Napa Valley Register article
By MARTY JAMES
It was five years ago and it was a low point for Brendan Steele.
In 2012, playing in his first Masters, Steele shot rounds of 76 and 80 at Augusta National Golf Club and missed the cut.
He won the Valero Texas Open in 2011, but just a year later, Steele was struggling with his game on the PGA Tour.
“It was kind of a down time, kind of a bummer,” Steele said Sunday. “I was having a really hard time just figuring out what types of shots to play and what I was really doing with my career. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t very good at.
“I’ve been telling everybody that five years ago I was a mediocre chipper, a poor wedge player, a mediocre putter. I hit the ball about 15 yards shorter. I couldn’t move it left to right.”
Times sure have changed.
He won the Safeway Open, the opening event of the PGA Tour’s 2016-17 wrap-around schedule, by shooting a 7-under-par 65 in the final round on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in October. He came back from four shots off the lead to start the day, closing with three consecutive birdies to finish one shot ahead of Patton Kizzire.
It was Steele’s first win in 141 starts on the PGA Tour dating to his rookie season in 2011.
“That’s the exciting part about this golf course. There’s some opportunities right at the end,” said Steele.
“Fortunately, I felt really good with the putter and was able to hole some nice ones on the way in.”
Rainy weather caused the final round to be delayed two hours. Steele finished at 18-under 270 and won $1,080,000.
The victory also got Steele into the Masters Tournament, which starts on Thursday in Augusta, Georgia, exempt status through the 2018-19 season and 500 FedEx Cup points.
The Masters, golf’s first major of the year, was the first thing that Steele said he thought about after winning the Safeway Open.
“Obviously, FedEx Cup points and World Ranking points and all that stuff is really nice,” he said. “But you want to be in the Masters. I’ve been trying to plan my whole schedule around it and my preparation around it for the last six months or so.
“I was able to take a couple of trips (to Augusta) over the last couple of weeks and try to get some of the butterflies out and learn a few more of the shots that I maybe didn’t learn the first time I was there or forgot about, because I haven’t been there in five years.
“It’s been really good. Just trying to get really ready and rested and be excited to play, which I obviously am.”
There are 94 players in the field for the 81st Masters, which is played at the par-72, 7,435-yard Augusta National Golf Club. Danny Willett is the defending champion. Willett shot a 67 in the final round and became the first player from England to win the green jacket since 1996.
“When I played there five years ago, my game wasn’t very good and the course just seemed like it was kind of impossible for me at the time,” said Steele. “I was going through a stretch with my game where it was just about as bad as it could be.
“But going back now, when I see the shots, they all kind of make sense to me and I feel comfortable. I really like the look of everything. It’s really an exciting time and it’s going to be a really good week.
“As you play it more and more, you kind of start to understand that they’re giving you space and places to miss, but you have to miss in the right spot. There will be holes where you can hit it long, but you can’t be short. So you’ve got to make sure that, no matter what happens, you get it over the false front. You just try to learn where the misses are, and if you get in trouble, kind of where you can play from. You just have to favor those sides on every hole.”
It’s been a very good season for Steele, who is from Idyllwild, California (Riverside County). He tied for sixth at the SBS Tournament of Champions (Plantation Course at Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii) and tied for sixth at the CareerBuilder Challenge (Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif.) in January. He tied for 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (TPC Scottsdale, Arizona) and tied for 14th at the Honda Classic (PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) in February.
“I haven’t played my best over the last couple of weeks on Tour, but overall the season’s been really solid and I’ve been really happy with everything,” said Steele. “Being a California guy, it’s fun to win in your home state. It’s such a fun week in Napa, with all the great food and the wine. I really enjoy it there. To start the season that way it’s just really, really cool.
“I feel really good right now. I feel like my game is in a really good spot.”
Steele is No. 9 among PGA Tour FedEx Cup leaders and is 56th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
At the Safeway Open, Steele tied for fifth in driving accuracy, tied for 21st for greens hit in regulation, and tied for first in sand saves.
He had earlier rounds of 67, 71 and 67. Steele got into the Tournament of Champions with his qualifying win at the Safeway Open. He also gets into the PGA Championship in August at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It was really validation for all the work and changes that I’ve done, working on my chipping and my wedge play and my fitness and being able to work the ball left to right,” he said, looking back on his victory at Silverado. “It’s showing me that I’m going in the right direction.”
