The ownership group and management team at Silverado Resort and Spa, the home of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open, made monetary donations on Saturday, Feb. 9 to four Napa Valley high schools for their golf programs.
Napa, Vintage, Justin-Siena and American Canyon high schools were each presented with checks for $4,000 for their boys and girls golf teams.
Owners and staff from Silverado, including World Golf Hall of Fame member and 25-time PGA Tour champion Johnny Miller, were on hand during an hour-long program in the Members’ Clubhouse to present the checks to coaches from the schools.
Miller, who is one of Silverado’s owners, recently retired after a 29-year career as the lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. Miller is a two-time major champion, having won the U.S. Open in 1973 and the Open Championship in 1976.
“Every little bit helps high school golf,” said Miller, who was the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1974 when he captured eight titles. “We’re going to try to help out even more in the future. I’m going to try to talk to these coaches and see what other needs they have and see if I can help them out there.”
The contributions are part of the resort’s “Spotlight on the Community” program, as announced by John Evans, Silverado’s general manager and one of the owners.
“We’re working hard to put Silverado Resort in the community under what we call ‘The Spotlight,’ ” said Evans. “The donations that the Silverado Resort and Spa are making this year are the beginning of donations that you’ll start to see a little more frequently in our community.
“We’re extremely blessed to have the membership that supports the resort. Golf is obviously near and dear to all of us, and we know it’s got to begin at a young age if you want to get good at the game. To watch somebody with a true expertise of the game is a true enjoyment.”
Silverado’s ownership group also consists of Tim Wall, Ken Leister and Roger Kent.
“This is the first of a series of contributions to our community that we are going to begin to make,” said Evans. “We hope to do this every year as we go forward. We’re just so pleased with the support we have received from this beautiful community here in Napa Valley.
“You’re motivated to give back. It is a special place to live here and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Miller also assists junior golf through the Johnny Miller Champ Foundation. Miller founded the Utah Junior Golf Association.
“I’ve been a pretty good donor to Northern California junior golf associations,” said Miller, who won four times on Tour in 1975 and is an eight-time Emmy award nominee. “We’re going to do more of that and probably increase what we’re doing. That’s sort of my way of giving back a little bit. I like to help out.”
Miller played one of his first tournaments on the PGA Tour at Silverado in 1969 and won Kaiser International Open titles here in 1974 and 1975.
The four high schools are members of a first-year league — Vine Valley Athletic League, part of the CIF North Coast Section. Girls golf is played as a fall sport and boys golf is played in the spring.
Also on hand for the event was Cody Sherrill, the director of golf operations at Silverado, and Tom Sims, Silverado’s head golf professional.
Troon, a golf management company headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, manages the golf department at Silverado.
“We’re here today to show our support for four great high school programs and to support junior golf,” said Evans. “This opportunity just wouldn’t be possible without the great partnership we have with the Safeway Open.”
Each of the four coaches — Cory Roche of Napa, Arvin Persaud of Vintage, Ray Graziani of Justin-Siena and Jim Saylor of American Canyon — expressed their thanks and appreciation to Silverado for the donations.
“Amazing,” said Roche. “To see a number like that on a check, I haven’t really been able to even process yet what that might mean. But it will continue to open more opportunities for Napa High golf, for the girls and the boys. I look forward to getting a chance to putting that to work for them. It might mean clubs for kids. It might mean access to tournaments or courses. It just opens up that many more doors for us.”
Persaud said, “I’m kind of overwhelmed. It’s just a great gesture for Silverado and the Millers and everyone who is part of this organization to donate this amount of money to all the high school programs.”
Said Graziani, “It means a lot that they’re so involved with the youth golf in the area and to support the local schools. It will help the programs and I think we’ll be able to supply some things to the boys and girls golf programs at Justin-Siena and the other high schools, that may make them a little bit more excited about the sport even. We’ll certainly look at all the different ways that we could use it. It will go a long ways. I can’t thank Silverado enough.”
Saylor stepped down this winter as American Canyon girls head coach after seven seasons and as boys coach after six seasons, but is now assisting new boys head coach Scott Hayburn.
“That $4,000 is huge. It gives us some breathing room ,” Saylor said. “We don’t have to worry about fundraising this year and probably next year. It will help with transportation, equipment and, possibly, jackets for the kids.”
Matt McEvoy, the tournament director, was on hand to represent the Safeway Open, which is part of the FedExCup schedule. Safeway is the title sponsor. The five-year agreement runs through 2020 with the PGA Tour event remaining at Silverado for the duration.
The Safeway Open is part of the PGA Tour’s 46-tournament schedule for 2018-19 that concludes with three FedExCup Playoff events. The PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule bridges two years.
Played on the North Course at Silverado the last three years, the Safeway Open was honored by the PGA Tour at its tournament meetings in La Quinta, Calif.
The Safeway Open, a $6.2 million event that opens the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 schedule, shared honors with the Waste Management Phoenix Open as “Most Fan-First Event,” the Tour announced.
The newly introduced award recognizes significant enhancements to the on-site fan experience, according to a press release.
The Safeway Open, presented by Chevron, was also a finalist for the Best in Class Element Award for the Safeway Food & Wine Pavilion and the Best Special Event Award for the three-night Safeway Open Concert Series, it was announced.
This year’s tournament is Sept. 23-29.
“We’re really excited about the field this year,” said McEvoy. “We’re optimistic that we’re going to have the best field of PGA Tour players that we’ve ever had here.”
Added Miller, “Hopefully we’ll get four days of perfect weather. And we are going to get an amazing field. There’s no doubt the field is going to be way better than it’s been.”