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BlogSafeway Open Preview and Picks

Safeway Open

September 10th – 13th, 2020

Silverado C.C. (North)

Napa,, CA

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,196

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,188,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Cameron Champ

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 15 of the top 100 and 5 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Here is a look at the players in the top 100:  #28 Shane Lowry, #41 Chez Reavie, #44 Sergio Garcia, #47 Kevin Streelman, #48 Erik van Rooyen, #51 Phil Mickelson, #60 Joel Dahmen, #67 Jordan Spieth, #69 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #73 Brandt Snedeker, #86 Si Woo Kim, #89 Keegan Bradley, #96 Brendan Steele, #97 Doc Redman and #100 Lucas Glover.

Last year there were 33 of the top 100 players and 15 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes just 6 players from the top-50 of the FedEx Point standings for 2020:, #32  Kevin Streelman, #38 Joel Dahmen, #40 Tyler Duncan, #47 Brendan Steele, and 50 Tom Hoge.

The field includes all 3 past champions: Kevin Tway (2019), Brendan Steele (2017 & ’18), and Emiliano Grillo (2016).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Safeway Open field is our performance chart listed by the average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at Safeway Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Safeway Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Safeway Open

Player BMW Champ. Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. 3M Open Memorial Workday Charity Rocket Mortgage Travelers Champ. RBC Heritage Charles Schwab
Si Woo Kim
(150.17 pts)
DNP T39
(16.5)
T3
(60)
T13
(49.33)
DNP T41
(6)
T46
(1.33)
T18
(10.67)
64
(0)
T57
(0)
T11
(13)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Joel Dahmen
(131 pts)
T20
(45)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T10
(53.33)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T20
(10)
T48
(0.67)
T19
(10.33)
Troy Merritt
(100.83 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
T8
(16.67)
T60
(0)
T70
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brendan Steele
(100.83 pts)
T33
(25.5)
T44
(9)
DNP T22
(37.33)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP T13
(12.33)
T52
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Doc Redman
(98.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T3
(60)
T29
(28)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
T11
(13)
T21
(9.67)
T58
(0)
Phil Mickelson
(90.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T71
(0)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
T58
(0)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Mark Hubbard
(78.17 pts)
T51
(0)
T29
(31.5)
T15
(23.33)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 72
(0)
WD
(-1.67)
T12
(12.67)
T37
(4.33)
T33
(5.67)
T43
(2.33)
Charley Hoffman
(76.83 pts)
DNP T13
(55.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T41
(3)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Chez Reavie
(73.17 pts)
DNP T49
(1.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
T75
(0)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T17
(11)
DNP T46
(1.33)
T74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Davis
(66.17 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Robby Shelton
(65.5 pts)
T59
(0)
T13
(55.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 59
(0)
T3
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Tyler Duncan
(64.17 pts)
T48
(3)
T29
(31.5)
T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
T49
(1)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
T32
(6)
T28
(7.33)
T38
(4)
Talor Gooch
(63.67 pts)
T65
(0)
T18
(48)
T25
(16.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T43
(2.33)
Harold Varner III
(62.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T7
(36.67)
T29
(28)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(6.67)
T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
T19
(10.33)
Scott Stallings
(61.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T62
(0)
DNP T58
(0)
T39
(3.67)
T6
(20)
T48
(0.67)
DNP
Maverick McNealy
(61 pts)
T40
(15)
T61
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 7
(36.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP T58
(0)
T32
(6)
Kevin Streelman
(60 pts)
T51
(0)
T61
(0)
DNP T58
(0)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
T7
(18.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Emiliano Grillo
(59.33 pts)
DNP T44
(9)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP T9
(30)
T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T39
(3.67)
T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Shane Lowry
(56.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T23
(18)
T66
(0)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T39
(3.67)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Tringale
(54.83 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP DQ
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(54.67 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Adam Schenk
(50.83 pts)
DNP T39
(16.5)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T41
(3)
DNP T39
(3.67)
T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T43
(2.33)
Fabian Gomez
(50 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Will Gordon
(44.67 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
DNP DNP
Harry Higgs
(42.5 pts)
T56
(0)
T11
(58.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
70
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
T38
(4)
Denny McCarthy
(41.17 pts)
DNP T49
(1.5)
T9
(30)
T58
(0)
DNP T32
(12)
T32
(6)
T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
66
(0)
Patrick Rodgers
(41 pts)
DNP 70
(0)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
T32
(6)
T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T45
(1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T14
(12)
Erik Van Rooyen
(39 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
T20
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kristoffer Ventura
(35.67 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Armour
(35 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T4
(26.67)
T6
(20)
T74
(0)
DNP
Sergio Garcia
(33.67 pts)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-13.33)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
T5
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Henrik Norlander
(32.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
T6
(20)
T31
(6.33)
T12
(12.67)
T41
(3)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sam Burns
(32 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T32
(6)
DNP T17
(11)
T30
(6.67)
T24
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Wesley Bryan
(31 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
T24
(8.67)
T68
(0)
DNP
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
(28.17 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 40
(6.67)
66
(0)
DNP T35
(5)
T45
(1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jordan Spieth
(27.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T72
(0)
T71
(0)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T54
(0)
T68
(0)
T10
(13.33)
Robert Streb
(26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Bud Cauley
(26.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T15
(23.33)
T37
(17.33)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T44
(2)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T29
(7)
Keegan Bradley
(26.17 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
T39
(3.67)
T45
(1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T32
(6)
Chris Baker
(24.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
T41
(3)
DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Chesson Hadley
(24.33 pts)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP 17
(22)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T58
(0)
T23
(9)
Rob Oppenheim
(24 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Brandon Hagy
(23.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T32
(6)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T24
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Pat Perez
(21.83 pts)
DNP WD
(-7.5)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP 18
(21.33)
T23
(9)
DNP T39
(3.67)
T45
(1.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T49
(0.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Safeway Open

