Pro Golf Weekly

2018 Safeway Open Primer: History, TV, Field, Pairings, Odds

The 2018 PGA Tour season could not have ended more perfectly: At East Lake, Tiger Woods looked like the Tiger of old, fighting off all competition down the stretch, and eventually defeating the field by two strokes to capture his first title in over five years.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson finishes his round on the 18th hole during the final round of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort’s North Course on Oct. 8, 2017 in Napa, CA. Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images

Meanwhile, pro golf’s most consistent performer of the year – including worldwide events, Justin Rose, took home the FedExCup, and its ridiculously-rich $10 million bonus check, the biggest in sports outside of a high-caliber boxing match.

It all starts again this week in Napa Valley for the 12th annual Safeway Open.

Everyone’s odometer gets spun back to zero, with a whole new FedExCup season teeing off at the Silverado Resort & Spa’s North Course in Napa, California.

While most of the elites will be taking a deserved rest, the field still contains some impressive names, such as Phil Mickelson, Patrick Cantlay, Luke List, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, J.B. Holmes, Russell Knox, Joaquin Niemann, Emiliano Grillo, and defending champion Brendan Steele, among others.

As many players have discovered in recent years, these fall series events can be a springboard to greater things.

With everyone on equal footing, who will make the first move?


THE SKINNY

Tournament: Safeway Open
Dates: Oct. 4-7, 2018
Where: Napa, Calif.
Course: Silverado Resort & Spa (North Course)
Distance: 7166 Yards, Par 72
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1966)
Redesign: Johnny Miller (2011)
Format: 144 players, 72 holes, stroke play
Purse: $6,200,000
Winning Share: $1,116,00
FedExCup Points: 500
Defending Champion: Brendan Steele
Marquee Players: Steele, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Ryan Moore, Luke List, Patrick Cantlay, Brandt Snedeker, Joaquin Niemann, Emiliano Grillo, Peter Uihlein, Dylan Frittelli, Beau Hossler, J.B. Holmes, Cameron Davis, Anirban Lahiri, Adam Hadwin, Russell Henley, Russell Knox, Jamie Lovemark, Scott Piercy, Chez Reavie, Fred Couples, Sam Saunders, JJ Spaun, Kevin Tway, Danny Willett, and Jhonattan Vegas.


TV, RADIO & ONLINE

GOLF CHANNEL
Rd 1: Thu, 5:30-8:30 pm
Rd 2: Fri, 5:30-8:30 pm
Rd 3: Sat, 5:30-8:30 pm
Rd 4: Sun, 5:30-8:30 pm

PGA TOUR RADIO
XM channel 92, Sirius channel 208
Rd 1: Thu, 3:00-8:30 pm
Rd 2: Fri, 3:00-8:30 pm
Rd 3: Sat, 4:00-8:30 pm
Rd 4: Sun, 4:00-8:30 pm
Live Play-By-Play Online

ONLINE RESOURCES
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Wikipedia | Bovada


HISTORY

While the Safeway Open lacks a long, illustrious history filled with Hall of Fame Champions, the event, which began in 2007 has an important place in the recent state of the PGA Tour. First as the opening event of the Fall Series (2007-2012), and since 2013, as the opening event of the new FedExCup season, and the leadoff of its eight-stop wraparound season.

Safeway Open Silverado Resort North Course
A general view of Silverado’s North Course during the 2017 Safeway Open in Napa, Calif. Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

The inaugural 2007 event was won by former Masters Champion Mike Weir; other notable winners include Rocco Mediate, Jimmy Walker, and Emiliano Grillo. Reigning champion, Brendan Steel, has won the two most recent editions (2016 and 2017).

The course venue itself, the North Course at the Silverado Resort & Spa, is among the many prides of legendary course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Prior to becoming the home of the Safeway Open, Silverado’s North held another PGA Tour event from 1968-1980, the Kaiser International Open, which later became the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic.

HISTORY: RECENT CHAMPIONS
2017: Brendan Steele (-15)
2016: Brendan Steele (-18)
2015: Emiliano Grillo (-15)
2014: Sangmoon Bae (-15)
2013: Jimmy Walker (-17)
2012: Jonas Blixt (-16)
2011: Bryce Molder (-17)

HISTORY: RECORDS
Lowest Total Score: The lowest final score at the Safeway Open was the 262, recorded five times – all at Grayhawk Golf Club. Those five are Cameron Beckman (2008), Kevin Sutherland (2008), Troy Matteson (2009), Rickie Fowler (2009), and Jamie Lovemark (2009). The Silverado record is the 270, scored by Brendan Steele in 2016.

Lowest Round: 61, four times (Mark Hensby, Kevin Stadler, Troy Matteson, Mike Weir)


DEFENDING CHAMPION

The defending champion of the Safeway Open is Brendan Steele. The then 34-year-old won his second-straight Safeway Open title, and third career PGA Tour title.

Confidence and course familiarity ended up triumphing over recent form, as a badly-slumping Steele shot a final-round 3-under 69 to reach 15 under for the tournament, edging Tony Finau by two strokes.

Brendan Steele Wins Safeway Open
Brendan Steele poses with the trophy after winning back-to-back Safeway Open titles at Silverado Resort in Napa, CA on Oct 9, 2017. Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Giving him 500 FedExCup points right off the bat, Steele was able to reach the BMW Championship – the third leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, while ending the season ranked 56th.

FINAL TOP 5
1. Brendan Steele -15
2. Tony Finau -13
3. Phil Mickelson -12
3. Chesson Hadley -12
5. Graham DeLaet -11
5. Tyler Duncan -11


MARQUEE PAIRINGS

Players ranked in the world top 100 in bold

Phil Mickelson Safeway Open
Phil Mickelson hits from the 17th hole’s bunker during the 2017 Safeway Open at Silverado’s North Course in Napa, Calif. Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images
  • Phil Mickelson, Brendan Steele, Sangmoon Bae
  • Jason Dufner, Wesley Bryan, Hudson Swafford
  • Emiliano Grillo, Bill Haas, Robert Streb
  • Johnson Wagner, Luke List, Trey Mullinax
  • Ted Potter Jr, Adam Hadwin, Russell Knox
  • Troy Merritt, Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley
  • Ryan Moore, Bronson Burgoon, Andres Gonzales
  • Michael Kim, Andrew Landry, Jhonattan Vegas
  • Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Cantlay, Fred Couples
  • Patrick Rodgers, Beau Hossler, Joaquin Niemann
  • Cody Gribble, Danny Willett, Chez Reavie

FULL FIELD & ODDS

Safeway Open | Silverado Resort & Spa (North Course) | Napa, Calif. | Oct. 4-7, 2018

Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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