To become as familiar and adjusted as possible to the course and conditions, Steele has played two practice rounds at Augusta National over the last two weeks.
He played a practice round with a member of Augusta National, Ed Herlihy.
Steele played a practice round with Phil Mickelson and a member of Augusta National, Jimmy Gunne.
“That was fun to go back and play a couple of practice rounds and just see that it is doable and that the shots make sense,” said Steele. “There’s a lot of positive stuff. We had some really cool rounds out there. Every day was different. There’s really no place like it in the world.
“I think it’s really most people’s favorite golf event for the season. It’s a really special thing with the small field, as well as it’s the hardest one to get into. I feel like I understand how to play the golf course a lot better than I did five years ago for sure and that I have the shots that are required. I expect to be able to get out there and contend to win the tournament, and that’s the way that I have to look at it. I know there’s a lot of great players and they’ve got a little more course knowledge than me for the most part.
“But I expect to be able to get out there and play really well. I expect to really enjoy it this time and to be aggressive and try to have a really good week.”
The PGA TOUR kicked off the month of February with its annual stop at TPC Scottsdale, home of the loudest hole in golf. The Par-3 16th transforms into a stadium for the week and the hole has seen it all over the years. Aces, shanks, caddie races and footballs thrown into the stands, there’s just something about the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. At the Safeway Open we have our own way of getting the fans involved on 16. It’s simple— a PGA TOUR professional makes a birdie, the fans get discounted beers for 15 minutes. With 139 birdies made here in 2016 that comes out to nearly a birdie in every group. We like those odds and we think you will too. So join us, let the PGA TOUR pros cover a bit of your tab and enjoy yourself at the “Beer for Birdies” suite on 16, open to the public with no cover charge!
The Safeway Open Snapshot provides unique insight into all facets of the Safeway Open. From the action on the course to the food in our Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion this is where we go beyond the headlines and give you access to everything that goes into tournament week at the Safeway Open. The Safeway Open returns to Silverado Resort and Spa October 2-8, 2017.
Every sporting spectacle has its own way of launching its next campaign. The lighting of the Olympic torch. Opening day in April. Week 1 in September. For the PGA TOUR that grand opening happens each year in October at Silverado Resort and Spa. This year the 2016-17 season got underway on October 13th at 7:20 AM local time with players going off the first and tenth tees. Robert Garrigus and Brian Harmon each launched their first shots of the year and with that a new season was underway.
Plenty of action lay ahead for golf fans, music enthusiasts, food and wine connoisseurs alike. The first hole in one of the PGA TOUR season was made just 45 minutes into that crisp Thursday morning. The bands rocked, Phil thrilled and ultimately Brendan Steele emerged victorious on Sunday afternoon. World renowned chefs frequented the grounds of Silverado making the Safeway Open a fitting spectacle to kick off the new PGA TOUR season. Many say Happy New Year in January, golf fans however know that the new year begins in October at the Safeway Open!
The Safeway Snapshot provides unique insight into all facets of the Safeway Open. From the action on the course to the food in our Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion this is where we go beyond the headlines and give you access to everything that goes into tournament week at the Safeway Open. The Safeway Open returns to Silverado Resort and Spa October 2-8, 2017.
By John Lombardo, Sports Business Journal Staff Writer
Published November 14, 2016
Hospitality and the PGA Tour go together like wine and cheese, yet tournament directors continue to take an ever-evolving approach to maximizing the fan experience.
For starters, event organizers are spicing up food and beverage offerings by blending in some local flavor. This year’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., introduced a 27,000-square-foot food and wine pavilion complete with three restaurants, a sports bar, and beer and wine stations. In addition, the tournament held six concerts throughout the week of the event under the direction of Lagardère Sports, which this year took over management of the October tournament.
Lagardère runs two other PGA Tour events in the CareerBuilder Open and the Greenbrier Classic along with two Web.com tournaments. The company is a consultant for the PGA Tour’s Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
“Our model has grown into the entertainment festival model featuring food, wine, music and golf,” said Jeff Sanders, executive vice president of golf events for Lagardère Sports. “The concept is to bring the best of the best over the fence and onto the property at an affordable price.”
The new hospitality offerings at the Safeway Open cost $30 per ticket per day with free access to the food pavilion and the concerts. Food and beverage was separate.
“We had four times the number of people compared to last year,” Sanders said. “The events that focus on more than just golf are the most successful.”
Lagardère’s approach mirrors golf’s changing face of on-course hospitality.