Player BMW Champ. Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. 3M Open Memorial Workday Charity Rocket Mortgage Travelers Champ. RBC Heritage Charles Schwab
Martin Trainer
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Andrew Putnam
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Michael Kim
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ted Potter, Jr.
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sebastian Cappelen
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
D.J. Trahan
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Jim Furyk
(-25.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T49
(0.33)
Brian Gay
(-24.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T27
(7.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Senden
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Scott Brown
(-23 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
65
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So just like that, the 2020 season is finished, and just like that, the 2021 season is about to start. Usually, with Football getting into the swing of things and the baseball playoffs about to happen, we would hibernate after the Tour Championship.  But that won’t be the case this year as next week is the U.S. Open and in two months the Masters.  You could tell that their biological time clocks were getting a bit out of whack for many players.  That’s because in the 13 weeks since golf made its COVID-19 comeback in Ft. Worth in June all 14 events had good fields, and most of the top players like Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and even Brooks Koepka made a lot of starts and each week led to exciting golf.  Not including the Barracuda Championship, which was opposite the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, all the events had good fields except for the 3M Open, which only had 17 of the top-100 in the World Rankings.  Despite many taking the week off, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka showed up even though they both played poorly and had the weekend off.

Most importantly, the PGA Tour was a big success since they restarted at Colonial in mid-June.  The PGA Tour did a terrific job keeping everyone safe, and other than Branden Grace being forced to withdraw from the Barracuda after the 2nd round, the last 10 weeks didn’t see any other positive tests.  Of the 14 events played, there were ten different winners with six of them (#1 Dustin Johnson, #2 Jon Rahm, #3 Justin Thomas, #5 Collin Morikawa, #6 Webb Simpson, and #9 Bryson DeChambeau) not only being in the top-nine of the Official World Golf Rankings but winning ten of the 14 events.

