John Smoltz, a Hall-of-Famer and Braves pitcher for the 1995 World Series, will compete in the 2019 Mitsubishi Electric Classic (April 19-21), tournament officials announced today. Smoltz has received a sponsor’s exemption to compete against golf’s greatest legends at the seventh-annual PGA TOUR Champions event at TPC Sugarloaf.
“I’ve been playing golf since I was 20 or 21,” Smoltz told the PGA TOUR. “I told my teammates that when I turn 40 someday, I am going to be playing professional golf and of course they laughed at me and said, ‘You know, you’re crazy.’ Maybe I am crazy, but I was afforded the opportunity.”
As a well-known community figure in the Metro Atlanta area, John Smoltz’s connection to the Mitsubishi Electric Classic began in 2014 when he competed in the Cologuard Celebrity Challenge, a unique charity event held during Saturday’s second round of official competition. In addition, Smoltz’s local charitable contributions, both through his participation in the Cologuard Celebrity Challenge and additional philanthropical initiatives, aligns with the Mitsubishi Electric Classic’s commitment to charitable giving to the local community.
Smoltz was a workhorse power pitcher whose 21-year big league baseball career included 213 wins, 3,084 strikeouts and the 1996 National League Cy Young Award. Smoltz pitched for the Atlanta Braves from 1988 to 2008 and was the only Braves pitcher to be part of the franchise’s historic run of 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005. The eight-time All-Star was known for pitching his best in big games. In five World Series, including the 1995 triumph over the Indians, Smoltz started in eight games, finishing with a 2-2 record and a 2.47 ERA. Overall, he appeared in 41 post season games, compiling a 15-4 record, a 2.67 ERA and a record 199 strikeouts. The right-handed hurler was the first player in big league history with 200 career wins and 150 career saves. Smoltz was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Smoltz made his PGA TOUR Champions debut when he qualified for the 2018 U.S. Senior Open. More recently, Smoltz competed in the celebrity division of the 2019 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, where he outlasted former All-Star pitcher Mark Mulder. Additional accomplishments include two top-10 finishes at the American Century Championship in 2017 and 2018.
“John Smoltz has supported this tournament for several years and we are extremely excited to have him in this year’s official field of competitors,” said Tournament Director Monte Ortel. “The energy around this year’s tournament will be fun to watch. John has meant so much to the city of Atlanta for a long time, and it’s incredible to see him continue to influence the community that loves him so much. We’re equally excited to watch someone who is both capable of competing alongside PGA TOUR Champions players and who plays an influential role in the community; Smoltz certainly fits those criteria.”
In addition to the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, Smoltz has also accepted sponsor’s exemptions to play in the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona, and the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin.