Ex-MLB All-Star and Oakland A’s pitcher Mark Mulder receives sponsor invitation
Napa, CA (August 28, 2018) – Today at Media Day for the Safeway Open presented by Chevron at Silverado Resort and Spa, Lagardere Sports Executive Vice President, Jeff Sanders and Albertsons Companies CEO Bob Miller announced sponsors invitations for Major Champion Fred Couples as well as retired Major League Baseball player and former A’s all-star pitcher Mark Mulder.
Couples, a longtime fan favorite is known for his unique personality and long distance drives off the tee. Earning the nickname “Boom Boom” for his towering drives, Couples is the 1992 Masters Champion, a 15-time winner on the PGA TOUR and 13-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions. He is also the first American to ever be ranked number one on the Official World Golf Rankings. This will be Couple’s first appearance at the Safeway Open presented by Chevron.
“We’re excited to bring one of the most popular players amongst golf fans around the world to Napa this October,” said Sanders. “Freddy is always a crowd favorite. His smooth style and laid-back persona will fit beautifully here in the Napa Valley.”
Mulder, a two-time All-Star with the Oakland Athletics in 2003 and 2004, became a larger than life figure in the Bay Area when he anchored the rotation alongside Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. Mulder led Major League Baseball in 2001 with 21 wins and struck out a career high 159 batters the following season.
Following his baseball career Mulder has been a regular at the American Century celebrity golf tournament on the North shore of Lake Tahoe. After winning the event three consecutive years (2015-17), Mulder finished runner-up this summer to retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS commentator Tony Romo. Mulder is a scratch golfer and will look to make history by becoming the first professional athlete from another sport to make the cut in a PGA TOUR event.
“Mark has a deep connection with the sports community in the Bay Area and he’s got some serious game on the course too,” continued Sanders. “We know the A’s fans will be out here supporting him and it will be fun to watch as he tests his game against PGA TOUR players and Silverado’s North Course.”
Fresh off of his win at The Wyndham Championship, Brandt Snedeker has committed to the Safeway Open presented by Chevron. He captured the golf world’s attention when he carded a first round 59, becoming just the ninth player in PGA TOUR history to do so. This will be the nine-time PGA TOUR winner’s first appearance in Napa since 2015.
The Safeway Open is in its third year with Safeway as the title sponsor. This year will mark the third consecutive appearance by Phil Mickelson at the Safeway Open. Phil will be joined by many of the best golfers in the world as they compete Thursday through Sunday, October 4-7 for a $6.4 million-dollar purse, with $1.152 million to the winner. In addition to Mickelson, last year’s field of 144 golfers included elite players such as PLAYERS Champion Webb Simpson, Tony Finau and Zach Johnson.
The Safeway Open presented by Chevron and the three-night Safeway Open Concert Series will provide fans with an authentic Napa experience, bringing together world-renowned local chefs and wineries, popular musicians and the world’s best golfers all on one stage. The event will again feature a concert series with three consecutive nights of music after golf, featuring Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Young the Giant, and Billy Idol.
Daily tickets are only $30 to the Safeway Open PGA TOUR event are on sale now and include admission to the Safeway Open Concert Series, as well as the 25,000-square foot Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion and on-site food, wine, beer and spirits venues. No additional cover charges are required.
The Safeway Open presented by Chevron and Safeway Open Concert Series are managed by Lagardère Sports. For more information on the Safeway Open and to purchase tickets, please visit www.safewayopen.com.
Al Saracevic | on August 28, 2018
Johnny Miller was in a good place when last year’s Safeway Open came to an end.
The Hall of Famer had helped put on yet another successful PGA Tour event, with Brendan Steele winning against a competitive field for the second year in a row. Miller had every reason to be proud.
Then the unthinkable happened.
“It was something I’ll never forget. The fact that we had a good tournament, with a good finish … I was back at my condo relaxing. Then I smelled that smoke,” Miller told The Chronicleafter Tuesday’s media event for this year’s tournament. “For some reason, I can smell smoke better than most people. I’m thinking, ‘What the heck is that smoke?’ And I look out and the whole mountain to the north is glowing orange. I’m thinking, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’”
It was no joke. The flames from Napa’s Atlas Peak swooped down and badly damaged parts of the famed Silverado Country Club, burning down grandstands that had been full of fans just hours before. From that respect, things could’ve been much worse. But for Miller, his family and thousands of other Napa residents, this was a full-blown nightmare.
“The wind was blowing from that direction, from the north, and it was heading right for us. I was thinking, ‘We need to get out of there.’ This is not good,” Miller said. “When I moved in 1981 to Utah, by (fellow Hall of Famer) Billy Casper’s house, that day that same wind was blowing and a fire was lapping up against those same houses on the north side. It was a bad dream coming around a second time.”
