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The John Smoltz golf project is in a rain delay

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Day 1 of John Smoltz's professional golf career didn't quite go the way he might have hoped, and unfortunately the rain that rolled in doesn't wash away his score as it stands.

Playing on a sponsor's exemption at the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Company in Valdosta (whew), Smoltz started hot but faltered midround before rains forced him off the course.

Smoltz went 1-under on his first three holes, but then went on a run of bogey-bogey-double bogey-bogey, the golf equivalent of loading the bases, walking in a run, hitting a beer vendor in the face with a fastball, giving up a grand slam, and then taking a line drive right to the groin. Mercifully, the heavens had seen enough and decided to end Smoltz's first round after just eight holes. When he restarted Friday morning, he shot a 43 on the back nine to end up +12. Ouch. At this rate, he's going to have to work just to stay below his uniform number. (That would be 29.)

Certainly, Smoltz's spot in the tournament causes some consternation; our Shane Bacon argues convincingly that these dilettante athletes shouldn't be taking spots from Nationwide regulars. But as a guy who's watched Smoltz since he worked over the Pirates and the Twins back in 1991, I can say that I sincerely hope that he pulls it together and cards a stronger Friday. Alas, this time around he doesn't have David Justice or Chipper Jones to pick him up in the bottom half of the inning.

(Photo via PGA Tour)

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