Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: the Memorial Tournament
It’s not a major, but it’s tough to tell from the field as everyone accepts an invitation from Jack Nicklaus to play Muirifeld Village and the Memorial Tournament.
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This week we tee it up at Muirfield Village Golf Club a 7,392 yard, par 72 course for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Muirfield first opened in 1974 and Jack Nicklaus named the club for Muirfield in Scotland where he won his first British Open title. This is one of the more difficult courses outside of the majors and that paired with Jack Nicklaus hosting it means we have a near-elite field.
It’s another week of bentgrass greens and another week of a smaller than normal field with only 120 golfers available to us this week. So, like last week you can take a few more risks as the top 70 and ties still make it through to the weekend.
The weather looks it will be a factor this week with a chance for rain on Thursday/Friday and the wind will be up over the weekend. The weather doesn’t look terrible, but we could see short delays and a damp course.
As always, continue to check up until lineup lock on Thursday as there could be an AM/PM tee time advantage.
Scorecard breakdown: Four (4) par threes, ten (10) par fours and four (4) par fives so it’s the standard par-72 course. All of the par 3s are close in length and there are six par 4s within a similar yardage as well.
It’s a smaller field than normal with just 120 golfers in the DK system this week. Ian Poulter ($6,700) is in the system but has withdrawn. Graham DeLaet also withdrew late Wednesday.
The full field can be found here.
Past Tournament Results
Muirfield has hosted the Memorial Tournament since 1976.
So, here is the top 20 for the last three years:
Let’s take a look at the statistical angles in for this week’s tournament.
As for the key stats I’ll focus on this week, I’ll provide a short list below.
Par 5 scoring (P5SA): There are four par 5s on the course – two between 500 and 550 yards and two between 550 and 600 yards. So, I’m going to combine those two efficiency stats to come up with my par 5 scoring average stat this week. So, my ranks will look a bit different than others who are using general par 5 scoring that includes all distances.
Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards (P4E450-500): Six of the 10 par 4s are between 400 and 450 yard and a seventh is just outside the range (447 yards) so let’s use this as well.
Par 3 Efficiency 175-200 yards (P3E175-200): Three of the four par 3s are between 175 and 200 yards and the fourth par 3 is 201 yards so that sounds like we can use this efficiency stat as well.
Scrambling: I will use this as the tiebreaker this week.
I’m focused on 2016 stats now, but still check on 2015 stats to get a larger sample size on players.
And each week, we’ll look at Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with SG:T2G being more important this week.
DraftKings Expert Picks
I think the first decision for many gamers this week will be whether they want to fade the Big Three of Day, Spieth and Rory and if they don’t, which do they choose? There are even enough cheap options this week that you could roster two of the three and try to fill in around them.
Day, Rory and Speith all come in off a win in their last event. Amazing.
Jason Day | $12,400 – This is Day’s home course and the curse of the home course has never been more evident than for Day. He hasn’t finished in the top 25 in seven starts at Muirfield. It’s confounding. He’s stated in the past that he may put too much pressure on himself to perform. Perhaps his new conservative approach will offer dividends? The Aussie has three wins in his last six events and last missed a cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Is he a different player now? Yes. Will it make a difference this week?
Jordan Spieth | $12,300 – Spieth has improved each time out at the Memorial finishing T63, T19 and T3 in his three trips to Muirfield. Spieth won last week and has to top two finishes in this last four events. He’s seventh in my statistical model this week even though he’s pedestrian on the par 5s (99th). The problem for me with Spieth is that he’s been saved by his putting. Now, he showed last year that he can be one of the best putters on the planet so perhaps he’s the exception for a player you can back even his overall game is showing inconsistencies.
Rory McIlroy | $12,200 – Rory has been in the top 12 in his last four worldwide events. He’s made four cuts in five trips to the Memorial, but his greater success was in his earlier starts at Jack’s course (top 10 in both 2010 and 2011). He is ninth in my statistical model this week with the one eyesore his work on par 3s (199th in P3E175-200).
Hideki Matsuyama | $10,600 – Hideki or Kuchar will likely be the highest owned this week. Why Hideki? He has two top 5 finishes in his only two trips to Muirfield. That’s one reason. You need another reason? He has finished in the top 11 in his last four stroke play events and he’s sixth in my statistical model.
