Courtesy of Napa Valley Register - Marty James
John Daly, a two-time major champion, and Jamie Sadlowski, who has twice won the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, have both accepted sponsor invitations to play in the Safeway Open at Napa’s Silverado Resort and Spa in October.
The Safeway Open, Oct. 2-8, is presented by Chevron and will be played on the North Course. The event kicks off the opening portion of 2017-18 PGA Tour schedule and offers FedExCup points. The tournament will be televised by Golf Channel.
Daly and Sadlowski are two of golf’s longest drivers. Phil Mickelson, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and the winner of 42 PGA Tour events, has committed to play in the Safeway Open for the second year in a row.
“It’s very exciting, because our model is food, wine, music and golf, and it’s an entertainment model,” said Jeff Sanders, Executive Director of the Safeway Open. “And we feel like John Daly, Jamie Sadlowski and Phil Mickelson are three of the most entertaining golfers on the planet. We want to continue to bring great music, great good, great golf, but also entertain the fans.
“We feel like that John Daly, Jamie Sadlowski, along with Phil, they fit into our model beautifully. The fans love John Daly, because John is so fun and so relaxed and he loves to interact with fans. He probably signs more autographs than anybody in golf, because his reputation is he loves the fans and they love him. He’s truly a rock star.”
Daly has five PGA Tour wins, two of which are majors, the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open Championship. He is currently playing on the PGA Tour Champions and in May won the Insperity Invitational.
Daly tied for third last week at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. He finished the event at 13-under-par after rounds of 68, 69 and 66 at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York.
Daly leads the PGA Tour Champions in driving distance (299.9), is fifth in eagles, and 10th in sand save percentage. He is 14th in earnings.
“John and Jamie are two of the most exciting players in all of professional golf to watch,” Sanders said in a press release. “John is probably the closest there is in golf to a rock star and fans love him. Jamie not only kills it, he can really go low. It’s very rare to find a player who hits it as far as he can but still has the soft touch around the greens. ”
This is the second year of the Safeway Open, which offers a $6.2 million purse, with $1.116 million going to the winner. Last year’s field of 144 players included Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson and Paul Casey.
“Thank you to Safeway for the opportunity to play in this year’s Safeway Open,” Daly said in a press release. “Can’t wait to grip it and rip it for all the fans in Napa.”
Daly became youngest active player on the PGA Tour with two major championship titles and the fourth American at the time since World War II to win two majors before his 30th birthday, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller, according to the Tour.
Daly lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods on the second extra hole at the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco in 2005.
“We’re so thrilled to have John Daly play in the Safeway Open,” said Sanders, Executive Vice President, Golf Events, for Lagardere Sports. “As we all know, John is known for his long ball off the tee. But you’ve got to remember, he’s also a great player. He’s won on the Champions Tour this year. John Daly is the rock star of golf. In the world of professional golf, there are three or four personalities that draw the most fans. John Daly is in that foursome. Still to this day, he draws some of the largest galleries in golf, wherever he plays.
“John Daly is the one of the most colorful golfers on the planet. The guy relates so well to the audience. He’s so much fun. He gives 100 percent – he’s the first guy to sign the autograph, he’s the last guy to leave.”
Sadlowski was a two-time winner of the World Long Drive Junior Championship. Moving on to the adult level competition, he has a career-best long drive of 445 yards.
Sadlowski decided to pursue a career in professional golf last year. He made his first start on the PGA Tour in May, at the Dean & Deluca Invitational, which is held at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I am delighted and honored to receive this highly coveted exemption,” Sadlowski said in a press release. “I wish to thank Safeway, Chevron, the members of the tournament committee and the tournament host, Johnny Miller, for giving me the opportunity to compete in the PGA Tour’s opening event for 2017-18. Having a spot in the field at Silverado will jump-start my season. I can’t wait to get to the Napa Valley.”
Sadlowski, a Canadian native, has played eight events this year on the Mackenzie Tour-Canada. He also has experience from having played in some Web.com Tour events.
“He’s one of the most talented athletes I’ve ever seen,” said Sanders. “He’s a long driver. He’s a great player.”