Joe Buck and John Smoltz will both be seen on Fox’s coverage of the U.S. Senior Open from Colorado next weekend, but Smoltz will be a participant. Smoltz qualified for the event in a three-way playoff back in May, and as Neil Best of Newsday writes, Smoltz was incredibly excited when he relayed the news to Buck:
John Smoltz’s first call was to his wife. His second was to Joe Buck, his golf buddy and partner on Fox’s No. 1 baseball announcing team. Both involved screaming.
“I swear to God,” Buck said, “he called me on his way out of the golf course and he sounded like a 10-year-old boy.”
…“I have never in my life seen or heard a guy that giddy, especially a guy who has won a World Series, is in the Hall of Fame, stared down the most intense sporting situations and won,” Buck said. “He was like, ‘Oh, my God, I just can’t believe it.’ He was recounting every shot.”
Smoltz himself told Best he’s long been hoping for this day, and he predicted it to Buck years ago:
“I told Joe three years ago when I first started working with him: ‘I’m telling you, I’m going to make it. I don’t know when, but you’re going to call a U.S. Senior Open [with me playing].’ Lo and behold, when I knew I would be in it, just the shock of getting in, I started yelling, ‘I made it!’ I have not stopped pinching myself since.”
As Smoltz went on to say, this is a chance for him to focus his athletic and competitive energy on something post-retirement, and it stands out even amongst the team honors he’s achieved because it’s a solely individual sport. But a challenge for him has been his broadcasting schedule with Fox and MLB Network, which has limited the amount of preparatory golf he’s been able to play this month. He told Steve Hummer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s preparing in other ways, though, including trying to slow down his regularly-hyper approach to match the more rigorous pace of golf:
“I have been eating slower, driving slower, brushing my teeth slower, trying to do everything I can possibly do that is opposite of my personality,” he said. “So, when I get there I’ll be more prepared to do it slower. This has been hard on me – when there’s an open lane I take it. Now I’m staying behind the car and taking my time.”
It should be interesting to see how Smoltz does here, and how Fox handles broadcasting a tournament that one of their analysts in another sport is competing in. Smoltz told Hummer he’s willing to wear a mic if Fox is interested, but told Best he wants to make sure his participation isn’t seen as a stunt, saying “I’m not doing it to be corny or broadcaster-ish or anything of that nature.” We’ll see how Buck and the rest of the Fox team handle covering Smoltz, someone they’re regularly working with in a different capacity.