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January 16, 2016

John Smoltz


THE MODERATOR: Great playing out there. Are you able to tell us how many birdies and a little bit about your day.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I knew I had to go really, really, really low. Didn't go as low as I'd like, but I had six birdies and a couple harmless bogeys.
I had my eye on one person and one person only, and that was Tom Glavine, my good friend and ex‑teammate. He kept charging and kept staying right there. I was fortunate enough to beat him by one, or I would have heard about it for a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Can you talk about this tournament a little bit in general.
JOHN SMOLTZ: This is a great tournament. The cause speaks for itself. Children's Hospital and the charity that this tournament will benefit is fantastic. The venue is unbelievable. It's special to me because I was here in Spring Training all those years, got a chance to play this great golf course 20‑some years ago.
The event and the weather and everything at this time of the year, you just don't get anything this good when you're dealing with seasonal changes and baseball getting ready to kick up.

Q. You talked about facing Glavine out there and coming out with Rhoden. How important was it, again, to have that baseball bragging rights since there was so many out here? Ozzie was out here too. How important was that? Being a professional athlete, did that competitive edge come out on the golf course today?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Absolutely. I knew coming in today I had to finish in the top four. That was my goal. I knew I couldn't win. Mardy Fish‑‑ that was over when we teed up. To get in the top four, I would have to have a really good round, and I did.
Rick Rhoden is just too tough when it comes to coming down the stretch. I needed some points on him. I was too far back. So for me in the final round to shoot a 68, I'm really happy with it. There were some putts that could have fallen, but they could fall for a lot of other people too.
As far as Glavine goes, that is the most amazing golf I've ever seen him play. For three days, he's got to be really proud of the work he's put into the game. He was always a decent golfer, but there was always a blowup hole or a hole that he couldn't control the score. Man, he shot 69, and that's the lowest round I've ever seen him shoot.
So I know when he looked at the scoreboard and he looked at what he possibly had and the putt he needed, he would have beat me, and it would have been long, long bragging rights.

Q. At what point did you realize how close you guys were together that you said, oh, I've got to beat Glavine in this one?
JOHN SMOLTZ: First time I saw the scoreboard, I was looking‑‑ every scoreboard I saw, I kept going, Man. He said the same thing. He thought he was up the whole time.
So I strung some birdies together quickly. I had a‑‑ Number 2 cost me the entire tournament, if you will. Number 2 is a par 5, and I had it perfect all three days, and I made a combined 4 over par, and that's just inexcusable, not to mention missing a six‑foot eagle putt and turning it into a par. So that was pretty bad. Number 2, I'm not happy with Number 2.

Q. You said you played this course a lot. How much of an advantage do you think you had as far as familiarity?
JOHN SMOLTZ: It was an advantage for the layout, but they changed the greens. Man, the greens were so tricky. And I know everyone struggled with them, except for maybe Mardy Fish. I think the fact that he put up that many birdies. I knew guys were going to throw some low scores based on the length of the course and the fact that it was fairly pleasing to the eye.
I've not started off good in any tournament I've played in. I've finished a lot better. One of these days, I'll have a complete round and a complete tournament.
THE MODERATOR: And just one last question. Earlier this week, there was this symposium. Can you talk a little bit about the news that came out of that?
JOHN SMOLTZ: We were really focusing on injuries and the over abuse of playing baseball too year round, too long. I basically said that parents don't understand how much time their kids have. You can't play baseball 100 games as a youngster. You can't keep throwing as hard as they're throwing. The overuse injuries are so rampant, so high, that parents are not fully understanding their child has a lot of time.
I asked for a banning of the radar guns at all levels to try to get away from a kid trying to throw as hard as he can. The risk of injury is so great. I care about our great game of baseball, and the kids are not flourishing like they should. The talent is great. The arms are great. But they're not maximizing the length of time before they have surgeries, adult surgeries on youngsters.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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