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TRANSCRIPT: JOHN SMOLTZ (3RD) RECAPS AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

American Century Championship
Sunday, July 12, 2020
John Smoltz
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: John, take us through your round today: Third-place finish; 21 points it looks like today. Had a couple of guys ahead of you that had a pretty sizable lead when the day started.

JOHN SMOLTZ: My biggest thing is I can’t believe how good I hit it and how poorly I scored. I didn’t 3-putt all week. I only made three bogeys all week, and yet the birdies just didn’t fall. So 16 tries at birdie today and I only made two of them.

And that’s the difference. I mean, you play this golf course, I striped it pretty much all day, except for one hole. And unless you make birdies, I had a lot of chances to change the environment early on, and that’s what I was hoping to do, is put some pressure early. But there was just no way those putts, they just weren’t falling.

Q. Yesterday you seemed a little frustrated with a few shots today. And that’s not usually your style, from what we’ve seen over the years?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Like I said, I told my caddie Greg, I want to have 18 tries at birdie and see what happens. I started off 14-for-14 and then hit one in the water on the 14th hole. And it’s just one of those deals where Mardy played fearless. He played relentless. He didn’t change his theory, and it ended up working out.

Q. What was it like, you played enough golf with Mardy to see his game. And yesterday was one of those rare -- that was unbelievable yesterday. Today he was pretty solid again once today.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I thought he won the tournament on the first hole when he hit his second shot in the water, made 15-foot for bogey; goes from zero to minus 2, and all of a sudden Kyle had a five-footer or six-footer for birdie, early on. He said that’s the only hole he doesn’t like is the first hole. And he had -- early on it was more of a feel, I thought, that he was trying to gain. Once he got it, once he knew past 9, Kyle could never really close the gap. He had some chances. But didn’t work out.

Mardy hits the ball so far and he has such great touch. So playing against him is I knew going in this that lead wasn’t anything I could do anything with.

Q. You went 54 holes out here without 3-putting, that might be a first.
JOHN SMOLTZ: I think I set the record for the most pars in three rounds, too. You don’t want a lot of pars. That’s what’s amazing about this format, is I made like I said I made three bogeys all week, I think, and only made four or five birdies.

So you’ve got to -- he was making 10 in one round. He made more in the back nine of his round yesterday than I made in my entire tournament, even though my score I think I finished even par for the tournament doesn’t reflect the fact that I didn’t make -- gotta make birdies.

Q. I guess anybody who plays this game has a course that they love but it just kind of seems to eat their lunch; is this one yours?
JOHN SMOLTZ: Yeah, it’s pleasing to my eyes. Just the greens aren’t. You think after 12 years, 11 years, I’d figure it out. But I don’t putt on this kind of surface at all, ever. And you basically have to have the approach that -- I mean they don’t lip in. You just have to hit pure putts. Have you to read them. We just couldn’t read anything right. That’s the difference between a seven-footer, eight-footer going in and missing right on the opposite side of your read. There’s no doubt that this place, I love the layout. I just can’t find a way to love the greens the way you should. And one of these days. Time is ticking. I’ll try to be the oldest winner, I guess.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports