How good a golfer is Atlanta Braves ace John Smoltz?

How good a golfer is Atlanta Braves ace John Smoltz?

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Smoltz wants to play professional golf.
Robert Beck

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.one 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.