“Every tournament has their version,” said John Norris, senior vice president of tournament business affairs for the PGA Tour on golf hospitality. “It is how do you attract the nontraditional fan. A lot of focus is not specifically tied to golf. It is around other entertainment. It is telling the community that, yes, we have golf, but here are all the other things.”
What sells in Napa may be different from what works in Phoenix or Charlotte.
“The trend we are seeing is customization,” Norris said. “Instead of saying, ‘Here is what we have,’ it is ‘What are you looking for?’” Norris said. “We are listening and understanding their needs.”
One of the tour’s most popular events is the Waste Management Phoenix Open featuring the tournament’s famous Par 3, 16th hole that has some 20,000 fans packing a three-tiered stadium structure looming over the fairway.
While the event is among the most successful and popular on tour, tournament organizers this year are continuing to shift the hospitality to reflect changing demand for smaller, more intimate offerings with more club-like amenities instead of the traditional giant chalets.
Over the past two years, tournament organizers have built 17 loge boxes that each accommodate 80 people and include all-inclusive food and drink for $150,000.
The tournament is also increasing the number of Bay Club skyboxes to 34 from 21 last year. The Bay Club includes 40 tickets per day for $65,000, which includes unlimited food and beverage.
“We decided that the demand for the corporate village had been shrinking,” said Andy Markham, tournament chairman of the Waste Management Open. “The trend is evolving. Consumer dollars are spread so thin that you want to increase their experiences without driving through the price point.”
The tournament has a dozen price points beginning at $3,800 and running into six figures for corporate chalets.
“Clients don’t want to be overcrowded and they want service for a reasonable price,” Markham said. “We try to be all things to all people without being too confusing.”
While high-end hospitality still resonates with well-heeled and deep-pocketed corporate clients, tour events also are catering to individual ticket buyers who seek premium experiences.
Organizers at the newly rebranded Dell Technologies Championship, a FedEx Cup playoff event, are continuing to add to reserved seating inventory within the general grandstands. It’s the third year of the increasingly popular product that costs around $175 for a reserved seat with prime greenside views. The price includes a $15 food and beverage credit.
“Certainly there is a demand,” said tournament Executive Director Rich Brady. “In years past, we’ve built public seating with first-come, first-served seating but now we have made the grandstand bigger and added comfortable seats with a row number and a seat number and fans have that for the entire day.”
The tournament also is adding to its lower-priced corporate buys with a club box that seats four. The boxes sell for $6,000 per week and cover all four rounds, including wait service, drinks and snacks.
“It’s a good product for first-time PGA Tour hospitality buyers that may not be a Fortune 500 company,” Brady said. “It appeals to a broader base and has a smaller barrier of entry.”
For new PGA Tour locations, adjusting the hospitality to fit the local market is critical to driving revenue.
The 2017 Wells Fargo Championship next year moves from Charlotte to Wilmington, N.C., to accommodate the PGA Championship that will be played at Quail Hollow, the usual site of the Wells Fargo Charlotte stop. To adapt to the smaller sports market, and draw more hospitality dollars, the tournament is creating an all-inclusive Ocean Club for $15,000 instead of the Executive Club that was sold in Charlotte for $15,900.
“We had to make market adjustments,” said Jan Ivey, director of marketing and partner relations. “Wilmington is a beach town and we have to blend into the community. Everything is more casual.”
NAPA, Calif. -- Brendan Steele figured out how to finish at Silverado and won the Safeway Open for his first PGA Tour victory in more than five years.
One year after losing a 54-hole lead with a 40 on the back nine, Steele rallied from a four-shot deficit on a rain-soaked course and closed with three straight birdies for a 7-under 65, giving him a one-shot victory over a faltering Patton Kizzire.
"This is a little bit of redemption from last year,'' Steele said. "It's nice to close it off this way.''
It was a tough ending for Kizzire, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round and looked like a winner when he stuffed his tee shot into 2 feet for birdie on the 11th hole for a two-shot lead.
He struggled to hit fairways, and still managed to drop only one shot on the 12th. He just couldn't keep Steele from gaining ground.
Steele holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the 17th to tie for the lead, though Kizzire still had three scoring holes remaining -- two par 5s and a wedge into a par 4.
Kizzire drove left into the base of trees on the par-5 16th and had to chip out sideways, eventually making a 15-foot par save from the bunker.
