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July 13, 2018

John Smoltz

Joe Pavelski

Stateline, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We have the leader of the tournament in with 25 points, Joe Pavelski, and John Smoltz with 21, after the opening round. Joe, I believe this is the first time you've been in this room.

JOE PAVELSKI: Second. I was in here once last year.

JOHN SMOLTZ: It's my first. (Laughter).

Q. Joe, why don't you take us through your round. 25 points, that's a great opening round.
JOE PAVELSKI: Yeah, it was good. First hole, started on 10 hit one in the bunker. Shot out, hit a 9-iron and caught the hill, rolled down into the hazard. Hit a shot was able to get it on the green, made a 20-footer and just got it going and felt good and made birdie on the next hole.

A lot of pars. And then got to the backside and got a little bit hot and went birdie on 10, 11 and 12, felt good, and then I kind of went the other way there.

And those next four or five holes, I made a couple of bogeys and had a really good up-and-down on 7 -- or on 6. And bogeyed 7 again and then made a birdie from 8 and kept it going. I was just fighting to hang on to it at the end and it was good to get into the clubhouse here with a few of points.

Q. How many birdies, how many bogeys total?
JOE PAVELSKI: Oh, good question. Three bogeys and then probably about five birdies. So the ball was going in the hole at times.

Q. Best round you've played here at Edgewood?
JOE PAVELSKI: Yeah, point-wise it was. I think I might have shot 70 -- 70 or 71 last year at one point. But I was hitting the ball probably the best I putted, which is important out here, and just getting on these greens and had some good looks uphill and, you know, that goes a long way.

Q. John, 21 points today, solid round?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Well, that's the most points I've ever had in the first round. Usually I get my points in the second and third round; it's too far behind.

It should have been a 10-pointer or 30-pointer. So I guess I scored as well as I could have considering how the round went. And, honestly, the previous experience at the Broadmoor helped me keep this round in check.

Learning how to manage when you're waiting a lot and learning how to manage the course, I still never putt good here. Never have. And I gotta find a way to quit being so nervous on eagle putts and get them to the hole.

Q. The guys before you, Steph and Ryp, were talking about how quick they were, especially the downhillers. And over the years this course has gone from little softer greens to a lot firmer greens. What was the experience like out there for you guys?
JOHN SMOLTZ: It was hard to find ball marks. That's something you're not used to. The greens are really good. Early on, first five holes, there was dew and it was confusing and slower.

Some shots were checking up. But, look, I've -- I got a couple of holes out here that are my version of Tony Gwynn. They've got me by the throat. I've got to get over it. I've got to figure out a way to score a couple -- it's the par-5s out here that's where Mulder and all the guys make their points. Gotta find a way to play it better.

Q. Joe, northern California guy, what would it mean to win this thing, especially being an active player?
JOE PAVELSKI: Well, I think I get to play hockey for a living, something I love. Golf's one of my other passions I absolutely love. So this week, I mark it down on my calendar. And every year I get the invite, it's the highlight of the summer, bring out some family and really enjoy ourselves.

And being from the Bay Area, the fans I see out here, get a lot of love, and it would mean a lot, actually. It's a cool event. You feel the nerves on the first hole. You feel them on 9 when you're trying to close out a round or make a birdie, and it definitely would mean a lot to me. And it was an awesome day.

It wasn't scorching hot. It allowed us to play. And you're right, any downhill putt, it's so fast. And it's different than what we get to play probably all year, at least I do on our home course.

You can manage downhillers and out here you've got to be really careful with them.

Q. I was talking with John McLaughlin, the president and CEO of Edgewood. You played with him in the Pro-Am. He said, "This guy can play." He went next door, put a couple down on you.
JOE PAVELSKI: Hit it good yesterday. Had a good team. It was an awesome day. We had a lot of fun. I'd like to think I got a little inside tip from him yesterday and it showed today. So we enjoyed it. Enjoyed playing with John. He's a good man and this tournament is just fabulous.

Q. John, you've been in this tournament a number of years now and we know your game keeps getting better and better all the time, a little bit more time to play, as you said before. Qualifying for the Senior Open, that's serious. And I mean, that's really got to play in this for you.
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, I learned a lot. I'm broadcasting in between the network and Fox over 120 days a year. And it definitely interrupts my golf. But basically, where I'm at with my golf is I'm self-taught. Don't really have a structured plan yet of practicing and I don't have a teacher or anything. I'm literally trying to take each experience and learn from it.

I dropped in out of the sky for the Senior Open. Baseball, you can kind of -- team sports, you can kind of hide -- teammates can pick you up. And you could have great performances that go awry, I get it.

But in golf, no one's going to come in, tap you on the shoulder and finish your round. There's nowhere to hide.

I think learning how to finish rounds, learning how to breathe through shots, learning how -- that's all been much easier today than having gone through the Senior Open. I didn't feel like a human being for about 12 holes.

Q. Joe, Dan Quinn has won out here, Mario Lemieux, I want to say there might have been one more hockey winner. Is there something about hockey that transfers to golf?
JOE PAVELSKI: Well, probably a little bit the way you shoot the puck and just hit a ball at that distance might help a little bit. It's still a game that, doesn't matter how it translates, you've got to get out and practice a little bit. You've got to play a little bit. You feel so much better around the greens, seeing some reads.

The biggest thing that might help is that we have the offseason, and you get out spend a little extra time. Get in the gym and work out and you can head to the course or you can kind of have one of your off days you can go out and play 36 and practice a little bit.

