As I reported Tuesday, Phil Mickelson already had committed to the event.
I remember when Tiger played in the AT&T a few years ago--when that announcement was made, ticket sales soared. Tiger's presence in Napa will further enhance the event that already has been stepped up a couple of notches.
His announcement also will set off a further scramble for hotel rooms. Silverado owner Johnny Miller said last week that the Napa Valley has the highest average hotel room rates in the state (Monterey/Carmel is the second most expensive).
The Silverado Resort in Napa has a long and distinguished history of hosting PGA Tour events and moved back into that position since Johnny Miller and three partners bought the resort a few years ago.
Miller was on hand last week at Silverado for an interview as the new team presented plans for the Safeway Open Oct. 12-16. Silverado hosted the Frys.Com tournament the last two years after it was moved north from Corde Valle (in San Martin near Gilroy). Fry’s executives decided not to renew their tour sponsorship, opening the way for Safeway to sign a five-year deal.
The executive team at Albertson’s, which purchased Safeway in 2015, is familiar with professional golf having sponsored the Web.com stop in Boise for more than 25 years. The Safeway division is based in Pleasanton.
So the supermarket company has embraced all that the Napa Valley has to offer in October. The team from Lagardere Sports is planning a major event that includes a PGA tournament. It will be a grand party.
The pillars: wine (naturally, it’s Napa) plus craft beer, spirits, food, music and, oh by the way, golf by some of the best players in the world.
The $30 daily ticket includes a free concert three nights on the spacious lawn outside of the historic mansion plus admission to the 20,000-square-foot, air conditioned Safeway Pavilion. Housed in the pavilion will be the Safeway food experience plus food by celebrity chefs Thomas Keller, Charlie Palmer and Masaharu Morimoto.
Fans can pick up their food and then pair it with a favorite wine or beer. And there is no additional admission charge. In addition to the immense pavilion, there also are specialty booths for craft cocktails and craft beers at two holes as well as birdies for beers (Happy Hour all day) on the par 5 16th hole.
The generous approach carries over to the volunteers. To serve as a volunteer at many professional golf events, you have to spend $75-100 for the uniform (golf shirts, a ball cap and a jacket). Volunteers can give their time without digging into their wallet at the Safeway Open.
Throw in what is expected to be a fine field of golfers for the first event of the 2016-season and there’s a reason to skip the football on the weekend or take a day off and come up on Thursday or Friday to enjoy the festivities.
The connection with the management company likely resulted in the popular Phil Mickelson committing to play in the fall event (he is represented by Lagardere Sports and Entertainment along with 50 other golfers). The firm is a global management and consulting company in the sports and entertainment sectors.
I have attended the media day for the Frys.com Open and have been fortunate to play at Silverado several times since Miller renovated the North course to make it ready for a tour event again. After attending the Media Day last week, I had a renewed interest to tackle the fall traffic along the Silverado Trail and enjoy the day.