May 4, 2010, 1:03 AM EDT
Even though he has yet to find a team interested in his services for the 2010 season, John Smoltz isn’t ready to call it quits. He might, however, be getting a head start on a post-baseball career on the golf course.
Smoltz, a future Hall of Fame pitcher who is working as a broadcaster for MLB Network and Turner Sports while he ponders retiring from baseball, is preparing to play in his first U.S. Open local qualifier next Monday. He’ll be among 9,000-plus golfers playing at 111 different courses, all with a dream of playing in the U.S. Open.
If he makes it out of the first round, he’ll compete in a 36-hole sectional qualifier event held at 33 different courses on June 7. Only a few from that round will play in the U.S. Open.
Smoltz, 43, tells Mark Bowman of MLB.com that he doesn’t expect to be among the handful of players to end up qualifying for the major.
But he’s no slouch as a golfer, and he’s taking it very seriously as valuable experience in his goal to someday play on the Champions Tour.
“The other day somebody asked what I thought my chances of qualifying were and I said, ‘They’re impossible,” Smoltz said. “But I still feel like I can do something neat.”
With a 2-handicap and the confidence created by multiple rounds of 65 that he has completed this year, Smoltz will tee off at the Marietta Country Club in Kennesaw, Ga., next week with the understanding that he is at least capable of advancing to the next round.
“I want to see what it’s like,” Smoltz said. “Maybe I’ll throw a strange number out there and then see what happens. It’s really just an experience. This year, I really haven’t been able to wake up and gear up to compete like this. It’s going to be fun. “
Smoltz is correct in thinking his chances of qualifying for the U.S. Open are highly unlikely. He’ll be facing a field filled with college stars, club pros, seasoned players who have lost their PGA Tour cards … guys who play golf all the time.
Smoltz has handled the big stage plenty of times in his baseball career, but this is – literally – a whole new ball game. Still, I’ll be rooting for him to do well. After all, his attempt will be much cooler than this.
- George Springer placed on 7-day concussion disabled list 0
- Video: Joey Votto ejected, bumps umpire 14
- Carlos Rodon to make first MLB start Saturday 1
- Bryce Harper’s underrated day: Three at-bats, three homers 42
- Tigers, doctors clear Justin Verlander to resume throwing 12
- Brook Jacoby and umpire Doug Eddings were in a “loud, obscenity-laced, nose-to-nose exchange” 56
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights 143
- Devin Mesoraco could need hip surgery 11
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (143)
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring (140)
- Some anti-DH counterpoints (102)
- Alex Rodriguez hits a pinch-hit home run to tie Willie Mays at 660 home runs (96)
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights (95)