GET INTO GOLF: PGA Tour tees off new season in Napa
Have you ever stood behind someone on the driving range, mouth open, eyes fixed, because the player never misses a shot? Every ball starts slightly to the right of the target. As it begins to reach its apex, the ball arcs and continues on a line toward the intended target. The player then breaks from a poised, nearly statuesque position, and reaches for a new ball from a pile of several dozen.
Alter your gaze to the next player and you get a very similar result. The ball might start left of the target or fly a little higher, but it still finds its destination…virtually every time.
Thousands of enthusiastic fans are spread throughout 100 acres of a world class golf course, some gathering in locations of the course, cheering on their favorite player. Not only is this great fun, it’s educational.
If you’ve never attended a Tour event, you owe it to yourself to make the trip. Just such an occasion presents itself this weekend in Napa, the opportunity to see how it’s done by those who play the game for a living. Held at the Silverado Country Club, it is the Safeway Open, a restart of the PGA Tour season and reset to the FedEx points list.
Traditionally, the Tour has moved along with the calendar year. However, recently a type of fiscal year has taken shape. As you might expect, its driven by money (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and here’s the perspective.
Following the Tour Championship, which took place near the end of September, the rest of the year used to be described as the “silly season.” Please don’t misunderstand, there were entertaining events on the schedule.
For example, we had a Father/Son event, a Three-Tour Challenge, and a Skins Game (more about that one next month). Yet, the fields were limited and the earnings did not count toward the annual list.
But, if you are FedEx and have sponsored the Tour on an annual basis, you do not want wasted weeks or months. Therefore, the change was made to follow the final FedEx Cup playoff event (Tour Championship) with the new schedule. FedEx points are wiped clean and everybody starts fresh.
Now I know there are some of you that think…hmmm…if we go watch the event in person, I’m going to miss some of the stuff on TV. Not to worry, each week the Tour has streaming video available on virtually any mobile device. You can follow one player and still get highlights of other groups from anywhere on the course.
Attending any Tour event is an amazing experience and with this event being in the heart of the wine country you might plan for an overnighter. The Safeway Open also has a concert series, a Food & Wine Pavilion, and Sports Bar. For tickets to the event, visit SafewayOpen.com.
John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides Golf Instruction at local courses.
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