Playing golf at altitude and playing baseball at altitude are two different emotions for John Smoltz.
"I cannot tell you how much I did not like pitching in Coors Field!" Smoltz said while smiling ear to ear in the media room. "Pitching was just a lot of work. Hitting golf balls, playing golf at Castle Pines, Cherry Hills, all the places around Denver was always a treat. That’s one of my favorite places to come because the golf ball does go."
The Hall of Fame pitcher for the Atlanta Braves is "on cloud nine" this week, playing in the US Senior Open at the Broadmoor. He won his way in, winning a qualifying tournament on May 31st at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Georgia, by winning a 3-man playoff on a course he’d never seen before. He’s never seen the Broadmoor before, either.
"I’ve heard from people that have played the course, telling me to keep it out of the rough. Here’s what I’m all about…. I’ve learned a long time in baseball when I’m standing on the mound and somebody says don’t hang a slider to Albert Pujols, I don’t want to hear the ‘don’t.’ I just want to hear, ‘throw the pitch down and away.’ I want to hear a positive command. So stuff like keep it in the fairway. Instead of, don’t hit it in the rough or stuff like that. I want to make sure that I stay positive to a command."
Smoltz tees off at 7:21 a.m. Thursday morning off the 10th tee in his first US Senior Open. 12:51 p.m. Friday afternoon off the first tee.