Courtesy of Napa Valley Register - Marty James
Zach Johnson, a two-time major champion who is No. 43 in the World Golf Ranking, committed Monday to playing in the Safeway Open next week at Silverado Resort and Spa, executive tournament director Jeff Sanders said.
The Safeway Open is Oct. 2-8 and is the opening event on the PGA Tour’s 2017-18 schedule. This is the second year of the Safeway Open, which offers FedExCup points.
Johnson finished 40th among PGA Tour FedEx Cup leaders, as the season came to a close with Sunday’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Johnson played in 23 tournaments and earned $2,362,968.
“Zach Johnson has been a solid player, a solid winner for many, many years,” said Sanders. “Not only is he a great guy, but he’s a great player. He’s been very consistent.
“He’s got a fantastic record. He’s been a world-class player for a lot of years. He’s really a smart player.”
Johnson has 12 career wins on the PGA Tour. This includes the 2007 Masters Tournament and the 2015 Open Championship.
He joined the PGA Tour in 2004 and has played on five Ryder Cup (2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and four Presidents Cup (2007, 2009, 2013, 2015) teams.
It will be Johnson’s first appearance in the Safeway Open. The tournament carries a $6 million purse.
“He hits it so perfect and he’s such a great putter and such a great competitor,” said Sanders, executive vice president of golf events for Lagardere Sports & Entertainment. “I think he’s the kind of guy that could navigate himself around Silverado and be in contention on Sunday.
“If you want to watch precision, come on out and see Zach.”
The field for the Safeway Open – which takes place on the North Course at Silverado, a par-72, 7,166-yard layout – also features Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Brendan Steele, Tony Finau and John Daly.
Players have until 2 p.m. Pacific time on Friday to officially commit to playing, according to the PGA Tour. The field is released and published by the PGA Tour and PGATour.com as soon as possible after 2 p.m. on Friday.
There will be 144 players in the field for the Safeway Open. The winner receives $1,080,000.
“I think we’re going to have just a great week,” said Sanders. “It’s going to be a fun week. We’ve sold a lot of tickets this year. We’ve had a nice spike in ticket sales the last few days.”
The Safeway Open week begins with the Johnny Miller Pro-Am and practice rounds on Oct. 2. There will be practice rounds on Oct. 3. The official Safeway Open Pro-Am is on Oct. 4. The tournament’s first round is on Oct. 5, with players starting from the first and 10th tees beginning at 7:20 a.m.
Golf Channel will televise all four rounds.
The PGA Tour’s 2016-17 season came to a close at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. It was the last of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs. The FedExCup Playoffs, a season-long points competition on the PGA Tour, began in 2007.
Finau shot a final-round 66 and finished in a tie for seventh place at the Tour Championship. Finau is No. 49 in the World Golf Ranking and finished 33rd among PGA Tour FedEx Cup leaders.