The 2022-23 PGA Tour season gets underway this week with the Fortinet Championship.
Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course in Napa, California, is the venue.
It’s hosted this event, under different names, since 2014. The tournament originated in 2007.
Silverado North is a 7,166-yard par-72. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1966 and redesigned by Johnny Miller in 2011. The course is easier than average by PGA Tour standards.
Players are asked to hit it straight and avoid the tree-lined rough.
Less than driver is ok on many par-4s and par-5s to make this an easier task.
The bentgrass/poa annua greens are fairly large, soft, and generally not lightning quick. The course in recent years has played a bit firmer than the tournament’s earlier days.
This week’s field of 156 players is pretty weak with none of the top 10 from the Official World Golf Rankings in attendance.
One reason for that is last week’s BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour, which brought over a lot of top players. Also, next week’s Presidents Cup has led to a lot of talent playing at Quail Hollow to skip an event across the country in California.
Weather for the week predicts to be dry and warm with temperatures in the 50s-80s and not much wind. Firm and fast conditions are a possibility, though PGA Tour layouts never get too baked out.
Let’s dive into the top 10 picks to click this week in wine country:
I keep thinking it’s time to cut Brendan Steele loose from the Fortinet Championship power rankings. Yet, here I am giving him perhaps one more run.
The case against him is that his back-to-back wins at this event are six and five years in the rearview mirror, respectively.
The case for him is that that’s not all that long ago in golf. Not to mention, Steele’s made the cut every year at Silverado in the interim.
In eight appearances at this course, he’s cashed a check every time.
Only twice has he done worse than T-42nd (70-71-72-69), his result in 2021.
“You know, people have been asking me that for years,” Steele was transcribed by Tee Scripts responding to what about this event/course clicks for him “I think there’s a lot of factors, I don’t think it’s one thing, but I really have a good sense of where you can be aggressive out here, where you need to be conservative, where you can miss it to different pins. I just kind of understood it right away, which is nice. And being from California, I’m comfortable on the greens.”
Steele was a bit inconsistent in the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, but he still had some high-quality results. The 39-year-old took T-2nd at the Zozo Championship, T-13th at the Players Championship, and T-9th at the PGA Championship.
The Cal-Riverside alum ranked 26th per round in strokes gained tee to green (.884) and was sixth in SG off the tee (.694). Steele tends to play pretty steady golf, as evidenced by coming in 16th in greens in regulation (69.33%).