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January 19, 2020

John Smoltz

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Q. How nerve-racking can it still be at this point in your career after everything you've accomplished?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I love competition, but I'd be lying if I told you there were times I didn't get nervous. There's a lot of firepower with a lot of younger guys. And last year helped a lot, taught me a lot about my game, and certainly coming down the stretch trying to figure out how many points I was up was difficult, and I learned from that just to kind of not stare at pins, make pars. The format allows you to do that.

Not getting any younger, so I've got to maximize the opportunities. This was a lot of fun. I was in control of my golf game about 90 percent of the time, and that feels good because you know that what you do -- all you can do is make pars and can't control the rest.

Q. You spend a lot of time, because of who you are, the character you have, the accomplishments you've had, around captains of industry, around all kinds of very, very successful people, and you've played in a number of events like this. Tell us your perspective on Mike Flaskey and all the people at Diamond Resorts.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I remember when there were 30 or so celebrities, and the vision he had the next year, I thought, if you could pull this off, that would be amazing, and he has. The thing about this tournament, it's perfect timing, great place -- obviously, Orlando is a great host -- and the charity component is incredible. The celebrities are all flocking to get to this event. It's marking your calendar, you don't want to miss it.

This has grown so incredibly big that it's the talk of a lot of the people in the world of celebrities because they know, if they can get here, they're going to have a blast. I've never seen a tournament with the party and the star power and the events that are put on first class, and of course the coverage is second to none.

Q. Congratulations yet again. Make it three in a row next year.
JOHN SMOLTZ: That would be unbelievable.

Q. John, second one in a row. Congratulations. What were you thinking coming in? You were hurting, your hip, and you gutted it out and ended up winning convincingly.
JOHN SMOLTZ: This was a big week for me. Besides the defending part, I wanted to see how my body was going to hold up walking five days. I brought my trainer in. But this is a big hurdle mentally because, when you get tired or you get stiff, you've still got to make a good golf swing, and I was able to make enough of them. Fortunately, I had a nice lead coming into the last four holes, which helps.

Four-day tournament, I'm learning a lot about my golf game. I'm not too concerned about -- after day one I was seven points back, but I was able to make up that difference in one day.

Q. Like you mentioned, you started with a pretty solid lead. When did you feel comfortable that you had it?
JOHN SMOLTZ: When I made the birdie on 9, which was a really difficult birdie. That put me in a position that I thought would be sustainable for the rest. I knew they had three par 5s, so at worst, if I made par or birdie, they could not pick up enough points under our format.

And I played pretty conservative to make sure I at least got some points down the stretch. So the birdie on 13, I think that's when I knew that they didn't have enough points to catch me.

Q. Second year in a row you've won. You've gone up against -- you're considered one of the big three obviously now, along with Mulder and Fish. You've gotten on top twice now. So how's that feel to you?
JOHN SMOLTZ: I feel like I'm in their company because they've been dominating the celebrity tour for a while, and of course, Romo the last couple times at the American Century. When you talk about celebrity golf, you talk about Mardy Fish and Mark Mulder.

So it feels good. I'm one of the old guys. This is a win for the old guys because I'm in my 50s and I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hit it with these guys. It will be fun to know that I've won it twice in a row and I've got a chance for three, lo and behold.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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