With a wedge on the 17th, he left it short and watched it spin back off the green, forcing him to save par again. His final chance was a birdie on the par-5 18th. He drove left again, had to lay up and then missed the green with a 9-iron and failed to chip in. Kizzire closed with a 70.
Johnson Wagner stayed close to Kizzire the entire back nine but had to settle for pars over the final eight holes. He closed with a 70 and tied for third with Paul Casey (69), former Cal star Michael Kim (67) and Scott Piercy (70). Casey has finished no worse than fourth in his past four tournaments dating to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Steele, who finished at 18-under 270, won for the first time in 141 starts on the PGA Tour dating to the Texas Open in his rookie season. And it was his first victory since the anchored stroke for long putters was outlawed at the start of the year.
"Making that transition has been a little tough,'' Steele said.
The victory gets him into the Masters for only the second time, along with a spot in the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua to start the year. And it got rid of that sour memory from last year when he made five bogeys in a six-hole stretch on the back nine.
"You don't often get that chance in life to really redeem yourself in the same way at the same place, and to basically do just the opposite,'' Steele said.
The final round was delayed two hours by rain that began soaking Silverado on Friday and led to delays the rest of the way.
The third round was not completed until Sunday morning, and Kizzire made a birdie on the final hole for a 66 to take his first 54-hole lead.
And for the longest time, he made it last. Piercy fell back with a pair of bogeys at the end of the front nine. Casey also dropped careless shots. Justin Thomas, who birdied the last two holes on Friday to make the cut on the number, went out in 32 and was on the verge of getting in the mix until he missed three straight putts inside 6 feet to start the back nine.
He still overcame an opening round of 75 -- with two triple-bogeys -- by going 66-66-67 to tie for eighth.
Phil Mickelson had his chances, too.
In his first domestic fall PGA Tour event in a decade, Mickelson was poised to make a charge on the back nine until missing too many chances. He closed with a 67 and tied for eighth. Mickelson has finished in the top 10 in one-third of his 549 career starts on tour.
Kizzire did well to stay in the game. After his bogey from a fairway bunker on No. 12, Kizzire holed a 15-foot par putt on the 14th after driving under a tree, made another 15-footer on the par-5 16th and a nervy 5-footer for par on the 17th to keep his hopes alive. He just couldn't make birdie, and it cost him.
Napa, Calif. (September 28, 2016) – Two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala will play in the Safeway Open Pro-Am at Silverado Resort and Spa on Wednesday, October 12th, the tournament announced today. Both Curry and Iguodala will tee off in the morning wave of the Official Pro-Am and their professional partners will be announced the week of the event.
“We are very excited to have Curry and Iguodala play in the Safeway Open Wednesday Pro-Am. It’s going to be an exciting day for our fans and sponsors to get to see two NBA superstars and local heroes tee it up with many of the best players on the PGA TOUR,” said Jeff Sanders, Lagardère Sports Executive Vice President of Golf Events. “And from what I hear they have game on the grass too!”
Curry and Iguodala are both major golf enthusiasts and often play together, most notably earlier this year at Augusta National Golf Club – a round that was promised to them in 2015 by Steve Kerr if they won the NBA Finals. Curry, who is a near scratch golfer, also played in the American Century Championship this summer (T27) and has enjoyed rounds with President Obama the last two years.
The Safeway Open Official Pro-Am will take place on Wednesday, October 12th at Silverado Resort and Spa featuring many of the top players in the field including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets at www.safewayopen.com.
Napa, CA (September 26, 2016) – Cal Sophomore Collin Morikawa has received a sponsor’s invitation to play in the Safeway Open, October 12-16, at Silverado Resort and Spa. He is the third player to receive an invitation, along with Aaron Wise (University of Oregon) and Jon Rahm (Arizona State University) that competed in 2015 in the PAC-12.
The Safeway Open will be Morikawa’s second PGA TOUR sanctioned event of 2016, as he lost in a playoff at the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic, shooting 63 in his final two rounds. Morikawa, a standout player at Cal this year, will remain an amateur so he can keep his collegiate eligibility. He is currently ranked #25 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
“I am very grateful to Bob Miller, Safeway, Jeff Sanders and Lagardere Sports for the opportunity to compete at the Safeway Open,” said Morikawa. “Playing on the PGA TOUR is my dream and this is a great opportunity for me to test my game against the best players in the world.”
