Longtime major league pitcher John Smoltz crafted a Hall of Fame career in his 21-year career, but in retirement he has a hobby that fits him to a tee. Smoltz qualified for the U.S. Senior Open in golf, capturing the third and final spot in a three-way playoff.
What an incredible day of golf at Planterra Ridge GC! Jack Larkin and Sonny Skinner tied for medalist honors and John Smoltz secured the third qualifying spot in a playoff! Good luck in the #USSeniorOpen!— Georgia State Golf Association (@GSGA) June 1, 2018
Final Leaderboard ➡️ https://t.co/P9kByrihIy pic.twitter.com/rs8sEnEUvs
Smoltz shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City, Georgia, one stroke behind Jack Larkin and Sonny Skinner, who each shot 68. Smoltz needed three holes to outlast Brian Ferris and Bryan Tennison, who also shot a 69.
Golf is not a new hobby for Smoltz, who would often hit the links in between starts during his major league career, mostly with the Atlanta Braves. Mark Aumann at Golf Buzz in 2015 talked to longtime teammate Tom Glavine about Smoltz’s golf proclivities:
“The great thing for us with him was when the wheels were going down on the plane wherever you were going on a road trip, it was ‘All right, Smoltzie, where are we playing and what time do we need to be in the lobby?’” Glavine said. “And he had it all handled. It was phenomenal.”
Smoltz, who won 213 games and saved another 154 in his career, struck out 3,084 batters in the majors and won the 1996 National League Cy Young Award. He said in a radio interview in 2017 that during one season with Atlanta he played 73 of the top 100 golf courses in the country, just based on where the Braves were traveling.
What’s even more impressive about Smoltz is that he has been busy in his post-playing days, working as the main national baseball color analyst on Fox, and providing studio analysis during the week on MLB Network. Smoltz is slated to call Saturday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets from Citi Field for Fox.
The U.S. Senior Open will be held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs from June 27 to July 1.