Smoltz wants to play professional golf.
Robert Beck
By Steve Beslow
Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Your golf buddy Tiger Woods has referred to you as his 'personal ATM.' Is that typical smack talk from him?

Oh, yeah. He's up there with the likes of Larry Bird and Michael Jordan when it comes to the way he dishes it out. [Laughs] But, yeah, it's both apropos and funny.

How many strokes does he give you?

Anywhere from two to three a side...

Whoa, that's all?

For me, when I'm playing the way I want to be playing, which is rare with him, that's a fair match. But, to borrow a baseball term, I have not had a good bullpen down the stretch with him. It's all about how you finish, and he's the ultimate closer. And a pretty good starter, too.

You've been both a starting pitcher and a closer, which require two very different mentalities. Which are you as a golfer?

In a regular round, I try to make any kind of shot, no matter the risk involved. When I play in an official tournament, I'm a lot more conservative, a lot more of a starter. The hardest part is containing the beast in me that wants to pull off the shot.

Any plans to trade professional baseball for professional golf?

I have a couple of goals. One would be to make a cut.on the PGA Tour, and then to play on the Champions Tour. But I want to do it the right way. There will probably be sponsors [invitations] available, but eventually I'd like to go the Q School route. I want to see if I can do some of the things that baseball has prepared me to do. I want to test my mental toughness at that level.

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