Rickie Fowler | $10,300 – With Hideki’s ownership predicted to be sky high, I imagine Rickie’s will be lower than it should be. Fowler is second in my statistical model this week as he’s in the top 35 in all categories except P3E175-200 where he is 63rd. He has only one top 10 in six starts at the Memorial and that was in his debut in 2010 (second place). He’s missed two of his last five cuts on Tour, but has also two top 10s in those five starts. He’s perhaps a bit too volatile for cash, but he’s perfect for GPPs.
Dustin Johnson | $10,100 – DJ has a good profile for Muirfield (seventh in SG:T2G, 48th in SG:P, 82nd in Par5 scoring, tenth in P4E450-500, 141st in P3E175-200, and 73rd in Scrambling). He hasn’t missed a cut since last 2015 and is seven for eight in cuts made here. His last four finishes at the Memorial have been T19, MC, T46 and T13.
Matt Kuchar | $9,900 – If it’s not Hideki, then Kuch will have the highest ownership level. He has three straight top 10 finishes on Tour as he heads to Muirfield where he has nine of 10 cuts and finished in the top 10 five times. He is fourth in my statistical model.
Bubba Watson | $9,600 – If Hideki & Kuch are the highest owned elite players, Bubba will be among the lowest owned. Bubba is fifth in my statistical model this week and perhaps we can see another top 5 this year? He finished solo third two years ago, but is his only top 20 in nine starts (seven made cuts). He’s played infrequently since the Masters with only one start on U.S. soil since (T43 at THE PLAYERS).
Patrick Reed | $9,400 – Reed’s form is solid (and he’s been excellent for much of the year) as he’s finished second, T28, MC and T15 over his last four. He debuted at this event last year and finished T26. The stats don’t like him as much as his salary implies as he’s just inside the top 25 for me.
Phil Mickelson | $9,100 – Phil is 12 for 15 at the Memorial with three to 10s, but none since 2010. His current form is poor and his recent work at the Memorial is equally unappealing. The stats like him as he’s third in my model, but form and history point me another way this week.
Paul Casey | $8,800 – Casey has made three of his last four cuts on Tour with two top 25s and is a perfect five for five at the Memorial. However, most of that success is in the distant past as he’s only played once in the last six years (T13 in 2014). The profile has enough to work here (14th in SG:T2G, 129th in SG:P, 79th in P5SA, 136th in P4E450-500, 100th in P3E175-200, and 84th in Scrambling).
Kevin Kisner | $8,600 – Is Kisner back? Is one top 10 at the DEAN & DELUCA enough to get excited again? Maybe, but it will be tough to do in cash games. He’s 54th in par 5 scoring and 28th in SG:P, but nothing else looks great. He did finish T8 last year at the Memorial in his second start.
Jason Dufner | $8,400 – Dufner has back to back top 25 finishes at Muirfield and his form is heading in the right direction (T54, T49, T24, T6 in his last four PGA Tour events). His profile doesn’t fit, but form and history say he’s an option.
Chris Kirk | $8,300 – Kirk’s only issues this week are around the putter as he can score on all kinds of holes and has been solid all around this year. Kirk has made three cuts in five trips to Muirfield with two top 25s. He has made five of seven cuts on Tour with all finishes in the top 25.
Justin Thomas | $8,200 – JT may be under owned with Kirk’s predicted higher ownership, but don’t sleep on him. While Thomas is 54th in SG:T2G and 40th in par 5 scoring, the rest of the profile is poor. He’s made one cut in two tries at the Memorial and finished T3 at the PLAYERS the last time we saw him on Tour.
Kevin Na | $8,100 – Na is 15th in the statistical model this week and has back to back top 15s at the Memorial. His current form is a bit lumpy with his last four events ending T55, T4 (RBC Heritage), MC and T42 (DEAN & DELUCA).
Charl Schwartzel | $8,000 – Schwartzel is 19th in my statistical model this week (11th in SG:T2G, 86th in SG:P, 45th in P5SA, 157th in P4E450-500, first in P3E175-200, and 13th in Scrambling. The South African’s run of four straight top 25 finishes at the Memorial ended last year with a missed cut. Does it matter? He came back on Tour two weeks ago with a T58 and followed that up with a T25 so it looks like the rust is off after a long layoff.