That's the biggest thing that probably helps, and I've been able to play a little extra this summer at times. And it just feels pretty good. But it's still like Smoltz here, I'm somewhat self-taught, and you can tell throughout rounds when the swing's getting loose. There's certain things that you learn and you try to hang your hat on and do. But it's also you don't have enough reps sometimes to really fight through it. And I was battling that at times. So it was good to see the ball get in the hole throughout some of the stretches.

Q. John, I did the math on this. 648 wins with you and Maddux and Glavine as Braves teammates. Is there a comfort feeling when you play with those two guys that may help you on a day like this?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, it brings back old days, old memories. We know now like three chances a year we'll get a chance to play golf in a tournament. The Hall of Fame, this and Diamond Resorts. So it's always fun.

But it was a lot more fun when we had a lot more fun when it was casual golf. This is more of a grind. We reminisce, but this is more of a grind. And each guy -- today each of us threw something away. We kind of just -- Maddux played the best I've seen him play and Glavine redeemed himself with an eagle on 18. So it was fun to see all of us in positive numbers, because that's not usually all the case.

Q. How many times have the three of you played together here?
JOHN SMOLTZ: So I think it's been every first round. So I want to say eight to 10 years, something like that. And that's the last time we played together is after the first round.

Q. What did Tony Gwynn hit against you?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Tony Gwynn hit four something. .440, .444. He owned me. That's what some of these greens feel like when -- it is difficult. You tell yourself when you're on the course and you're doing the Pro-Am and you kind of have more freedom in your stroke and your swing, but the next thing you start doing, you start feeling like, well, don't put it four foot by because then you're going to be 3-putting.

And here's my general rule, I wish I could be better at it, birdie putts should not be short and par putts shouldn't be real long. Because you really -- I still don't think I've played this tournament where I haven't had a double bogey. That's a killer. You can't afford a double bogey. That's after one round. And I didn't have one. So I'll try to keep that going.

Q. Joe, what other certain adjustments do you need to make to stay atop the leaderboard on day two?
JOE PAVELSKI: There's a couple of them, I guess. But on the course, it's just kind of staying somewhat loose committing to the shot. Staying down the line. For me today, towards the end, when I got loose, I just started getting quick got over the top was missing all my shots to the left. So just kind of committing to it and trusting it and letting it happen and keep trying to make some putts. Anytime you get an uphill putt, I was able to be kind of fairly firm with it and some of those went in.

Q. Smoltz reflected on playing with Glavine and Maddux, was there any certain competitor you liked playing against or with?
JOE PAVELSKI: I really enjoyed my group today. I was playing with Bode and Andrew. Played a practice round with Bode last year and really enjoyed it.

And you know what, I haven't had a bad group out here. I don't know if there is one. Really it's just fun getting out there. And everyone was playing pretty good in our group, hitting the ball, making some putts and that kind of helped today.

Q. Joe, if you win this, are you going to reveal that inside tip that you got?
JOE PAVELSKI: Sure, I'll reveal it.

Q. Maybe now?
JOE PAVELSKI: No, not now. It's a long ways. I was in a decent position last year. And I didn't play too well the next couple of days. We'll keep trying to make some birdies keep offense going and go from there.

Q. Joe, last year you finished 23 and dropped off. Same with John, you finished 22 the first day and both of you dropped down, finished a point apart, 52 and 51. John, you were ahead with the 52. Can you do anything to mentally prepare yourself to not fall off like that in the 20s?
JOE PAVELSKI: For me, partly, you play a lot of tournament golf that you're not used to, trying to grind, get the ball in the hole. You go out make five birdies today, you've got to kind of have the same attitude. And at times it's easy to get defensive and start getting ahead of yourself and not make bogeys and double bogeys. That can just hurt you.

So kind of keep attacking it when you get your chances, and put the ball on the fairway and have those looks, because I think those go a long way. And just kind of get out of your own way. You see it on the tour those guys will shoot 61 and then 72, 73. And it's tough, just mentally it's tough.

And when you're playing good, you stress that you're playing good and you're hitting and the ball will go in.

JOHN SMOLTZ: For me commitment, I had a couple of bad breaks. Today I was literally next to three trees that didn't allow me to advance the ball.

So I find myself in the practice round playing totally loose and hitting driver on almost every hole then I start playing smart and that doesn't work. So there's a difference between risk/reward and there's a difference between playing totally defensive.

I want to be somewhere in the middle and trust that the clubs that I'm typically comfortable with go ahead and let it go and let it rip and I found a better rhythm, especially in the back -- only eight points on the front nine.

It was my typical round, that's usually what I get, six to eight points on the first nine and then try to remember I'm running out of holes. But that's kind of where -- my last round, I think, last year was one of the worst rounds I've ever played. So I remembered it.

Q. The altitude here obviously is a little higher than your Senior Open. Have you made the adjustments?
JOHN SMOLTZ: It's close. I think it's around the same. 6300 was the Broadmoor. So what's here? It's like 63, 62. So I almost tapped out in the Broadmoor. I found out there's such a thing as altitude sickness.

And I was cramping and light-headed in my practice round. I went, thankfully, to GNC, loaded up with some amino acids. Stuff like that. I couldn't believe it. I think I used to be an athlete is what I said.

And it got me. And a couple of the golfers I know on the tour said -- I texted them. I said, I thought I was an athlete. And they texted me back: Golfers are athletes. (Laughter).

Q. Rypien was talking about how much the karaoke helped his game last night. Any connections to Pitbull here with you guys?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Not here. I played the accordion when I was 4 years old, if that tells you anything.


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