We saw Dustin Johnson have a remarkable five-week stretch in which in four events, he finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and 1st.  At this time last year, Johnson was finishing last at the Tour Championship, and the next week underwent knee surgery and didn’t play again in an event till the Presidents Cup.  Johnson played sparingly at the beginning of the year, and when he started to play regularly, COVID-19 hit, and Johnson went into the break with only four PGA Tour starts.  When he returned at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June and missed the cut, he was 115th in the FedExCup playoffs, which is the highest anyone who won the FedExCup Playoffs every was in June.  Johnson was able to win at the Travelers, but after that, his game was lost as he shot 80-80 to miss the cut at the Memorial and the next week withdrew after a first-round 78.  After shooting that 78, nobody could imagine that he would only have one over par round in his next five events.  He played solidly at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational shooting 69-68-68-67 to finish T-12th, and after that, it seemed that Johnson led every time he played a round.  In those 12 rounds, he led after 8 of the rounds as he was 46 under in those 12 rounds.  In 2017 we saw Johnson do a similar thing when he won three times in three starts at the Genesis Open, the WGC-Mexico Championship, and the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, and he rolled into Augusta the big favorite.  But on Wednesday night, before the Masters was to start, Johnson took a tumble down some stairs in his rental home and couldn’t play for the next month.  He made a return five weeks later, finishing T-2nd at the Wells Fargo, but after that had a struggling year and was never able to regain that magical touch.  So Dustin in on the same high after the season ends, winning the FedExCup playoffs and now, by the stroke of luck off of the COVID-19 shutdown, finds himself playing the best of his career with the U.S. Open just a week away.  Have to wonder how many e-mails his agent David Winkle is getting from fans advising him to make sure his rental house at Winged Foot doesn’t have any stairs.

So yes, things are great for golf right now. The PGA Tour was able to take the event that was supposed to be played in Korea and switch it to Las Vegas.  They also took the event to be played in Japan and changed it to a course outside of Los Angeles. So with those two events, which will have fields of only 78 players and the Masters, we will see four excellent weeks of golf in the time of year that golf is usually in hibernation.

Still, unfortunately, we will see a charming event that has a tough time this week despite all of this good news.  The folks that run the Safeway Open wanted to start the 2021 season as the first event, and as the old saying goes, don’t wish too hard; you may get your wish.  But little did anyone realize last year when the decision was made to make the Safeway Open first in 2021 that it would spell a tough time for this event.  With the season getting derailed in March, forcing a three-month break, little did the folks know that the U.S. Open would be rescheduled between the Tour Championship and the U.S. Open.  With that stroke of bad luck, it will limit any true marquee names playing this week.  Of the 30 at East Lake for the Tour Championship, the big blow for Safeway, not one wanted to make the trip to Napa.  It’s not a total disaster. Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Shane Lowry will be playing, but it will be a mix of players looking for their first PGA Tour win for this week.  It’s a shame because this is a fun week, a week of cruising some of the best wineries in the world, lot’s of great restaurants, playing on a great golf course in a place with excellent weather and fun to be at.  But it’s just not in the cards, and hopefully, Safeway, who is in the last year of their contract, will renew knowing that this event would usually have an excellent field for a great event.

About the Safeway Open:

This event was first called the Fry’s.Com Open and started in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2007 and after three years at Grayhawk transferred to CordeValle Golf Club, close to its sponsor’s headquarters in San Jose.  The hope was that CordeValle would be a temporary home as it’s been a dream to hold the event at the Institute Golf Course in Morgan Hill, CA.   But construction problems forced the event not to be played on the ultra-private course that very few had ever seen.  So CordeValle was to be a short-term fix and was until the event moved to Napa for 2015.  At the time, Napa was a short-term solution as the Institute Golf Course would get ready to hold the event. Still, after the success at Silverado and Frys dropping sponsorship, the event signed up Safeway as the title sponsor and, for the foreseeable future, will stay at the Silverado Resort, which is very popular with the players.

