NAPA, Calif. - The golf party that is the Safeway Open takes on a whole new meaning this fall.
The PGA Tour's first event of the 2018-19 season will donate all ticket proceeds to rebuild Napa Valley and support the ongoing fire relief efforts in the area. It was roughly one year ago, Oct. 8, 2017 - the Sunday night after the tournament ended - when the Atlas Peak and Tubbs fires ripped through Sonoma and Napa counties, killing 43 people and causing more than a billion dollars in damage.
An impressive field, led by Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, Brandt Snedeker, two-time champion Brendan Steele, John Daly and former Oakland A's star Mark Mulder, should help attract a crowd Oct. 4-7 as the players compete for a $6.2 million-dollar purse with $1.116 million to the winner. The Safeway Open is in its third year on the tricky North course at Silverado Resort & Spa with Safeway as the title sponsor.
“Everything about Napa is the best. The best wine, the best food, the best weather, the beauty. … Everything is just spectacular,” said Mickelson, who tied for third last year. Mickelson, who is commited to playing in the tournament through 2020, will be flying in straight from the Ryder Cup in France.
The Safeway Open's trademarks of beer, wine, spirits, food, music and golf tend to create more than a tournament. For some of the most affordable ticket prices in professional golf at $30-$40, fans get access to the Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion behind the first green. It is home to a sports bar, three restaurants and tastings from local wineries. Saturday, the TVs will be set to college football; Sunday, the NFL. The 11th hole will house a “Brew Loft” and the 17th hole a “Spirits Lounge.” The ‘Beers Fore Birdies’ campaign – where drinks get discounted with every birdie made by the pros – is located at the 16th green. Concerts by Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Young the Giant, and Billy Idol will rock the expansive front lawn of the mansion after play concludes.
The charitable commitment from the Safeway Open presented by Chevron follows a prior donation of $200,000 last October, as well as a $1-million pledge from Albertsons Company, the parent company of Safeway. In addition, more than $4 million was raised in Safeway stores by its loyal customers throughout Northern California and donated back to fire relief efforts last fall. The 600 homes lost have stressed an already expensive housing market, but construction to rebuild some of them started earlier this year, according to the Napa Valley Register.
Matt Ginella, the Golf Channel's Travel Expert on Morning Drive and the host of the Golf Advisor Round Trip show, will play in the Safeway Open pro-am, an event that will have special meaning. He grew up nearby and still has family in the area. His high school, Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa, burned down. A cousin who is a firefighter battled the blaze. Ginella toured the devastation last fall. "I'm anxious to get back, having seen what I've seen, having those images burned into my head," he said. "I want to see where it (the recovery) is now."