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Stars across multiple professional sports often have one pastime in common: Golf.

Think Tony Romo from football, Steph Curry from basketball, and, of course, John Smoltz from baseball.

Smoltz, the Lansing native, baseball Hall-of-Famer and a rising star in the broadcasting business, is expanding his golf resume. He recently accepted three sponsors' exemptions into tournaments on the Champions Tour.

Smoltz, 51, has signed on to play in the Cologuard Classic in Arizona in March, the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Georgia in April, and the American Family Insurance Championship in Wisconsin in June.

It's unclear if he was extended a sponsors' exemption into The Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc in September. One would've made sense, given his local ties, but that might not have fit into his schedule, given he'll be gearing up to call playoff baseball.

Of three Smoltz accepted, he told ESPN:

"I got some calls with these opportunities, looked at my schedule, and besides being super-excited, looked at how I could fit it in. That is exactly what has worked out. I have a lot of guys that I know, a lot of friends on the Tour, and I have the upmost respect for every single one of them that have played this game their whole career.

"I just look forward to the challenge."

Smoltz made his Champions Tour debut last summer, qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open. He missed the cut after shooting rounds of 85 and 77. 

A member at Hawks Ridge Golf Club outside of Atlanta, Smoltz carries a handicap index of 1.5, according to the Georgia State Golf Association.

Smoltz long has been an avid golfer, dating to the early days of his pro baseball career (pitchers, especially starters, often can squeeze more rounds into their schedules than position players). He pitched 21 seasons, mostly with the Atlanta Braves, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

He's now Fox's lead game analyst, working alongside play-by-play man Joe Buck.

In other Champions Tour news, Lake Orion's Tom Gillis, 50, is preparing to make his season debut, perhaps as early as the Cologuard Classic from March 1-3. Gillis has been dealing this winter with some neck discomfort and has received several injections, choosing those over surgery, for now. He was able to practice three consecutive days last week without pain, then flew to Florida on Monday to start practicing. In his debut season, 2018, he finished 41st on the money list, earning more than $500,000, despite playing in just eight tournaments. That earned him near-full exemption this year.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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