Ryan Smith Talks Jazz, Golf, And Danny Ainge

Aug 19, 2021, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm
Ryan Smith at the Utah Open (Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)...
Ryan Smith at the Utah Open (Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)
(Photo: Sam Farnsworth/KSL Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Open is this week and it’s being hosted by the Riverside Country Club which happens to be the favorite golf course of Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. During Thursday’s events, Smith discussed which Jazz players have taken up golf, and his relationship with former BYU legend Danny Ainge.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic was a major setback for the world of sports, it presented a unique opportunity for NBA players who completed the 2019-20 season at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

One of the perks made available for players who traveled to the bubble was access to three Disney World golf courses where many NBA players took up golf for the first time.


“Everyone’s playing golf now,” Smith said. “A lot of this for the NBA guys started in the bubble where everyone went to the bubble with a set of golf clubs.”

The league has several avid golfers superstars Chris Paul and Steph Curry but has started to take a firmer grip across the NBA.

“People who had never grown up playing are now playing,” Smith said. “Whether it’s Dwyane Wade, or Mike Conley or Donovan [Mitchell] playing, I’ve played a lot of golf with all of them.”

Conley had been an avid golfer throughout his life, but recently Wade, who bought a share of the team in April, and Jazz players like Mitchell and Royce O’Neale have shared their interest in the game on social media.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade)

“I think all of these guys playing is definitely a massive positive,” Smith said, “and incredible marketing and branding for the game of golf.”

Another famous name that routinely hits the links with Smith is BYU great and former Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge who recently stepped down from his position.

Despite being seen on the course together, Smith said there’s no reason to read into that relationship in regards to a future role with the Jazz front office.

“I’ve played golf with Danny Ainge for 20 years,” Smith said. “I know the media likes to write about it like there’s this thing going on with Danny, but Danny has been a mentor and a friend for 20 years.”

The Utah Open runs through the weekend and included the KSL Pro-Am that included former BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco, and Mitch Jensen and Ned Siegfried who also sponsored the event. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is among the names in Utah for the tournament.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson

Markkanen, Hardy Excited To Play In Front Of Jazz Fans

Utah Jazz newcomers Will Hardy and Lauri Markkanen are excited to experience the team's fans in person at Saturday's open scrimmage. 
1 day ago
Ben Anderson

Utes Climb In Week Five Of BIG-PAC Power Poll

The Utes are climbing up the BIG-PAC Power Poll after knocking off the Oregon State Beavers 42-16 while BYU dropped slightly.
1 day ago
Ben Anderson

Mitchell, Bogdanovic Make Debuts For Cavaliers, Pistons

Former Jazz starters Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Royce O'Neale made their debuts for the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Nets this week. 
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Draft Expert Breaks Down Wembanyama, Jazz Rookies

NBA Draft expert Krysten Peek joined Jake and Ben to discuss Victor Wembanyama, and Utah Jazz rookies Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji.
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Jazz Reveal Identity Over Blazers, Wembanyama, Scoot Offer Hope

The Jazz got their first win of the Will Hardy era downing the Blazers while Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson put on a show in Las Vegas.
3 days ago
Ben Anderson

Jazz Beat Trail Blazers For First Win Of New Era

The Utah Jazz got the first win of their new era beating the Portland Trail Blazers 118-101 fueled by 19 points by Jordan Clarkson.
3 days ago
Ryan Smith Talks Jazz, Golf, And Danny Ainge