With the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season officially ending yesterday in Atlanta, we now move into a long offseason. An offseason that lasts all of 2 days.
There are many questions that need to be asked. Rest vs. rust? Who took this crucial time to work out the flaws in their games? Who will be more invested in Napa Valley wine country than in the actual tournament itself? We’ll dive into how the players will need to attack the par 72, 7,166 yard Silverado Resort and Spa – North Course and the keys to success for the week. I’ll be blunt. This field is a total dud. Most people can probably name about 10 players in the field, but these are the type of tournaments that I love the most. You know why? Because money is money, and it sure as hell beats a 30-man field with a staggered start. Let’s start the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season in fashion at the Safeway Open with this week’s edition of Hot or Not.
Hot: Brendan Steele (+2800)
Brendan Steele LOVES wine country. The amateur sommelier also happens to love the Silverado Resort and Spa – North Course. A winner here in 2016 and 2017, Steele will not only lean on past success, but also solid form, heading into this year’s edition of the Safeway Open. Steele has gained tee-to-green in his last 6 starts and should feel comfortable on the poa annua grass greens. If Steele is able to reel in his driver this week, there’s a solid chance that his name will be near the top come Sunday.
Hot: Mark Hubbard (+7000)
Hubba Hubba. I am oozing over the thought of Mark Hubbard winning this week. With a field this weak, you need to get creative with players you write about it. A T13 here last year and decent form is enough for me to get excited (It honestly doesn’t take much these days). Hubbard’s tee-to-green game seems to at least be somewhat there and the putter, as we know, is always there. Typically I try to target ball strikers who might find some magic on the dance floor, but this week I am more than okay in trying something a little different.
Not: Matt Kuchar (+2000)
The cheapest man in golf returns to Napa Valley for the first time since 2016. And I am betting that he won’t be bringing his golf game (probably too much to check on the flight). Kuch has been abysmal tee-to-green, failing to gain strokes on the field in 6 of his 8 starts. In his previous starts here, he failed to figure out the putting surfaces – the part of his game he has relied heavily on as of late. It’s tough to say if his form is going to be as poor this week, and being a weaker field, his stats may actually pop in comparison to a normal field, but at +2000 it’s a no go.
Not: Brandt Snedeker (+3300)
In addition to Kuch, I’ll be picking on another big name this week, and that’ll be Brandt Snedeker. Something just ain’t right with Sneds. His struggles on the golf course can be traced back all the way to February. He has never been known as a ball striking extraordinaire, but more of a wizard on the greens. He does have a decent history here, and while the chance of Sneds catching fire on poa annua grass greens is very real, I am willing to take a chance and say his poor ball striking will be too much to overcome.
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