Course information:

Many will not remember, but Silverado was a proud site of the PGA Tour between 1968 to 1980 and then held a senior event, the Transamerica, between 1990 and 2002.  So Silverado had a deep relationship with professional golf.  The resort changed direction because it didn’t need to spend the money to host a professional golf event.  Napa Valley has become an excellent destination for couples over 40, between the great weather and the vineyards. Still, the resort lost some of its lusters over the years and needed some sprucing up. One of the areas that have been improved was the golf courses.  There are two of them, the South and the North. A couple of years ago, Johnny Miller put together an investment group that purchased the courses, and Miller reworked the North Course. What Miller did was revamped all of the greens, put in new bunkering, and realigned the fairways, and trimmed the trees that were too cumbersome.  Of course, because of the golf marketplace’s downturn, Miller didn’t go crazy by changing a lot of the holes, adding lakes and streams.  Still, Miller is happy at work, and he is hopeful of doing the same to the South Course.

So what will the pros find this week?  The greens are one of the things that Miller points out that makes it a better course.  “These greens are as tough as Augusta at high speeds,” Miller said to Golf.com. “I would probably have five three putts a round.”  The course was also increased from 6,900 to 7,166.  Now on the surface, this may be too short for the best pros in the world.  So I can see both the long-distance players having a field day while the shorter hitters were also enjoying shorter approaches to the greens.  One thing that was brought out in the 13 years it was played in the 70s,  the caliber of champions which included players like Billy Casper, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, and Ben Crenshaw among its winners.

Another critical aspect of the Miller redo, to improve playability and aesthetics, turf renovation, got rid of Kikuyu grass and returned the course to its original mix of rye and Kentucky bluegrass condition.

The course has become a big hit with the players, sponsors, and fans and provided some great theater.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Silverado.

This is based on the most vital stats from Silverado Resort, North course based on data from last year’s Safeway Open, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. Remember this is the first event of the 2020/21 season.
This is the seventh year that the Safeway Open is being played at Silverado, which has a history of holding PGA Tour events going back to the 60s. So the resort has had a deep relationship with professional golf. A couple of years ago, Johnny Miller put together an investment group to buy the Napa resort and two golf courses built in the 1960s. Both courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and were good, but they were never updated with the advent of new equipment. So when Miller came in, he wanted to rework the two courses and bring them up to date. He started first on the North Course by revamping all of the greens, put in new bunkering, realigned the fairways, and trimmed the too cumbersome trees. An essential item in the change was changing the greens by adding some undulation and making them very fast. Miller also added 300 yards so that it will play at a par 72 and 7,166 yards.
Last year the course played to a 71.24 scoring average, three-quarters of a shot under par. It was the 19th most demanding course on the PGA Tour. It played about the same as in 2019 when it was the 23rd hardest course with a 71.10 scoring average. Because of the lack of wind, it played a lot easier than in 2018 when it was 71.76 (23rd hardest) and in 2017 when it was 70.83. For the pros, the hardest aspect of the course is hitting fairways. Last year 50.03% of the fairways were hit as it was the 2nd hardest fairways to hit in 2020. Only Olympia Fields, site of the BMW Championship two weeks ago, were harder to hit. This is the norm for Silverado in 2019 53.65% of the fairways hit as it ranked the 4th hardest course to hit in 2019.
Even with the tight fairways, the players hit 65.73% of the greens last year, making it the 16th hardest course to hit in regulation. With that, 1,533 birdies were made on the course as only 12 other courses saw more birdies made, so hitting fairways and greens will lead to making a lot of birdies. The greens were the 10th hardest greens to score on as the players made over 70 feet of putts per round.
So a combination of hitting it far and straight is essential, and that is why our first category is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In looking at last year’s champion Cameron Champ, he was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-green, as he led in driving distance and was T-21st in driving accuracy. The previous year saw Kevin Tway win, and he was T-40th in Driving Accuracy and T-14th in driving distance, so he was 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Comparing this with Brendan Steele, who won back to back in 2018 and 2017, Steele was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-green in 2018 and 11th in 2017, so we can see the importance of this stat.
Our second most important category is Strokes Gained Around-the-Green. That is because last year, the course ranked 16th in greens hit. So for those that missed the green, they had to get it up and down to score well. Last year the players got it up and down from off the green 60.89%, making it the 28th course in scrambling. As for bunkering, the 18 greens have 36 bunkers around them, so many players will have to get up and down from the sand. Last year the course ranked 25th in Sand Save percentage, which ranked 25th. As for the champions, last year Cameron Champ was 19th in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green as he was 1st in scrambling and 11th in Sand Save percentage. In 2019 Kevin Tway was 7th in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green as he also was first in scrambling.
Our third category was Strokes Gained Putting. The greens are a combination of Poa annua and Bent, so we all know it takes a particular person to putt well on Poa annua greens. Last year Cameron Champ ranked 28th in Strokes Gained putting, while 2019 champion Kevin Tway was 18th, 2018 winner Brendan Steele was 29th, and in 2017 he was 6th.
Our last category is Par Breakers because to win, you have to make a lot of birdies, along with some eagles. Last year Silverado was 15th in Par Breakers as Cameron Champ was T-4th as he made 21 birdies, which also finished T-4th. In 2019 Kevin Tway was T-10th making 19 birdies. Brendan Steele was 5th in Par Breakers in 2018 and T-1st in 2017 when he made 24 birdies.

