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Baseball Hall of Fame John Smoltz hit in the face by errant golf ball

Last Updated: July, 4 2024
Baseball Hall of Fame John Smoltz hit in the face by errant golf ball

Legendary baseball pitcher and Hall of Famer John Smoltz was struck in the face by a golf ball while playing a round two weeks ago, resulting in a scary moment.


“First time it’s ever happened to me on a golf course,” he said. “I got hit in the head right above the eye, about 100 miles an hour. Hardest I’ve ever been hit. Very lucky, very blessed. And it’s about two weeks ago tomorrow.”


Smoltz, who has turned to golf since his retirement from baseball, was taking part in a normal round when another player's shot went badly off line. The errant ball struck Smoltz directly above his right eye with an estimated speed of 100 miles per hour.


Smoltz, a longtime competitor in the celebrity American Century Championship in South Lake Tahoe, said it was the first time he has ever been struck by a ball on the course.


While he avoided serious injury, Smoltz has experienced some hearing problems in his right ear since the incident approximately two weeks ago. A bruise was still visible above his eye when speaking to reporters via  Zoom conference call on Tuesday.


“So the only thing I really have is some hearing problems, but other than that I’m glad that’s all I’m dealing with,”  Smoltz said on a conference call Tuesday.


John Smoltz tees off during the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on January 20, 2019, at Tranquilo Golf Course at Fours Seasons Orlando in Lake Buena Vista, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


The 57-year-old hopes to return to competition this month at the American Century Championship, where he has previously finished as runner-up in 2010 and 2021. However, he will need to regain his usual form after the frightening run-in with an errant ball.


Read more: Sergio Garcia loses temper at Open Qualifying amid crowd control issues


John Smoltz, the former MLB pitcher and Hall of Famer, has had several notable experiences and insights related to golf:


Recovering from Injuries


Over his two decades pitching in the majors, John Smoltz became well-acquainted with injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery way back in 2000 and had his shoulder operated on in 2008. Like any athlete, rehab was part of the game for John. After his procedures, he spent time in the minors regaining his arm strength and refining his form before making his way back to the big leagues.


Comparisons Between Pitching and Golf


When comparing pitching to golf, John sees some similarities in the mental approach. For both, committing fully to the pitch or shot is so important - none of that hesitation or negative self-talk. As a coach, he's also a big believer in keeping the feedback positive rather than ridding players of what not to do.


Golf Accomplishments


By now, it's safe to say golf is more than just a hobby for John. He takes his game seriously with a reported plus handicap around 1.5. That's good enough for the senior tour and US Senior Open. But one event still eluding a victory is the celebrity tourney he knows well, having finished runner up at the Century Championship a couple times in recent years.


While seeking that first place finish, John Smoltz has certainly proven himself as one of Celebrity Golf's most talented competitors. And it's a safe bet he'll keep plugging away on the course for many seasons to come.







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Sarah has a strong background in sports journalism, with a degree in journalism from a top university in the US. She has covered men's professional golf for over 10 years, attending major tournaments around the world and building an extensive network within the men's golf community. Her writing is known for its in-depth analysis, insider access, and ability to bring the drama and excitement of professional golf to life for readers.

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