Though Morikawa cannot collect any winnings from the Safeway Open, if he finishes in the top 10 at the Safeway Open, he will automatically receive a spot in the PGA TOUR event following the Safeway Open. Players can receive up to 7 sponsor invitations in a season.
“We are excited to watch Collin compete against the best players on the PGA TOUR as well as some of his recent PAC-12 rivals,” said Executive Director Jeff Sanders. “We were very impressed to see Collin nearly win a Web.com Tour event as an amateur and shoot a number of rounds in the low 60s this year. We believe in giving the area’s best young players a chance to compete and fulfill their dream to play on the PGA TOUR."
The Safeway Open is managed by the Golf Event Management Division of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment. For more information on the Safeway Open or to purchase tickets, please visit www.safewayopen.com.
San Francisco Chronicle article
September 7, 2016 • By Ron Kroichick
Tiger Woods announced Wednesday that he plans to return to competitive golf next month at the PGA TOUR’s Safeway Open in Napa.
Woods broke the news with a tweet and story on his website. He said he “can’t wait to compete again” and hopes to follow the event at Silverado Resort by playing in tournaments in Turkey and the Bahamas this fall.
Woods, 40, has not played in a tour event since Aug. 23, 2015, when he shot 70 in the final round of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. (and tied for 10th). He had microdiscectomy surgery on his back less than a month later.
Wednesday’s news counts as a coup for the Safeway event, which often struggles to attract the world’s top players. This year’s tournament posed a particular challenge in the wake of the Ryder Cup, which wraps up 11 days before the opening round at Silverado on Oct. 13.
Phil Mickelson previously was the biggest name in the field, but Mickelson moved down one spot on the marquee to make way for his old adversary, Woods.
“Nobody moves the needle like Tiger, especially since he hasn’t played for so long,” tournament host Johnny Miller said in a phone interview. “Everybody in the whole golf world will wonder what he’s going to do at Silverado, what kind of game he has.”
Woods left himself an out, saying his participation ultimately hinged on the state of his back.
“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” he said on his website. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.…
“It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn’t rush it. It was great spending time with my children Sam and Charlie, and also working on a lot of projects … but I missed competing.”
Woods was obligated to play in the Napa event at some point, as required by an agreement with the PGA Tour. He and seven other notable players skipped the 2012 Frys.com Open (since renamed the Safeway Open) for a lucrative exhibition event in Turkey.
Those other seven — Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel — all played in Napa in 2014 or ’15.
Woods, meantime, will have gone 59 weeks and two days between his last official shot in North Carolina and his next one in Northern California.
“It’s great to have Tiger back on the PGA TOUR playing golf, especially in Northern California, where he has such a following,” said Jeff Sanders, the tournament’s executive director. “It’s a great place for him to start.”
This year’s Safeway Open is scheduled for Oct. 13-16 on Silverado’s North Course.
Ron Kroichick is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Ever since I made my first visit to the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, I have wondered why more PGA TOUR stops didn’t grasp the philosophy of basically having a golf tournament at an event.
I mean when you can draw close to 600,000 people for the four-day tournament why wouldn’t other stops try to replicate the experience?
Of course, the purest would demand that it has to be a golf tournament, first and foremost and that loud gatherings of revelers are not what they are seeking. Then again, the Waste Management has proved time and time again, that a socially enthused event can co-exist with a professional golf tournament.
This year the crew running the Safeway Open (formerly known as the Frys.com) at Silverado that takes place October 12-16, is embracing everything social to coincide with the tournament.
“Let’s have an event,” said Executive Director Jeff Sanders. “Let’s make it a festival for everyone.”
And they have.
Sanders is an executive with Lagardere Sports, a leading sports and entertainment agency with a global presence in a number of sports. It is working for the first time on the tournament. The firm represents more than 50 players on the PGA TOUR, including Phil Mickelson. And how about that, Mickelson committed to playing in the tournament back in June.
Apparently, they also know how to party. The Safeway Open is being built around six pillars and in this order – Beer, Wine, Spirits, Food, Music and oh yeah, Golf.
Here are the highlights of what tournament goers can expect:
**The Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion is being built right in the middle of the golf property. Check this out – 20,000 square feet of fun featuring three restaurants, a sports bar, wine, spirits and craft beer stations. The food? Do the names Thomas Keller, Masaharu Morimoto and Charlie Palmer right a bell? They will be running the food show. The beverages will be world class as well. The kicker – it is free (with your tournament admission) to get into the Pavilion. The promise is to keep the prices good as well.