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Looks at the combination of length off the tee and accuracy, then getting the ball on the green so it determines who is best at all of these items.

*Strokes Gained Around-the-Green: Looks at the combination of gaining strokes by getting up and down after missing a green.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

*Par Breakers: Combination of birdies and eagles made to show under par scoring.

Of the 156 players in the field, 118 have stats on the PGA Tour for 2020:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to the other 108 stats for the Safeway Open

Of the 156 in the field, 136 have played at least once at Silverado between 2015 and 2020 for the Safeway Open:
  • Brendan Steele is 54 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Chez Reavie is 43 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Martin Laird is 37 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Emiliano Grillo is 36 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Harold Varner III is 35 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is 34 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 34 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Aaron Baddeley is 30 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Hunter Mahan is 30 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Bill Haas is 28 under in 12 rounds, playing 3 years
  • Johnson Wagner is 27 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Bud Cauley is 26 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Luke List is 26 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Fabian Gomez is 25 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Hudson Swafford is 22 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Zac Blair is 22 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Cameron Tringale is 21 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Lucas Glover is 21 under in 18 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Nick Watney is 21 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Patrick Rodgers is 21 under in 20 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Chesson Hadley is 20 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Graham DeLaet is 20 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Kevin Tway is 19 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)
  • Bill Haas is -28 under, playing 3 years (-9.3)
  • Brendan Steele is -54 under, playing 6 years (-9.0)
  • Cameron Percy is -18 under, playing 2 years (-9.0)
  • Brandt Snedeker is -34 under, playing 4 years (-8.5)
  • Phil Mickelson is -34 under, playing 4 years (-8.5)
  • Xinjun Zhang is -16 under, playing 2 years (-8.0)
  • Chez Reavie is -43 under, playing 6 years (-7.2)
  • Emiliano Grillo is -36 under, playing 5 years (-7.2)
  • Harold Varner III is -35 under, playing 5 years (-7.0)
  • Johnson Wagner is -27 under, playing 4 years (-6.8)
  • Bud Cauley is -26 under, playing 4 years (-6.5)
  • Luke List is -26 under, playing 4 years (-6.5)
  • Martin Laird is -37 under, playing 6 years (-6.2)
  • Hunter Mahan is -30 under, playing 5 years (-6.0)
  • Brice Garnett is -18 under, playing 3 years (-6.0)
  • Roger Sloan is -12 under, playing 2 years (-6.0)
  • Hudson Swafford is -22 under, playing 4 years (-5.5)
  • Nick Watney is -21 under, playing 4 years (-5.3)
  • Patton Kizzire is -16 under, playing 3 years (-5.3)
  • Aaron Baddeley is -30 under, playing 6 years (-5.0)
  • Fabian Gomez is -25 under, playing 5 years (-5.0)
  • Graham DeLaet is -20 under, playing 4 years (-5.0)
  • Ryan Blaum is -15 under, playing 3 years (-5.0)
  • Keegan Bradley is -10 under, playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Kyle Stanley is -10 under, playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Kevin Tway is -19 under, playing 4 years (-4.8)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Si Woo Kim – $10,800
  • Phil Mickelson – $10,600
  • Shane Lowry – $10,200
  • Brendan Steele – $10,000
  • Sergio Garcia – $9,900
  • Jordan Spieth – $9,800
  • Emiliano Grillo – $9,700
  • Chez Reavie – $9,600
  • Joel Dahmen – $9,500
  • Erik Van Rooyen – $9,400
  • Brandt Snedeker – $9,300
  • Doc Redman – $9,200
  • Harold Varner III – $9,100
  • Kevin Streelman – $9,000

