Greg Maddux talks Las Vegas golf following yet another "World Series" appearance
Greg Maddux is used to pressure. After all, you don't spend 20 years in pro baseball, rack up 355 career wins, more strikeouts than you can count (okay, the final total is 3,371), 18 Gold Gloves and a World Series ring without having faced moments that make normal people wilt.
Maddux isn't one of those normal people. He coolly and calmly went about his business, posting wins and strikeouts with the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Padres where he was always in complete control.
That's not always the case on the golf course for Maddux.
These days, the Las Vegan, who sports a six handicap, spends his time playing the other sport he loves along the fairways of Vegas, checking out the pristine conditions at some of the area's finest courses including his home golf course, Spanish Trail.
He recently took part in the World Series of Golf event at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (he was sponsored by LasVegasGolf.com). He was eliminated on the first day of the event, but loved the chance to take part in the unique event.
LasVegasGolf.com: What are your impressions of the World Series of Golf format?
Greg Maddux: I like it ... I like it a lot. It was definitely a different game of golf, or a different game of poker - however you want to look at it. It was nothing like I've ever played before. I never played golf like I did today. It certainly makes you think over every shot.
LasVegasGolf.com: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Greg Maddux: You know, it's both. If you're looking to go out and enjoy a round of golf this is probably not the event. If you're looking to go out and gamble and try to understand what you can and can't do on the course and what your opponent can and can't do, this is exactly where you want to be.
LasVegasGolf.com: You've played golf in Las Vegas since you were a kid and must have favorite courses. Let's say you and three buddies have the weekend free in Vegas. Where are you guys teeing it up?
Greg Maddux: Shadow Creek and Southern Highlands for sure. Those two really separate themselves. The third one could be a tossup between a lot of courses ... Cascata is one of the tossups. I like TPC Las Vegas, the Wynn, Paiute's Wolf Course. There are a lot of options. We would certainly have plenty of great choices.
LasVegasGolf.com: More pressure - A three-foot putt to win money from your brother Mike, or a 3-2 bases-loaded pitch?
Greg Maddux: 3-2 bases loaded pitch, no question. The only difference is I know how to throw the pitch a little better than a making the 3-footer. (It was a 3-foot putt that he pushed right that cost Maddux in the World Series of Golf, eventually leading to his ouster on the seventh hole of the event.)
LasVegasGolf.com: You and Butch Harmon have raised lot of money through your impressive golf tournament in Vegas, the Maddux Harmon Celebrity Invitational. How did that come about?
Greg Maddux: The wife (Kathy) and I have a foundation. We wanted to give back to the community and I like golf and we asked Butch and he was nice enough to help us out - plain and simple. We've raised over a million dollars for the tournament and that's pretty good. We try to have the best tournament we can possibly have and what we raise, we raise. We have a solid event that everyone always has a good time in. [Editor's note: The 2009 event is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26-27. For more info, go to www.madduxharmon.com or contact tournament director Gene Stunkel at 702-493-6921.)
LasVegasGolf.com: What's the perfect Vegas day for Greg Maddux?
Greg Maddux: For me, it would probably be taking the kids to school, playing 27 holes, picking them up from school. If we were going to do Vegas right, we'd go downtown and have dinner and a show. That would be the perfect Vegas day.
LasVegasGolf.com: Are you playing more golf now that you're retired?
Greg Maddux: I just started. The weather's gotten nicer and I just really started playing a lot.
LasVegasGolf.com: How's your game?
Greg Maddux: (Smiles) I just changed my swing last week. I was doing the 'Stack and Tilt' for about a year but wasn't playing very well. Then last week, about two in the morning, it came to me and I went back to my old swing. We'll see how it goes.
LasVegasGolf.com: How'd you get started playing golf?
Greg Maddux: My Dad (Dave) and brother and I would go out on Thursdays and play Desert Rose. We played a little bit at Nellis when (Dave) was still in the Air Force.
LasVegasGolf.com: Was there one day where you knew you were going to retire from baseball?
A: It slowly built up. I think I knew I was going to retire ... I absolutely knew I was going to retire before spring training started my last year.
LasVegasGolf.com: Was it a tough decision?
Greg Maddux: No. It wasn't tough at all. I knew it was time. It was probably time the year before I did.
LasVegasGolf.com: Do you still check the box scores?
Greg Maddux: I still occasionally look at them. I'll check out the Braves, the Cubs and the National League West.
LasVegasGolf.com: Now that you're retired, the next stop is the Champions Tour, right?
Greg Maddux: (Laughs) No chance. I think I'm the same age as Lee Janzen, and he did pretty well a few weeks ago.
LasVegasGolf.com: What's your dream foursome?
Greg Maddux: Probably my son (Chase), my brother and my dad. My brother's scratch, or was before he started coaching (Mike's the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers), so we're okay. If we all played well, we can all break 80. Except Chase. He hasn't broken 100 yet but he's getting close. He's only played maybe 10-15 rounds.
LasVegasGolf.com: What's the best round you've carded on the best course you've played?
Greg Maddux: My best round I've probably ever shot was at Spyglass. I shot a 69 and it was my miracle round.
LasVegasGolf.com: Why miracle round?
Greg Maddux: It's just that I only hit one bad shot all day. I had four birdies and one bogey.
May 18, 2009