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June 29, 2018

John Smoltz

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Q. I know you're an athlete. I know you'll think about the missed putts and missed fairways, but a huge improvement over yesterday. You look so much more comfortable. How did you feel?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Better. I've learned a lot. I learned my game wasn't ready. But today was a battle. And I really tried to find a rhythm. I tried to hit three fairways in a row. I almost did that. But I learned so much more. It took too long for me to get comfortable. I felt like every time there was an opportunity to make a good shot, I would mess it up, and felt terrible. But I grinded. And I feel so much better and this will be something I will -- I will replay it when I go on a plane tomorrow because I know I don't have to wait around for anything. But I really did have a good time. I can't say enough about the folks here and the touring pros, because they were awesome.

Q. It's everything you thought it would be?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yes. And they were gracious and gave me advice. And, look, I don't have a routine. I got to learn a routine. I got to learn to practice. I got to learn to do some things.

Q. You also did some things very well today. Let's look at your highlights. One of them came very early in the round. Your second hole of the day. You dropped this bomb.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I needed it, badly, because I messed up on hole No. 1 from the fairway. And luckily it caught the hole. And then I said that's it, I could go home after that.

Q. We heard you tell Bob Ford, I got my birdie, I can go home now. Now at the 12th. Unbelievable shot from the thick rough.
JOHN SMOLTZ: This is such a hard par-3, I thought I hit a good 6-iron and then that never left the pin, so that felt good. And then I told them in the booth that there better be a loop for me, I want to see that in between innings.

Q. It got even better at the 17th. This amazing save from the driving range.
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, this was in the rough, I had one bad hop and had to judge it. Luckily, judged it okay. And I was much better today on these kind of putts. Yesterday I didn't make one of them, and today I felt a little bit better with the putter. Except for that last hole, I got a little nervous thinking I could 1-putt another green. But what a challenge this course is and I hope that, if nothing else with the mic, it gave people a perspective of how hard it was, because sometimes on TV it looks a little easier than it is and everyone could think they could hit those shots. I'm telling you, these guys are the best in the world and it brought some of them, brought me to my humbling knees, I can tell you that.

Q. You're missing only one thing though. You had an amazing week, I know you loved it here, what's the one thing that you wish we would have done on the broadcast?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I wanted a tracer. I wanted to see one tracer on my golf ball. I went here with one wish and maybe there just wasn't enough of them to.

Q. We can edit it in.
JOHN SMOLTZ: Just one tracer. Next year.

Q. They're telling me that you need to go to the practice tee right now and we'll do it for you right now.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I'll wait until next year. I don't want to swing another club for awhile.

Q. Talk about the two birdies, on 2, and then you chip one in on 12.
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, they finally felt good. I felt like if I didn't birdie a hole in two days, that would have been an empty feeling. Front nine, I played -- I did not play the way I wanted to play. I was so disappointed with some of those give-aways. But on the hard back nine, when I chipped in on 12, that was probably the best feeling I had in a while because the back nine can get away and next thing you know you're a bunch over par. So all in all it taught me a lot these last two days.

Q. What was the distance of the putt on 2?
JOHN SMOLTZ: On 2? Probably 15 to 20 feet. Up the hill. Luckily it hit the back of the cup, because it might have been five, eight feet coming back. But I putted much better. Ironically I didn't 3-putt yesterday, and I 3-putted like two or three times today. Leaving myself some long putts.

Q. What do you take away from it? You got to be happy to be here.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I am. It's taken me too long to get loose. Meaning to feel like I could play and hit a golf shot. I mean about the 7th hole I still wasn't comfortable. It's not the people. And it's really not anything other than it's just I'm not accustomed to this style of golf, where you don't ride up to your golf ball.

I was much better, patient, and didn't get as frustrated, but I'll never forget it. I'll never forget this experience. I plan on being back. I plan on qualifying again. And I just think that if I could do some different things with my time off and get back in the gym and get back in shape. I learned a lot, that I'm not in the kind of shape I need to be in to play this kind of golf. I thought I was.