Have to say this week will be easy in maneuvering and not going over the salary cap.  Of the 14 listed above, I would say that only a couple have a chance of winning, and of the above, I like Harold Varner III at $9,100.  He is on the cusp of winning and the course is good for him and he may surprise a lot of people this week.   Brendan Steele at $10,000 could pan out, he had a remarkable streak of winning this event in 2017 & ’18 and you have to think he knows how to do it and can accomplish the feat again.  Many will like Jordan Spieth at $9,800, I want to see some good play from him before I dive headfirst into him.  He has never seen the course, think the greens will be his liking, but afraid the tight fairways will do him in.  Don’t get suckered into the past of Shane Lowry, Phil Mickelson, and Sergio Garcia, don’t see many good things coming out of them and the last thing you want to see them do is struggling to make the cut.  Now Emiliano Grillo at $9,700 is a past champion and despite not playing well in this event since the 2016 win but his last couple of starts has been promising but his price is high.  Chez Reavie at $9,600 is also a person to look at, yes he was T-6th in Memphis last month but has struggled in the rest of his events.  I do like Brandt Snedeker at $9,300 because he has done well in this event almost winning it in 2019.  Also like Doc Redman at $9,200, the course is one that could be good for him.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Cameron Davis is $8,900 which is high, but he can have a good week.  He has had four good weeks in a row, was T-29th at the Northern Trust.  Bud Cauley at $8,600 has some upside.  He was T-7th in 2018 and could get it going.  Tyler Duncan at $8400 is also a good choice, he has had some good rounds since the break, his big problem is always putting together four solid rounds, that may not be in cards of other people interfering him.  Mark Hubbard at $8,100 is someone to watch, he knows the course and can find himself doing well.  Charl Schwartzel at $7,800 is someone to watch, he has always had the game to not only play well but win and this is a course that could suit him.  Remember last month as he was T-3rd at the 3M Open, could do the same this week.

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the Safeway Championship

Off the bat Luke List at $7,400 hits me as a player who is ready can win and do it on this course. He was T-4th in 2019, has had mixed results this year.  Watch Maverick McNealy at $7,300.  He is a Californian that can do damage on this course and he was 7th at Barracuda.  Think at worst he will make the cut.  I like Talor Gooch at $7,300, he has made two cuts at Silverado and can play well on this course.  Have to like Nick Watney at $6,800, he was T-10th last year at Silverado and does seem to play well in California.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Safeway Open:

The key stat for the winner:
  • In all six years of being played at Silverado, hitting fairways and putting became the keys to playing well.  Silverado had the 2nd hardest fairways to hit last year so hitting it straight is essential.  Also putting was important, on putting average it ranked T-28th out of 41 courses meaning that lots of putts were made.  So look for that trait in a possible winner this week.
Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:
  • Since the course is still new for a good share of the players, the experience will play a minimal role.  Traditionally tournaments on the PGA Tour that hold events for the first, second, and third year, are won by journeymen and players with minimum experience winning.  The last six winners Cameron Champ, Kevin Twa,y Sangmoon Bae, Emiliano Grillo, and Brendan Steele fit that bill so expect the unexpected for this week.
  • Johnny Miller says the greens are perfect and fast, so good putters should have a field day.
  • Scrambling is also very important because it’s not that demanding around the greens at Silverado.  Last year it ranked 28th hardest, so to win you have to get up and down on those greens you miss.
  • Lastly, the trend is for a journeyman pro to win, think that will be broken this week as a marquee name wins..
  • Weather is going to be picture perfect but the players are going to hate the winds which will average 15 mph each day with Sunday having the highest.  So look for higher scores.

