The Confidence Factor: 2019 Safeway Open

Since it’s the 2018-19 season, yes, I’m going with 2019!

Two-Snaps should get a look or two this week since he owns the course record but there’s only one guy who stands out here…

Back with picks later this afternoon and alternate OAD selections.

Now updated with picks!

Safeway Open

Silverado Resort & Spa

North Course

Napa, California


Silverado Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,166
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Bentgrass, Poa annua; 6,200 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter: 11.5′
Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass, rye at 3.5 inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards 50/2
Architects: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (1967); Johnny Miller Group (2010).
Purse: $6.4 million; $1.152 winner plus 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion (event): Brendan Steele (2016, 2017)
Fact of the Week: This is only the fifth event at Silverado so nothing before 2014 should be used.
Fact of the Week II: Steve Stricker was the last player to win an event in three consecutive years (John Deere Classic 2009-2011) on TOUR.



  • 144 players, top 70 and ties play the weekend.
  • First event of the 2018-19 season.
  • Greyhawk (Scottsdale) and Corde Valle were the previous hosts before 2014. The data from those events are irrelevant for me.



2017-18 Winners

Looking back to look forward as you’ll notice no Spieth, Fowler, Scott, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Fleetwood, Finau, Stenson or Garcia.

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)
RBC Canadian Open Dustin Johnson (3)
Barracuda Championship Andrew Putnam*
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas (3)
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Wyndham Championship Brandt Snedeker
THE NORTHERN TRUST FEC I Bryson DeChambeau (2)
Dell Technologies FEC II Bryson DeChambeau (3)
BMW Championship FEC III Keegan Bradley
TOUR Championship Tiger Woods


The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM. I’ve included the link here for you. Please read as I’m not going to write it all out here.


Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 270 (-18); Steele
Course Record: 61; Chesson Hadley (Rd. 2), 2017.
Recent Defending Champion(s): Steele (2016, 2017)
Multiple Winners (event or course): Steele (2016, 2017)
First TOUR Win (last): Emiliano Grillo, first event with a TOUR card, 2015.
First-time Event: Grillo
Low Round 2017: Hadley
Odd Fact: Tyler Duncan, a rookie, tried to go wire-to-wire last year but finished T5.


Quick Thoughts

Brendan Steele rakes here regardless of form and reinforces the point that course history can matter.

Sangmoon Bae (2014) and Emiliano Grillo (2015) have both countered that by winning in their first loops at the course.

The average winning score is 15-under and change so that tells me that par isn’t worth much this week.

The track will have some teeth if the wind is up and guys are hitting it crooked but there aren’t many scores of 72 and over on the top parts of the last four leaderboard.

Event Winners:

Event Year Player Notes
2017 Brendan Steele, 273 (-15) Beat the wind on Sunday to come from behind.
2016 Brendan Steele, 270 (-18) Shot the co-low of the day and watched the leaders not be able to keep up.
2015 Emiliano Grillo Won a playoff over Kevin Na (not in the field this week)
2014 Sangmoon Bae Led by four, shot 73 on Sunday and still won by two.



Brendan Steele: Check his form entering this event last year. Look familiar? He’s 50-under in four tries with a 76 on the card.

Adam Hadwin: His worst round in the three FedExCup events was 71. His worst finish was T21.

Joaquin Niemann: Finished last year second in GIR, second in birdies and 14th in scoring. I’m not waiting.

Patrick Cantlay: West Coast player won’t have any problem adapting for his first visit. Hits it too well and won a putting contest in Vegas last year in the fall.

Ryan Moore: Another West Coaster who was T10 here in 2016 and T17 in 2018. Top 25 in scoring average and top 50 in both fairways and greens.

Emiliano Grillo: He’s 30-under in three trips with T28, T26 and first to show for his troubles. Proven commodity here.

Chris Kirk: Leads the TOUR with a streak of 12 cuts made and is 19-under in his last two times here with three rounds of par-or-WORSE! STAY OUT OF THE CELLAR!

Brandt Snedeker: He should be rested and ready after almost a month off. No news is good news and he can provide birdies in bunches.