Q. Have you ever done anything similar to this?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Not really. Transferring from starter to closer was a huge, huge hurdle to overcome. I know that the end of the season it looked easy, but it wasn't, it was one of the hardest thing I ever had to do. This was probably the hardest thing I've ever done because nothing I'm doing prepares me for this. I played with a lot of these great players, and casually that's, it's fun. But when you're under the gun and in extreme conditions and an unbelievable golf course, you can't imagine what your heart rate's like. And when you stand over a ball, these guys are more accustomed to not have as much fear in their swing. I didn't have my swing. I just -- so disappointed that I never got constantly in tune with my swing. And my swing was really good coming here.

So I'm self-taught. I know I do some things wrong. But I'm going to stay that way, self-taught. I don't think I'm going to get a lot of lessons and get too mechanical in my head.

Q. What are your plans this season? What's that one thing you're going to go back and you said you're going to go practice. What are you going to go practice on?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I need to get comfortable with the -- there's 14 clubs in the bag. And I probably had seven clubs I was confident in. And you just got to have -- under the gun you have to have a consistent swing and a consistent feel that you know where your ball's going. And I did not know where my ball was going on several occasions. And it surprised me. Because I thought my swing thought and what I was looking to do was right where I needed to be.

But I know I tinker a lot. And I'll probably continue until I get a grooved swing. I had to learn a different swing with my shoulders, and it comes and goes. But I'm not going to play golf for awhile. I'm going to try to practice.

And I say that because I don't have much time. And if I have time I'm probably going to play golf. So I got the American Century Championship coming up. I'm really looking forward to that in about 10, 12 days or two weeks, and I'll take a lot of what I learned here and apply it there, because it's the same pace, and there's a lot of people. So I will have learned a lot from this. And everybody was great.

I mean, this place, first time being here, everybody around, I mean I never had so many people rooting for me when I'm making bogeys, and cheering for me and rattling me on and knowing how hard it was. So I'm grateful for that, because when you're in baseball, I never heard noise.

I know there's a lot of people and there was a lot of noise, but I never heard it. And I was locked into what I was doing. When I heard it, that meant bad things were happening. And today -- and obviously you don't hear noise until you hit, but just everybody, the gallery was super kind and a lot of -- it meant a lot.

Q. (No Microphone.)
JOHN SMOLTZ: No, I am always going to be a Brave at heart. There was a ton of Braves fans here. I got to catch up on baseball. I got to go to work on Monday. So I got to quit thinking about golf. And I got to start catching back up on my day job. Luckily I'm not going to quit my day job.

Q. What's your next assignment with baseball?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I got the MLB Network Monday through Friday and then I go out to LA with a game with Joe Buck. I saw Joe out there today. It was fun seeing him, he gave me a lot of encouraging -- as did all the guys -- like, it's not fun shooting 85 and, honestly, it wasn't a bad 85, but it sure looks bad when you see the number eight and five. I played pretty good and just didn't make anything. So today felt like more like me. Making pars from the woods and chipping up and making putts. So that felt more normal. The rhythm is something I'm still struggling with, because I like rhythm. I like to keep playing. I like to keep moving. The longer I sit, the stiffer I get, I got to learn how to deal with that. And these two days taught me a lot. I'm going to work on it.

Q. Each of your nine holes was an improvement over the previous one. You improved all four nines. Do you take something from that?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, I do. Look, this was not easy in any way. Coming into today it's people could say, oh, just let it go, you got nothing to lose. Man, when you shoot an 85, you've lost your confidence. And so coming in here I didn't have a lot of confidence that I could shoot a 70 -- which I can do a lot -- and I felt like I hit some quality shots again today and that to me meant more getting on a plane tomorrow than if I would have shot another 84 or 85. I've done three major events and everyone's kind of looked at what I've shot to see how that gauges on what kind of golfer I'm going to be and, you know, fair or not, I haven't had some of the better scores. But today, today was something that for me personally was kind of big to shoot 77 after shooting 85. And scores, I saw a lot of scores like that. So it's not, it brought down a lot of great golfers.

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