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Thanks to the longtime efforts of Napa County resident Johnny Miller, all eyes of the professional golf world will be focused on Silverado Resort and Spa beginning Thursday morning at 7:20, the official first tee time at the 2017 PGA Safeway Open.

Miller, a member of both the PGA and World Golf Hall of Fame, is the unofficial host of the tournament and World Champion Ambassador of “all things” Napa Valley.

It’s pretty amazing to hear him speak of his fondness and ties to our community while traveling the globe as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports.

The free nationally televised travel destination promos, combined with his local contributions as business owner, investor, philanthropist, and primary influencer of ensuring Silverado remains on the list of PGA tour venues, were all major factors when the Napa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and civic stakeholders voted Miller 2016 Citizen of the Year at the NCC Annual Meeting and Awards last January.

I can’t imagine Miller and Silverado General Manager John Evans envisioning the event growing and expanding so rapidly after announcing the partnership with Albertsons (Safeway’s parent company) and Lagardere Sports in 2015.

The commitment of Albertsons’ Chairman and CEO Bob Miller and the execution of Jeff Sanders, Executive Vice President and “first lieutenant” Matt McEvoy at Lagardere Sports have resulted in the Safeway Open becoming a premier Napa Valley showcase of food, wine, music and golf.

Lagardere has done a great job of marketing the event – both nationally and locally – as an opportunity to enjoy a first-class destination experience while getting up-close-and-personal with the best of the PGA. You don’t have to be a fan of the game of golf to appreciate the event experience.

For foodies, there’s the 25,000 square-foot Safeway Food and Wine Pavilion featuring chefs Thomas Keller, Masaharu Morimoto and Charlie Palmer; for music fans there’s the three-day concert series featuring Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer and Gavin DeGraw.

There’s even Beers Fore Birdies for those looking to take full advantage of that unexcused missed day of work. For true golf fans, the course at Silverado provides one the most intimate settings on the PGA Tour, and that always results in a few memorable moments of interaction with the PGA pros on hand.

Locals have long embraced the PGA at Silverado dating back to the Kaiser International in 1968. Unlike many of the other things that have grown and changed in and around our community, they continue to embrace the PGA, and appreciate being a part of a very small fraternity of fortunate host PGA Tour cities.

This event is great for the local economy and a huge hit with the businesses and charities. Even the volunteer program was immediately enhanced upon the new partnership announcement.

The NCC Golf Tournament was also revived and wouldn’t be possible without Safeway, Lagardere Sports and Silverado Resort and Spa.

The Pre-Golf Tournament VIP Party at Kitchen Collective featured guest appearances by Gary Payton, Charles Phan (chef/owner Slanted Door) and Philip Tessier (Bocuse d’Or Gold Medal winner).

A good time was had by all, and we’re looking forward to spending a day enjoying everything today’s Pro-Am has to offer.

Travis Stanley is the president and CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. Call 226-7455 or visit napachamber.com.

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