Safeway Open 2018: These five players—and the drivers they use—find fairways, which should serve them well at Silverado

October 02, 2018

Finding fairways is key to doing well at the PGA Tour's Safeway Open, played at the North Course at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif. The course ranked as the third-most difficult on tour last year to find the fairway (it was sixth most difficult the year before that), giving a distinct advantage to those keeping it in the short grass. In fact, the past two winners—Brendan Steele and Emiliano Grillo—each ranked among the top 10 for the week in driving accuracy. With that in mind, we take a look at the five players in the Safeway Open field that ranked the highest last season in driving accuracy and the drivers they use.

Gregory Shamus

Name: Chez Reavie

Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017, 9.5 degrees

Driving accuracy: 72.09 percent

Though it was somewhat similar in look at address, TaylorMade’s 2017 version of its M2 driver was distinctly different. In addition to using a lighter Ti 9-1-1 titanium alloy, the carbon-composite crown also was re-worked to become lighter as well, with the weight savings used to enhance the club’s moment of inertia for better performance on mis-hits. Reavie’s version of the driver features an Aldila Rogue 60TX shaft and the adjustable hosel is set closer to the lower position to bring down the loft slightly.

Andrew Redington

Name: Ryan Moore

Driver: PXG ZZ, 9 degrees

Driving accuracy: 71.94 percent

Ryan Moore was the first player to formally sign on with PXG and he continues to be a company man, using PXG’s ZZ driver, a club with a slightly smaller profile than the other two drivers in the family (the XXF and XX). The ZZ has six weights positioned on the rear sole of the club, three heavier weights and three lighter ones. Moore has the heavier weights positioned out on the toe area for more of a neutral to fade flight bias.

Minas Panagiotakis

Name: Brian Stuard

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero SV, 10.5 degrees

Driving accuracy: 71.21 percent

It’s not unusual for companies to produce “tour-only” clubs, and earlier this year Callaway introduced its Rogue Sub Zero V driver to its PGA Tour staff. Brian Stuard was one of the early adopters, putting the club in his bag. Stuard’s driver, in which the adjustable hosel is in the neutral setting, has the lighter 4-gram weight in front and heavier weight in back to assist launch. The shaft is the Project X Even Flow Red, a shaft with a more active tip section.

Drew Hallowell

Name: Emiliano Grillo

Driver: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic, 9 degrees

Driving accuracy: 69.89 percent

Although Grillo used a different Callaway driver when he won at Silverado two years ago (the Big Bertha Alpha 815), he still has a Callaway driver in the bag, the company’s popular Great Big Bertha Epic, the company’s first driver to feature Jailbreak technology. Grillo’s club has a Project X HZRDUS 6.5 shaft, and the sliding adjustable weight is positioned ever-so-slightly toward the toe in a fairly neutral position.

Andrew Redington

Name: Russell Henley

Driver: Titleist 917D2, 8.5 degrees

Driving accuracy: 69.34 percent

Most players, both professional and amateur, take a stepped approach to the weight of their shafts in their woods, with the driver being the lightest and then perhaps 10 grams or so heavier for the fairway wood. Not Russell Henley. While a high majority of tour players are in the 60- to 70-gram range with their driver shafts, Henley has an 83-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White X-flex in his Titleist 917D2 driver, essentially the same weight shaft that he has in his 3-wood.