**Beers for Birdies will be located at the 16th green. The Par 5 hole will be home for the fan favorite that features beer discounts for every birdie or eagle. The hole plays as one of the easiest on the course, so expect the party to be raging.
**The Spirits Lounge is a greenside lounge on the 17th hole, you can get specialty cocktails from with up to 10 popular spirit brands.
**The Brew Loft will be by the green on the par 3, 11th hole, the signature hole on the course. Choose from dozens of beers on tap.
**Thursday, Friday and Saturday after golf there will be a free concert on the lawn area in front of the Silverado Mansion. Thursday night features X Ambassadors to kick things off. Friday night the party keeps going with Charles Kelley, the front man for Lady Antebellum. Saturday night, the final show of the tournament will see the Bay Area’s Third Eye Blind rocking the stage.
**The admission prices are incredibly low for such an event. The rates are $40 a day in advance and $50 at the gate. For a five-day pass, the charge is $100 advance and $125 at the gate. Visit www.safeway.com to get a special promo code and you can chop the prices to $30 for a day and $75 for the five-day!
**Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the tournament, at least to those familiar with TOUR stops, is that volunteers, the backbone of any event, can work the tournament for free! Every other tournament I have seen charges the volunteers, basically covering the cost of their uniforms (typically $75-100 ). The Safeway Open is asking for nothing! Each volunteer gets two Nike polo shirts, one Nike Jacket, one Nike hat, one volunteer credential, two five-day guest passes, one volunteer party invite and free meals while working. That’s at least $500 worth of gear for free.
Basically what the Safeway and Lagardere Sports is taken all the best the Napa Valley has to offer and thrown in a PGA TOUR event with some of the world’s best players taking part.
This is where I have felt golf has needed to go because competition for the sports/entertainment dollar is fierce, especially in Northern California. People have options on where to spend their entertainment money and golf needed to create an experience as opposed to just having a golf tournament.
The seasoned golf fan would make it work to see some of the top players, but the fringe sports fans, or even non-sports fans, may want to come because of the events and options for the Safeway Open.
Some big congratulations for the tournament connections for putting out something for everyone.
Perhaps no one sums it up better than tournament host and part owner of Silverado Johnny Miller.
“This is going to be a lot of fun,” said Miller, who was on hand for Media Day. “We are going in the right direction with a little bit of a turbo charger.”
For more information on the tournament and all that comes with it, go to www.safewayopen.com
By Dennis Miller
Napa, CA (August 31, 2016) – NCAA Champion Aaron Wise has received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the Safeway Open, October 12-16, at Silverado Resort and Spa, it was announced Tuesday at a Media Day news conference that featured World Golf Hall of Fame member and Silverado owner Johnny Miller along with Wise.
Wise not only captured the NCAA individual title, he and the University of Oregon Ducks also won the 2016 NCAA team championship.Wise, 20, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., turned professional this Summer and has been playing on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada where he won the Syncrude Oil Country Championship presented by AECON in his first start. Wise has finished T9, T10, and T15 in the 3 other events he has played on PGA TOUR Canada.
“I’m very thankful for the invitation to play the Safeway Open at Silverado in October,” said Wise. “For years my goal has been to play on the PGA TOUR and this tremendous opportunity will add even more incentive as I work my way toward TOUR membership.”
If Wise can finish in the top 10 at the Safeway Open, he would automatically receive a spot in the PGA TOUR event following the Safeway Open. Players can receive up to seven sponsor invitations in a season.
“Aaron is a great young player and we look forward to watching him compete at the Safeway Open,” said Jeff Sanders, executive director of the Safeway Open. “Extending sponsor’s invitations is a fun part of the job. Young players like Aaron Wise dream of a career on the PGA TOUR and we get to reward their hard work by giving them a shot.”
Wise joins a Safeway Open field that already includes two of the most popular players in the game – Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III, who will be playing at Silverado fresh off their efforts in the 2016 Ryder Cup.
They are part of the week-long festivities at Silverado, featuring the best of Napa Valley food, wine, beer,spiritsand live music … as well as the season-openingtournament on the 2016-17 PGA TOUR schedule. Musically, headline acts to perform Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings on the Silverado Mansion Lawn are X Ambassador, Charles Kelley and Third Eye Blind.
The Safeway Open is managed by the Golf Event Management Division of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment.
For more information on the Safeway Open and to purchase tickets, please visit www.safewayopen.com.