 

Who to watch for at the Safeway Open

Best Bets:

Harold Varner III

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T17 T14 T59 T15 T48

We have seen him play well early but fade, this is an event on a course that he can win.

Brandt Snedeker

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T17 T2 T17 T57

Still surprised that he hasn’t made a mark on the PGA Tour since the Farmers, he was T-2nd at Safeway in 2019 so we know anything can happen.

Charl Schwartzel

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T6

Injuries have held him back, but he can play good courses like Silverado and he may come through this week. Played once at Silverado and was T-6th in 2016 with all rounds under par.

Best of the rest:

Doc Redman

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT

His putting on poa annua isn’t bad, ranking inside the top 45 since the restart, but the ball-striking has been great, ranking 4th since June.

Brendan Steele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T60 T53 Win Win T17 T21 CUT CUT T7

Won here twice, you know he likes these kind of courses because he was 2nd at Sony in Hawaii earlier this year.

Cameron Davis

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T17

Has all the stats to play well, hits it straight and makes lot’s of birdies.

Emiliano Grillo

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T41 T28 T26 Win

Won at Silverado in his first event with a PGA Tour card, is looking to regain those magical moments.

Luke List

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T4 T37 T26

This is a guy that can win at any time, was T-4th at Silverado in 2019. If he putts well he will win.

Bud Cauley

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T44 T46 T7 T50 71 T55 3

Another of these guys that are great from tee to green and if they could find their putting could rule the world. Was T-7th at Silverado in 2018 but when he first turned pro almost won this event in 2011 when it was played in Arizona.

Patrick Rodgers

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T44 T25 T43 CUT T6 CUT

He has the exact difference of Cauley, he is great on the green but George of the Jungle with the driver. But he plays the course well, in 2016 was in contention and finished T-6th, so he can play well at Silverado.

Do these marquee guys have a chance?

Phil Mickelson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T17 T3 T8

Has played well at Silverado, was T-3rd in 2018 and T-8th in 2017. Just a roll of the dice with him, he is rested and looking forward to Winged Foot so who knows if by chance he finds himself in the running this week.

Jordan Spieth

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Playing at Silverado for the first time, greens are perfect for him but his driver may hinder him.

Sergio Garcia

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Never played in this event, in his prime this would of been a perfect course for his game. Has struggled since his last win on the European Tour last year at the KLM, still he was T-5th at Hilton Head so he does have some game left.

Shane Lowry

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Playing course for the first time, he is still looking for his game which seems to have been left at Royal Portrush.

Long shots that could come through:

Mark Hubbard

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T13 CUT T30 T53 69

Hubbard can roll it on poa annua greens, ranking 9th over the previous 24 rounds. Hubbard’s only missed the cut once at Silverado in five starts and finished 13th in Napa Valley last season.

Maverick McNealy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T52 T63 T52

Young kid from California who can putt well on poa annua and could sneak up and win this.

Nick Watney

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T10 CUT T35 T64 T20

Another Californian from a by-gone era that would like to regain his glory years. Has had some good rounds at Silverado including a 65 in the second round last year when he finished T-10th.

Comments

  1. tommcgarvey@gmail.com says:

    Hi Sal,

    Maybe I’ve got this wrong but this course looks like it’s set up for the big hitters? It seems if you hit it long you can miss fairways and get away with it?

  2. Yes, it does, but normally the rough is hard to get out of. But if you look at last year’s winner, Champ is the longest hitter on tour. Still it’s better to be in the rough 100 yards away than 170 yards.

  3. tommcgarvey@gmail.com says:

    True that. Thanks Sal. I went for Steele, Redman, Varner, Spieth(putting), McNealy and a wild outsider but big hitter Vegas.

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