MLB Hall Of Famer 'Looking To Make History' In Champions Tour Final-Stage Qualifying

Former Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St Louis Cardinals pitcher John Smoltz is hoping to launch a second career in golf this weekend...

Former MLB pitcher John Smoltz looks on during the final round of the ClubCorp Classic at Las Colinas Country Club on April 24, 2022 in Irving, Texas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former MLB pitcher John Smoltz is hoping to launch his second sporting career this weekend when he takes part in the final stage of Q-School on the PGA Tour Champions.

The ex-Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St Louis Cardinals hero earned a host of baseball honors during a 22-season career - including one World Series and a Cy Young award - but the 55-year-old is now chasing one of the most sought-after prizes in golf, a card on the Champions Tour.

To do so, Smoltz must finish among the top-five places after 72 holes in this week's 78-man event (Tuesday-Friday) at TPC Scottsdale’s Champions course. It remains a possibility for the plus-handicap player, with a reasonable amount of experience to fall back on, too.

Smoltz has featured in nine PGA Tour Champions events already, including the 2018 U.S. Senior Open - three years on from being elected into the MLB's Hall of Fame.

Speaking to the PGA Tour, Smoltz said: “I don’t live in a false reality. This sport is really difficult. I’m not trying to think that this is something that I could do for a whole year or not ... but it’s fun to attempt it.”

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To reach this point, even, the Michigan-born man has performed admirably, shooting one-over across four rounds to finish tied-14th at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club in Valrico, Florida. Smoltz had fallen short in the first stage three times before finally progressing to this point.

“The highlights were that I started every round really good,” he said, “and that normally doesn’t happen for me. I got to four-under (for the round) twice with three or four holes to go, but I didn’t finish well.

"That’s what I’m trying to work on here (at Final Stage). If you have a good round going, then keep your foot on the gas. I did that well as a pitcher.”

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Smoltz is the latest in a long line of athletes from different sports who have tried or are still trying to pursue a second career in golf. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has had multiple attempts at reaching the PGA Tour through Q-School, but has so far been unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry - who is also a part-owner of TGL side San Francisco - is a scratch golfer who has featured on the Korn Ferry Tour previously and won the American Century Championship ahead of ex-tennis player, Mardy Fish.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff Writer, joining Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and has since spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. The self-proclaimed ‘worst golfer in the office’ still enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.