Denny McCarthy: After finishing No. 149 in the FedExCup season points he went to the Playoffs and won the whole damn thing. After solo fourth at Punta Cana, he rattled off 11 of 13 cuts so something was brewing. He won’t sneak up on anybody anymore.

Phil Mickelson: If these are projections, and they are, he belongs here as he’s played the last two years and is 26-under (T3, T8). It’s up to YOU to decide if this hit and giggle is exactly what he needs to get back on track. If there’s ONE THING about Mickelson we know is that we don’t know. I’ve always erred on the side of courses he plays well as my tie-breaker.


Next Tier

Peter Uihlein: It’s going to happen on a Par-72.

Adam Schenk: If you believe in riding the hot hand regardless of TOUR, you’ll wanna look here. Another rookie on TOUR last year that missed out on the FedExCup Playoffs (No. 157) he fleeced the playoffs for T35, T9, T2 and T8. Of his last 12 rounds 10 are 68 or better.

Scott Piercy: Form isn’t anything to write about but the last two years he’s cashed for T3 and T17 without breaking 70 on the weekend. Now make the leap and not Stag’s Leap on Friday night!

Anders Albertson: Made 20 of 23 cuts on the and only two of those paydays were worse than T35. He was 17th in GIR and fifth in putting average and posted a 62, 63 or 64 in his last three events (T9, T2 and T31).

Luke List: Bombs away as he’ll be able to shorten this track (and every track he plays) and take advantage of the Par-5 holes. I’m trying to get ahead before the candle is lit.

J.J. Spaun: Top 35 in both fairways and greens but can struggle with the putter. Cashed T3 last time on this coast at Barracuda.

Chesson Hadley: Top 40 in scoring average last year and holds the course record.

Martin Laird: With a pair of top-10 paydays and a T17 in four tries, yep, no-brainer. Of those 16 rounds, 14 are under par and he loves this part of the world. Check his Barracuda history for more proof.

Jamie Lovemark: Missed only two cuts the rest of the season after cutting out early at Torrey Pines. Grew up on Bent/Poa.

Chez Reavie: He plays this event annually and his last three are have cashed T17, T22 and T13 last year. Sprinkler lines and GIR isn’t a bad combo here.

Tyrone van Aswegen: He has four top-10 paycheck stubs on TOUR. Two are from this event.

Cameron Davis: Lanky, hits it a mile and finished seventh in GIR, third in putting average and second in birdie average on the Claimed third in the first and last playoff events so he’s also warm.

Dylan Frittelli: He’s cashed in last five events starting with the PGA Championship and all four playoff events. #Form.

Bronson Burgoon: Destroys Par-3 and Par-5 holes because he’s long and strong. Top 60 in too many categories to count and T17 last year.

Sangmoon Bae: If I’m going to take a shot it’s going to be this event for the 2015 champ.

Kevin Tway: Closed the season cashing 12 of 13 events.


Head’s Up!

Harold Varner, III: Wind got him last year in the final round (81) and his nerves did the same in his maiden voyage in 2016 (79). His white whale.

Curtis Luck: Young Aussie played 10 TOUR events in 2016-17 so the roof of his mouth won’t be sunburned this week. He’s also cashed in the top 10 in three of his final five starts.

Fabian Gomez: Three-for-three with T43 or better in each. DFS gold.

Tyler McCumber: Had a four-tournament stretch on the Mackenzie Tour in late summer that resulted in win, win, third and win. Sponsor’s exemption this week but gamers need to be aware. Yes, Mark McCumber is his dad so there’s #Pedigree.

Tyler Duncan: Seemed to fit his eye in his first try last year!

Andres Gonzales: In three starts here he’s cashed T26 and T35 so this is a Monday qualifier flier that makes sense.

Cameron Champ: Had a streak of six events (for him) where he was T11 or better last summer. Lovely long shot this week.

Max Homa: Pair of top-10 paydays in the middle two playoff events and Cal-Berkeley grad.

Bud Cauley: Sweet, he’s back! He’ll make his return for the first time since a bad car wreck at the Memorial. He was T7 last year after being blown away for 74 on Sunday.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me



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