ahead of Open Final Qualifying, Block was keen to clarify what he actually meant.

“It was totally misconstrued, misconceived, the whole thing. I really feel like if you're a real golfer, you kind of understood what I had meant,” he said.

“That was an incomprehensible thing where yeah, if I gained 60 yards, if I had a gap wedge into every green rather than a four iron into every green, would I be better? I'd be a whole hell of a lot better. 

“Would I be better than Roy McIlroy? Absolutely not. Rory is an absolute stud and at no point, in any shape or form, was I ever trying to say anything about Rory or the tour professionals. 

“I was just one hundred per cent saying, if I had an extra 60 yards off of every tee, every day of my life, would I be on tour? Probably. Guaranteed? Absolutely not. 

“I know I can't say I don't care what people say or think - of course I do - but, at the same time, I understand what I meant, and I know for a fact, I didn't mean to hurt anybody or say anything that would.

“It was taken completely out of context but is also my fault, I guess. I said it the wrong way. I did a couple of thousand interviews [after the tournament] but I guess I did say one thing wrong but it's okay.”

Block teed it up on Tuesday at Dundonald Links in Scotland, with four spots available for the Open at Hoylake in a couple of weeks' time. The American has never competed in the tournament but said his game is in a good spot to contend.

“I'm confident in my game,” he said. “If you're not confident in your game, you sure as heck would not be here in the final qualifier of the Open or playing the final round with one of your idols on a Sunday at a Major.”

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.