Miller was able to evacuate himself and others to safety that horrible night. But his daughter lost her condo and all her possessions in the Atlas Fire. Hundreds more lost their homes, as well.
One year later, Miller and his partners in the annual Safeway Open gathered at Silverado to promote this year’s tournament, which will be played Oct. 4-7. The course looks immaculate. The projected field of players is particularly strong. One would think that nothing ever happened here. But Miller and his neighbors know better.
“The cleanup process was just terrible,” said Miller, still looking fit at 71. “It took so long. It’s been really hard on me to be honest. I love to fix things and make things better and make them right again. It’s just a slow process. I feel bad for the people who lost all their belongings, like my daughter. I don’t know. It was just really hard.”
The tournament plans to help in that regard, donating all of this year’s ticket-sale proceeds to fire relief charities.
“All the proceeds ... will go to the fire victims in Napa Valley,” Miller said. “To me, that’s just amazing. ... There’s still a big need on people trying to get back on their feet.”
Ticket sales should be helped by the presence of players such as Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples, both of whom have committed to playing this year. Crowd favorite Brandt Snedeker also will be on hand, and more are expected to commit in the next few weeks. The tournament has granted a sponsor’s exemption for former A’s pitcher Mark Mulder, who has become an accomplished golfer in his retirement.
The Safeway event is the first of the season, as the golf calendar turns.
“My enjoyment and appreciation for the golf course is a big reason I come back to play every year,” said Mickelson, via conference call. “It’s a fun golf course. The greens are a big part of that. … I’m very comfortable on poa annua greens. I grew up on them.”
The surroundings don’t hurt the draw, either.
“I love coming there when there’s not a tournament, because I can have a little bit of wine,” Mickelson said. “Everything about Napa is the best. It’s the best wine, the best food, the best weather. It’s the beauty. Everything is just spectacular.”
Snedeker may have been most honest about the situation when he said: “Napa’s such a special place. Every wife and girlfriend loves going there.”
This year’s event, which is the tour’s cheapest for spectators at $30 per ticket, also will feature nightly free concerts after the golf concludes, featuring the likes of Sammy Hagar, Young the Giant and Billy Idol.
There you have it: Golf, wine, charity and Sammy Hagar. It’s all lining up in Napa on the first week of October.
“I’m looking forward to a great tournament,” Miller said. “It’s nice to have Phil back. It’s nice to have Brandt Snedeker back. ... It’s going to be a wonderful week of golf.”
Here’s hoping Johnny smells only cigar smoke that weekend.
Al Saracevic is sports editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @alsaracevic
NBC golf commentator and Silverado resident says all proceeds from the Safeway Open will go to fellow fire victims
By Colin Resch
A golf legend is set to use his passion and profession to help Napa County rise from the ashes of last year’s fires.
Johnny Miller was among those who ran for their lives as the Atlas Fire raced into Napa Valley’s Silverado neighborhood. Now, Miller is ready to use a marquee tournament to help his neighbors recover.
Like many in the communities surrounding the Silverado Resort and Spa, Dan and Cindi Dwyer lost their house on the night of Oct. 8. Their son took video the following day, remnants of the home they shared for 12 years still smoldering.
"We tried to cram as much stuff as we could in the car, but gosh, in hindsight, we left so much," Dan Dwyer said. "You know what I mean? Things that meant ... sentimental things like wedding pictures."
Today, their lot is still dirt and rubble and the members of the Silverado Resort call one of its condos home. But not for long. They intend to rebuild soon. The permits just went through, they said.
"If you look at this beautiful view that we used to look at every day, we want it back, and we’re going to come back stronger than ever," Dan said.
Cindi added: "We’re going to have a bigger dining room so we can sit a few more people for meals; we’re excited about that. I mean, so many people have had us for meals that now maybe we can reciprocate after all of this. And the stories that we could tell you about people sort of stepping out of their comfort zones just to offer help is just unbelievable."
Miller, an NBC golf commentator, co-owns Silverado and calls it home. He recalls what he and his family had to endure here nearly 11 months ago.
"We had to evacuate twice to get away from the fires and the smoke, and it was a terrible thing," Miller said. "We lost here at Silverado 31 condos, I think it was, and 100 homes. Lost my daughter’s home and everything she had."
It’s why Miller, with the assistance of title sponsor Safeway, has decided to do something virtually unheard of at this year’s tournament.
"All the money from the ticket sales goes right to the fire victims," he said. "So no one’s taking a dime of your money if you come out and pay that $30. There’s going to be a lot of money raised, and it’s going to go to some really needy causes fire-wise."
The Safeway Open tees off Oct. 3-7.