Gary Woodland | $8,000 – Woodland is one spot behind Kevin Na in my model. His struggles are on par 3s (166th in P3E175-200) and scrambling (133rd). The bomber is three for five in cuts made at the Memorial with one top 10 in his debut in 2011. He’s made five cuts in a row on Tour with all finishes in the top 35.
Marc Leishman | $7,900 – Did the Aussie find his form last week with his T13 after a T64 an MC in the prior two weeks? If so, he could win you a GPP or two this week. He’s made six of seven cuts at the Memorial improving his results each of the last five years culminating in his T5 last year. The stats like him as he’s in the top 75 in all categories except for P4E450-500 where he is 92nd.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello | $7,900 – RCB returns to the States after a two week trip to Europe where he put up back to back top 25s. He doesn’t qualify for the PGA Tour leaderboards yet, but if he did the model would like him. It is his first run at Jack’s course and he’s a good option this week.
Daniel Berger | $7,800 – Berger comes in as one of the bigger bargains on the card when we compare his odds to win and his salary. He’s also eighth in my statistical ranking. Oh, he’s got a nice run of form going as well as he’s made six straight top 20s. He missed the cut last year in his debut at the Memorial.
Tony Finau | $7,800 – Finau has made back to back cuts on Tour and four of his last five with one top 15 (Byron Nelson). He debuted at Muirfield last year with a T8. That’s nice…let’s take a look at the stats – 75th in SG:T2G, 120th in SG:P, 16th in P5SA, 48th in P4E450-500, 179th in P3E175-200, and 78th in scrambling. The putting stat is a bit misleading as he’s a better putter on bentgrass (as he’s on this week) than other surfaces.
Byeong-Hun An | $7,700 – An played here in 2010 and missed the cut in his only trip to the Memorial. He was all of 18 years old back then so we should expect a bit more out of the South Korean. An has missed three of his last four cuts on the PGA Tour, but did make the cut in Europe last week (T33) at the BMW PGA Championship. His form concerns me a bit this week in a star-studded field.
Bill Haas | $7,700 – Course history alert! Haas is eight of 10 in cuts made here with two top 10s (both in the last three years). He has half a profile for the course (26th standing in SG:T2G, 66th in P3E175-200, and 31st in scrambling) and reasonable current form (T24, T14, MC, T43 and T47). There isn’t a lot of upside for this cash game option.
J.B. Holmes | $7,600 – There isn’t anything in Holmes’ profile that says he should succeed here unless you hang everything on SG:T2G (he’s 48th) or his 73rd place in par 5 scoring. He’s made five of eight cuts at the Memorial with a T13 in 2012 as his best finish. His form is trending the wrong way as his last four events have ended T4, T13, T53, and MC.
Russell Knox | $7,600 – The Scot returns to the States after finishing T2 at the Irish Open and then missing the cut last week at the BMW PGA Championship. He’s one for two at the Memorial with a T18 last year in his first weekend.
Webb Simpson | $7,500 – Simpson is one of the best on the par 4 distances we’re focused on this week and the rest of his profile is a fit (35th in SG:T2G, 163rd in SG:P, 117th in P5SA, 17th in P4E450-500, 161st in P3E175-200, and 50th in scrambling). He’s two for five in cuts made at the Memorial with a T7 in 2011. He’s also in off his best finish of 2016 with a T3 at the DEAN & DELUCA.
Kevin Chappell | $7,500 – Missed the cut on the number last week so that means he’s automatic consideration this week. The putter is hurting him (as it did last week when he missed a three footer to make the cut) all year. He’s 20th in the model this week and has three of six cuts made at the Memorial. He has four top 10s on Tour in his last seven stroke play events. Giddyup!
Danny Lee | $7,500 – Lee has made five cuts in a row on the PGA Tour and has three top 25s in that run. He’s missed the cut in his only two starts here, but his current form should override that history. The profile? Yup, looks OK from here (27th in SG:T2G124th in SG:P, 29th P5SA, second in P4E450-500, 120th in P3E175-200, and 48th in Scrambling).
Kyle Reifers | $7,400 – Reifers was a looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock here at Muirfield Village as a kid. However, he hasn’t had any success yet in his three starts (T25 and two missed cuts in three trips). He has back to back top 10s on Tour and has made four cuts in a row. Form meets knowledge?
