Knowing they are running up against a tough time of year for the ultra-competitive sports/entertainment dollar, the organizers of the Safeway Open – the first stop on the PGA Tour’s wrap-around season – are once again turning the event at the Silverado Resort and Spa into a party.

On a weekend where the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders are both playing, as well as California, Stanford and San Jose State are all playing, with Stanford hosting Oregon and San Jose State hosting Fresno State.

On top of that, it’s Fleet Week, meaning the Blue Angels are in town. Keeping all that in mind, it’s time to make it an event, not just a golf tournament.

“This a golf festival with an entertainment twist,” said Jeff Sanders, the Executive Director of the tournament, as well as the Vice-President of golf events for Lagardere Sports and Entertainment that runs the tournament. “This is the best value of any golf tournament.”

It would be hard to argue with Sander’s assessment.

For starters, buy a ticket to get in to the Johnny Miller hosted event and you get access to all the festivities. Tickets start as low as $30 and with that ticket, you’re in to the on-course hospitality venues. There is no cover charge and no upgrade ticket needed.

Here are the venues available for the basic ticket price. Of course, there is a cost for the food or beverages once inside each venue, but as a ticket holder you can free access to the following sites.

Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion: This air conditioned 25,000 square foot venue features food from the Safeway Signature brands as well as famous chefs such as Thomas Keller, Masaharu Morimoto and Charlie Palmer. Pair your food with a glass of wine, a tasting flight or a beverage from the 360-degree sports bar. New this year is an additional 5,000 feet of outdoor seating.

Beers Fore Birdies: It’s Happy Hour on the 16th green. Beers Fore Bridies features discounted beer every time a player makes a birdie or eagle. Last year there were 139 birdies on the hole.

Spirits Lounge: If you are in the mood for a specialty cocktail, watch your favorite players from the Spirits Lounge, greenside on the 17th hole.

The Brew Loft: This is green-side on the par 3, 11th hole and features more than a dozen beers you can chose from while watching the pros play the beautiful holes.

If that’s not enough peripheral events, the Safeway Open concert series is back and this year’s lineup is impressive. Thursday, Oct. 4 it is Gavin DeGraw taking the Chevron Stage on the mansion lawn.

Friday, October 5 sees Weezer as the headliners, with the Goo Goo Dolls closing it out on Saturday, October 6. The cost? Free with your admission ticket.

Oh, there is the golf tournament going on as well. The tournament, in its second year with Safeway as the title sponsor, carries a $6 million purse with first place taking home $1,080,000. Brendan Steele is the defending champion.

Headlining the field again this year will be fan favorite Phil Mickelson. John Daly, always a fan favorite, has been given an exemption into the field. Last year’s field also included Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Paul Casey. Former champion Emiliano Grillo was recently names as a Captain’s pick to the International team for the upcoming President’s Cup.

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By Dennis Miller


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