US season starts with Open

Rory McIlroy fulfils long-held promise to play at Silverado

Sang-moon Bae with the Open trophy. Credit: Getty Images
Sang-moon Bae with the Open trophy. Credit: Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy to play in season opener of PGA Tour at Silverado

The 2015-16 PGA Tour season kicks off with the Open with 500 FedEx Cup points to be awarded to the winner.

Silverado Resort resumed hosting the PGA Tour last season. Silverado previously had hosted fourteen PGA Tour tournaments from 1968 through 1980 in then from 1989-2002 it was part of the Champions Tour schedule.

Johnny Miller bought Silverado in 2010 with two partners and overhauled both courses. The result was that the Tour came back last year.

That tournament saw a scoring average on the par-72 track of 71.7 all week and 71.9 in the final round. There will be some notable absences from the field this year.

Tiger Woods is one, he had committed to play in the event, but had to withdraw due to a second microdiscectomy surgery on his back. He is not expected to rejoin the Tour until January at the earliest.

Last year’s champion will also be absent. South Korean Sang-moon Bae, who won on the back of third round of 63, will be swapping four irons for firearms as he is starting his two-year compulsory national service instead.

The Open was Bae’s second win on the PGA Tour. He didn’t have a top-10 finish in 36 events between the Open and his first victory, at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in May 2013.

Venue: Silverado Resort & Spa (North), Napa, California Date: Oct 15-18 Course stats: par 72, 7,203 yards Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000 Defending Champion: Sangmoon Bae (-15) TV Coverage: Thursday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm Friday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm Saturday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm Sunday 18 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm

Player watch: Rory McIlroy - The world number 3 is fulfilling a long-held promise to play in the event. He had said he would play last year, but put it back a year after he qualified for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. With so many of the top players resting after the Presidents Cup, he has to start as the favourite.

Justin Rose - The world number 7 is the only other player in the top 10 to be teeing it up this week.

Hideki Matsuyama - He is one of three Presidents Cup participants who will be playing, and comes into the Open on the back of his impressive 3.5pts for 4 in the Presidents Cup. He is joined by South African Charl Schwartzel (1pt from 4) and Chris Kirk (1pt out of 3), who is the only one of the dozen-strong victorious US side to be playing.

Skills required - The best man to answer this is last year’s winner: “It’s a classic course and always with classic courses you need really good iron shots," says Sang-moon Bae. It’s really narrow, with small greens and a lot of undulation.”

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Roderick is the author of the critically acclaimed comic golf novel, Summer At Tangents. Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is also the author of five non-fiction books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.