Darrell Moody: Smoltz to warm up for ACC at U.S. Senior | NevadaAppeal.com

Darrell Moody: Smoltz to warm up for ACC at U.S. Senior

The 29th annual American Century Championship kicked off its media campaign with its first of a series of conference calls earlier this week.

Trevor Hoffman, a former relief pitcher and second in saves all-time behind Mariano Rivera, was on hand at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course to answer questions from media.

And, Dell Curry and John Smoltz were also part of the festivities. Chris Weber was supposed to participate, but had to board his plane before being asked a question.

Smoltz, who was recently voted into the Hall of Fame, has qualified for the U.S. Senior Open. Smoltz shot a 69, and won a playoff to earn a spot. The event is being played at The Broadmoor in Colorado.

"I'm going to be nervous," Smoltz said. "I'm nervous on the first tee when it's a tournament. It's real easy to play casual golf and know most of the time when you play with your buddies you've got two balls to hit on the first hole. Honestly this is the way I am in life. With my career, I game plan a lot. I dream a lot and I put myself in situations that hopefully when I get in them, they're second nature.

"So the process I'm trying to do now is I'm literally trying to do things slower. I'm trying to downplay what I'm about to be part of, because I don't know how excited I'm going to be and those elements don't usually work for playing golf. You gotta have a slow heartbeat and you've got to be able to believe you can play and your game's got to be at obviously a certain level. The American Century Championship for me has always been that kind of event."

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Smoltz called the day of qualifying the longest of his life outside of baseball.

"I left my house at 5:15 a.m. and I started leaving the golf course at 8:45 p.m.," he said. "So I played first, posted my score. Shot 37-32; gave myself a chance, and then waited close to eight hours to see if I was going to have a chance. And then come to find out you're in a three-way playoff for one spot, you've got to go back out and hit some balls and try to rekindle.

"If you would have saw me hit balls the second time you would have told me if you were my caddie you would say take it into the house. But luckily I've had three of these experiences and two of which I had to wait close to that same time frame. That helped me big time. And the only thing I can tell you is based on everything, this was the greatest feeling I've had in a long time, since winning the World Series championship. I still wake up trying to calm myself down knowing in a couple of weeks I'll actually be playing in Colorado."

Smoltz was asked, now that he'd qualified for such a big event was he ready to win the ACC. In 2010, he had 65 points and tied for second.

"Kind of the running joke with a couple of my buddies is I said with a little wink, wink, I get to finally play in my age group at the Senior Open, whereas the young bucks at Tahoe are studly," he said. "Every year I get there I have such high expectations. I probably put too much pressure on myself because I enjoy that event so much.

"The more tournaments I can play the better I think I can be. So there's some young guys that flat out beat the golf ball, and I'm learning how to play different golf after three shoulder surgeries. And I just love and respect the game that I never ever liked when I signed my first professional contract. I didn't play golf until my first year in pro ball. Now I'm hooked. Now I put the basketball down, which was my favorite sport, and I'm going to play as much golf that my broadcasting schedule allows."

Smoltz admitted he's having a hard time thinking about baseball these days, and who can blame him. Opportunities like these come along once in a lifetime, and there is no doubt Smoltz would love to pursue golf as a full-time career if he has the opportunity.

•••

Two of my favorite coaching people, Monica and Ben Halverson, are moving on. The former Dayton High coaches have taken teaching jobs in Pershing County.

Monica, a long-time volleyball coach at DHS, will be teaching special education at the middle school, and Ben, a former girls and boys basketball coach at DHS, will be teaching history at the high school.

Monica said she will be coaching JV volleyball at the high school as well as working with the middle school program. Ben will be coaching basketball at the high school.

•••

Southern Oregon wrapped up its recruiting class with three freshmen and one transfer.

Teron Bradford, Kiefer Edwards and Jake Virga will join former Carson star Tez Allen, who redshirted after breaking his foot before the season started last year. Kaj Benson, a transfer from Linn-Benton College, also is joining the squad.

The team lost just two seniors off a roster that won 20 games last season.