Smoltz: A 'humbling' experience, but no regrets

Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
John Smoltz's second round started poorly and never got better in a "humbling" 87.
April 27, 2011
John Smoltz

April 30, 2011

Never in a million years did I think I could shoot two rounds like that, but it happened.

I got off to a bad start today. Three unplayable lies and some penalties. In a baseball game, I would have been gone. I would have been sitting in the clubhouse watching someone else finish. But in golf, you have to finish it yourself. You have to trust your swing. I didn't trust much today or yesterday. I have to go on feel and the feel wasn't there at all. It's amazing what can happen when you don't get the ball in the right place on the golf course. And I didn't get it in the right place a lot.

But I'm going to learn from it. I'm going to stick to recreational golf for now. Until I get back to the point where I want to be. I said coming into this, I would never have played in this event if I was afraid of shooting bad numbers -- and I shot two bad numbers.

Everyone has their opinions, but I think for me this is going to be an incredible learning experience of what not to do and how to do a little bit more with my golf game. I've got a lot of work to do, but it was an opportunity and I don't regret it at all. It was very humbling. Certainly one thing I'll do is work hard at it.

The people here were great. The guys I played with were great. There were a lot of Braves fans. I have to say -- I've never been applauded for such mediocrity in my life. To play golf at this level though certainly makes you realize what these guys do for a living, how much they grind at it, how much they practice. They know every one of their shots.

I look forward to what the next few years hold for not only broadcasting, but a little more competitive golf.

April 29, 2011

Well, I'm disappointed. Like anyone would be. I don't think I've shot 84 in the last five months, or maybe even the last five years.

Every second shot came up short. Then of course I chipped it to 4, 5, 8 feet and missed putts. I never got in a rhythm. I never felt like I could roll them in the hole. They got close, but never in. I'll take this round and use it in the way you should use it. I'll take some valuable lessons and grind out a really good round tomorrow.

I'm not used to a lot of things out here, but that's what's neat about a tournament like this. The delays are not something you practice for, but you have to get used to it. You don't want to shoot the score I shot, but certainly, I'll be better for it tomorrow.

I think the biggest thing is just the patience of it. You're waiting a lot. You're having to think a lot. And once I get through that process of knowing how to wait and how to think then golf will be a lot different for me. When I get in a golf cart and race up to my ball and play it -- I"m pretty good. But I have to learn, especailly from yesterday. I was tested. I'll attempt things differently tomorrow.

Now my plan is to get back out on the course. I'm going to go play golf and get rid of this round. My caddie and I are going to go find a course, somewhere outside this area, and get my swing back. Sitting on this round would be no good. I'm going to work on releasing the clubhead and make a hand adjustment. I felt like I was lagging behind the club and that's not going to get it done. I'll have a different mental picture when I arrive tomorrow.

For this outing to be successful, I want to go out and shoot par or better tomorrow. I'd like to shoot under par. I know I"m not going to make the cut, but I certainly want to shake loose what today and yesterday was all about.

But I'm playing the weekend. It's a different way than I was hoping for, but I'm playing on the weekend.

April 28, 2011

I like bounce backs -- when you make a bogey, but then come back with a birdie or par -- but in my first Nationwide Tour round I found myself in a rough four-hole stretch. But there's plenty of golf to play. Hopefully I can turn it around -- get to two over, one over -- and see what happens.

I've got a self-taught swing, so getting into a rhythm is important. Once I'm out there and swinging, I can feel what I'm doing. The weather delays knocked me off my game. When I have to stop and start over, it turns into a guessing game.

I actually felt pretty good at the start, but didn't feel as good the second time. And it's just a matter of one bad swing that put me in a spot to make double bogey. That changes a round. I knew going into this, the more strokes I start counting, the worse it's going to be for me. You can't help but add up some strokes that you know shouldn't have been there.

I don't mind admitting, I had no idea what to do during the weather delays. How many balls should I have hit? What should I have done? But that's just how it goes. I spent time in the clubhouse, and I went out the range to hit some balls -- only to be sent back in to the clubhouse for another hour or two because of more dangerous weather. It's definitely a test of patience. If this was baseball, I would have been in the clubhouse playing cards and eating.

When you're out there in a tournament, you have to be able to trust something. And there are times out there where I don't know what to trust. But that will come with time. I love learning -- even if it's through some double bogeys and tough lessons. I love learning and this is a great opportunity to learn.

April 27, 2011

I've been excited to play in this tournament since I got the phone call several months ago. And now that the reality is setting in, that it starts tomorrow, well, I hope I can get some sleep tonight.

I love a challenge. And I know this is a lofty one. To play at this level, I call it early in my golf career, is pretty awesome. To face the likes of all the great golfers on this Tour is an honor. I don't pretend to be a great golfer, but I am a competitor and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity.

Hopefully, I can play my best golf in the next few days. Whatever it is, whatever I do, I want to be the guy that does it. That doesn't mean I'm going to be successful. But I want to be the guy who takes the shot. It won't stretch into anything more than this one event for me because my schedule is pretty locked down for the rest of the year.

You can't hide in golf. You don't have anyone to rely on but yourself. You can't go in the dugout and let someone else pitch. There are no opportunities for that here. The caddie that's going to be on my bag is a better player than I am. Sure, I'd like to be able to hand it off to him from time to time. But that's not how golf works. It's one of those scenarios where you get to test your will.

There's a lot of aggression in baseball. It'd be like trying to hit every shot as hard as you can. That's not going to work in golf. Aggression doesn't go hand in hand with golf. The biggest thing is going to be patience.

I'm the type of guy who goes all in on whatever I do. Certainly this is one of those events where failure could stare me right in the face.

I've played the course a couple times. It's a great golf course. It's a massive golf course. Any wind at all and it's going to play longer than the 7,781 yards it is.

I just think the course suits my eye. When I see things, I can accomplish them. When I'm on the baseball field, I see what I'm trying to do and I execute it. So the fact that this is pleasing to my eye is a helpful thing. If things are not pleasing to my eye, it adds pressure. I'm not a great putter, but I'm not a horrible putter either. If I see a line, I've got a better chance to make it.

I turn into a different person when I'm at a tournament. I do slow down. I'm a risk taker, but I take more chances in casual golf. This week will be similar to how I'd handle playoffs in baseball. I'm more conservative. I'm calculated. I'm more locked in. That's sort of the way I approach this.

I never was one of those guys who thought about pitching until I actually went to the bullpen. I was more the loosy-goosy type, who got focused really fast. So the night before was no big deal. I'm going to try to not think about playing the night before, just as I did the night before pitching a game.

If I rated my game today, it's not quite where I wanted it to be, but it's close. It's a privilege to match my game against some of the greatest golfers. I'm not going to lie. I want to be successful. I wouldn't come here just to play two days of golf -- I packed for four.