2019 Safeway Open
The PGA Tour heads out west to breathtaking Napa, Calif., this week for the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort.
Kevin Tway returns as the defending champion after outlasting Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker in a playoff there one year ago.
This time around, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Francesco Molinari are all part of a stacked, early-season field.
RELATED: Here’s how the caddie picks fared at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship
So which players should you be watching closely this week at Silverado?
To help answer that question, we reached out to three experts – the people who walk alongside the players inside the ropes each week – the caddies.
Each caddie – anonymously – provided a pick to win, a darkhorse pick (darkhorses must be outside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking) and a player to finish inside the top 10.
Winning Pick: Justin Thomas
Why: I would say that I think JT was frustrated with last season because of the injury early on. Sure, he finished strong, won a playoff event and went to East Lake with a two-stroke advantage, but I think he’s still a little bummed with how the year went, overall. He’s going to come out hungry this year. He’ll play well this week. Last year wasn’t what he wanted.
Darkhorse Pick: Adam Schenk
Why: He made the cut last week at Sanderson and this is going to be his third week in a row playing. He’s got some momentum. He also had a solid finish here last year (T14) and likes the course. It’s supposed to be windy this week and he plays well in tough conditions. Adam flights it low, so I’d look for him to play well.
Top-10 finisher: Patrick Cantlay
Why: He’s a California guy, who is used to these poa annua greens. It seems like he always finishes in the top 10 anytime he plays – he had nine top 10s in 21 starts last year. He always seems to get himself up on the board somewhere. Should be no different this week.
Winning Pick: Hideki Matsuyama
Why: A world-class player, Hideki really turned it on in the playoffs last season with two, top-10 finishes in the three events. He’ll be excited to get going this week after some rest. I expect he’ll be right back in the mix. He’s got a great track record at Silverado with a T3 in both 2014 and 2015.
Darkhorse Pick: Ryan Moore
Why: I was shocked when I saw that Ryan is the 85th-ranked player in the world right now. That just doesn’t seem right. I like him this week because I believe in horses for courses. He’s played great here the last few years, including a T2 last season, where he lost in a playoff to Kevin Tway (which Brandt Snedeker was also a part of).
Top-10 finisher: Brandt Snedeker
Why: Nothing great last week from Brandt at Sanderson Farms (T45), but I just have a feeling it was a good warm up and he’ll be ready to go this week. Tough greens out here at Silverado and when Brandt’s putter is on, he’s tough.
Winning Pick: Patrick Cantlay
Why: We’re back on his side of the world. He absolutely loves poa annua greens. Great ball striker and that will come in handy this week.
Darkhorse Pick: Emiliano Grillo
Why: He knocked the rust off last week in Jackson finishing middle of the pack. He’s a past champion in Napa (2015). Emiliano will lean on past experience here to have another solid finish this week.
Top-10 finisher: Sungjae Im
Why: He’s hot right now. Sungjae is coming off a playoff loss last week. It’s a matter of time before he breaks through. Also, he finished T4 in his debut here last year. He just tends to play very solid each week and should be coming in with confidence.