Kevin Tway and his dad, Bob Tway, an eight-time champion on the PGA Tour and the winner of the PGA Championship in 1986, make sure to talk every night.
They talk after every round that Kevin plays on Tour.
“We talk a lot about a lot of different things,” Bob said from his home in Oklahoma.
“He knows my swing so well,” Kevin said. “He knows what kind of tendencies I have, where I’m aiming, why I hit that one left. So we talk after every round about each shot and what I was feeling and what I wasn’t feeling.”
Kevin spent a week at home with his dad in late September, getting ready for the start of a new season on the PGA Tour.
“He’s a big part of why I’m sitting here,” Kevin said in the media room at Silverado Resort and Spa on Sunday night.
Kevin Tway won for the first time in his career, as he beat Ryan Moore on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture the Safeway Open, a $6.4 million tournament on the North Course. Tway birdied the final two holes of regulation to tie for the lead and get into the playoff with Moore and Brandt Snedeker. Tway then made three consecutive birdies in the playoff, which ended just 10 minutes before sunset.
Snedeker was eliminated on the first playoff hole. Tway won it with a birdie putt from 10 feet on the third extra hole, the par-4 10th. He hit 2-iron off the tee and a pitching wedge from 123 yards on his approach shot.
“The last month that he’s had off, we talked about things that he could do to get better and things like that,” Bob Tway said in a telephone interview. “But we also kind of knew that even though he didn’t finish as well last year as he did the prior year, I thought he actually played better. He just didn’t finish it off very good the few times that he had a chance to do really well.
“We talked about that a lot. We went over the stats about what he needed to do a little bit better. He’s been playing well. But you know how it is. It’s very tough to win and do well.”
The Safeway Open was Kevin Tway’s 91st start on the PGA Tour. He has 55 made cuts and now has seven Top-10 finishes in his career. He receives the winner’s share of $1,152,000 and 500 FedExCup points.
Furthermore, he gets an exemption to the Masters and a spot into the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Maui next year.
It was a big day all the way around for the Tway family. Bob and Kevin become the 10th father-son duo to win on the PGA Tour. After Kevin met with reporters to talk about his victory, Bob was contacted at his home and spoke about how emotional of a day it was.
“People always ask the kids, ‘Is it hard to play with a father who has played on the Tour,’ ” Bob Tway said. “When they’re young, I think it is. I think there are expectations that other people have and I think you feel it. But I think overall – and I think Kevin would even admit – that it’s a good thing. There’s a lot of knowledge that can be passed by.
“But the other thing is, he’s been able to play golf and pick the brains of not only myself, but Scott Verplank, Willie Wood; all the guys that are my good friends. So when he went on Tour, he got to know these people, so I think he’s just gained a lot from a lot of different people.”
Tway was tied for 22nd after a first-round 68 in Napa. He was tied for fifth at 9-under after a 67 in the second round. He was alone in second at 13-under, three shots off the lead, after firing a 68 in the third round.
The winds were swirling and blew hard – gusting up to 36 mph – for most of the final round, creating difficult conditions. Tway made birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to cap a round of 71 and complete regulation at 14-under for the week, joining Moore (67) and Snedeker (74) atop the leaderboard.
“It feels really good to win the first tournament,” said Tway, 30, a four-time All American at Oklahoma State who turned pro in 2011 and joined the Tour in 2014. “I was a little more nervous with the conditions. For me, it was almost harder before the round started. Hitting balls on the range, I feel like that’s the windiest spot. It was blowing like 40 (mph). My hat was flying off. I was hitting with my hat on backwards. I was kind of worried about what to expect. Once I got going, I was just trying to beat the golf course.”
Tway, a resident of Jupiter, Florida, birdied his final five holes of the day, including Nos. 18-18-10 in the playoff, to get the win. His previous best finishes were a pair of third-place showings in 2017 (Valero Texas Open, Zurich Classic of New Orleans).
“It’s a lot harder than you think to win,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s been a long road. But it’s nice to finally get here.
“It hasn’t sunk in now, but I’m pretty excited. I’m ready to call dad, to be honest.”
Tway made 24 cuts in 31 starts last season and reached the FedExCup Playoffs for the second consecutive time. He finished No. 87 in the FedExCup.
The Safeway Open, presented by Chevron, is the first event of the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 wrap-around schedule that bridges two years. The tournament is part of the FedExCup schedule.
This is the third year of the Safeway Open, which is part of the PGA Tour’s 46-tournament schedule for 2018-19 that concludes with three FedExCup Playoff events.
Moore draws positives from week
Ryan Moore, a five-time PGA Tour winner, recorded his eighth runner-up finish. He had rounds of 67, 67, 73 and 67. His closing round featured three birdies in his final four holes.
“Just to be here and have a chance was great,” said Moore. “I didn’t play bad golf in the playoff. I hit really good shots when I needed to, which was a positive. Definitely a lot of positives. (Tway) just played better golf. He birdied three straight holes on me in a playoff.”