Charles Howell | $7,400 – CHIII has a profile that looks great for this week (42nd in SG:T2G, 60th in SG:P, 17th in P5SA, 161st in P4E450-500, 33rd in P3E175-200, and 23rd in Scrambling). However, it’s never worked out here for him as he’s made 8 of 13 cuts at the Memorial but only one top 20 in his debut in 2001. His last event was the Byron Nelson where he finished T4 after missing back to back cuts.
Francesco Molinari | $7,400 – The Italian is one of my favorites below $7,500 this week. He’s done well in the States this year as he’s had three top 20s in his last five PGA events. He finished T3 here last year in his debut and his profile shows he could succeed again (29th in SG:T2G, 150th in SG:P, 15th in P5SA, 142nd in P4E450-500, and 59th in P3E175-200 and scrambling).
David Lingmerth | $7,300 – Lingmerth is the defending champ and comes in off a T22 last week in Europe at the BMW PGA Championship. He does well on the par 3 and par 4 distances we’re focused on this week as part of a solid statistical profile (64th in SG:T2G133rd in SG:P, 88th in P5SA, 35th in P4E450-500, fifth in P3E175-200 and 113th in Scrambling).
Ryan Moore | $7,300 – Nine for ten in cuts made at the Memorial including three top 10s. He’s finished in the top 20 each of the last three starts. However, he’s missed three cuts in a row on Tour coming into this week. Can a friendly course awaken his game? Perhaps his work on the par 4s (32nd in P4E450-500) and par 3s (25th in P3E175-200) will be enough to carry him back to the leaderboard.
Jason Kokrak | $7,300 – Kokrak enters this week in poor form (MC, MC, WD, T55 in his last four). He’s missed the cut in both of his trips to the Memorial over the last three years. It’s not a bad profile (56th in SG:T2G, 139th in SG:P, 37th in P5SA, 74th in P4E450-500, 106th in P3E175-200, and 77th in scrambling).
Jim Furyk | $7,300 – Furyk is 19 for 20 in cuts made here with seven top 10 finishes including last year’s T5. He’s finished in the top 25 in his last four starts at the Memorial and six of his last seven. Since his return from injury he’s finished MC, T35, MC. GPP only.
Thomas Aiken | $7,200 – Aiken made his first cut in four attempts at the Memorial last year with a T26. He finished T4 last week at the PGA BMW Championship in Europe after missing his last two cuts on the PGA Tour. His calling card is his accuracy off the tee as he leads the Tour in that category. He’s not great on par 5s, but his work on par 3s and par 4s (39th in P4E450-500, 17th in P3E175-200) gives him a chance this week.
Anirban Lahiri | $7,200 – You know me. I don’t know when Lahiri will succeed or fail so I usually ignore him each week. I’m going to break that rule this week and recommend him. He’s a debutante at Muirfield, but has a profile that should work as he’s eighth at the key par 4 distance this week, 94th in SG:T2G, 58th in SG:P, 71st in P5SA, 89th in P3E175-200, and 102nd in Scrambling.
Thorbjorn Olesen | $7,100 – Olesen has been great on the European Tour with four top 20s in his last five starts. He played the Memorial for the first time last year and finished T8.
Graham DeLaet | $7,100 – Withdrew with anxiety issues. We wish him all the best getting it sorted out.
Bryson DeChambeau | $7,000 – Still not cheap enough.
Emiliano Grillo | $7,000 – The current form isn’t there for Grillo as he makes his debut.
Jamie Lovemark | $7,000 – Lovemark makes his debut here this week, but we’ve seen debutante’s have success. The PGA rookie’s profile looks great outside of his par 3 work (50th in SG:T2G, 67th in SG:P, 44th in P5SA, seventh in P4E450-500, 187th in P3E175-200, and fifth in Scrambling). The current form is below average with his last three finishes on Tour ending worse than 50th. This seems too cheap for a guy with Lovemark’s upside.
Daniel Summerhays | $6,900 – Summerhays looks like another interesting play as his profile works (113rd in SG:T2G, 14th in SG:P, 63rd in P5SA, 41st in P4E450-500, 80th in P3E175-200, and 83rd in Scrambling), has made five cuts in a row on Tour, and has a T4 and T28 in five starts at the Memorial.
Cameron Tringale | $6,900 – I was surprised to learn that Tringale has made seven cuts in a row on Tour though he has just one top 20 in that run. He’s made three of five cuts at the Memorial with two top 25s. The stats show he could be in for another weekend here this year as he’s103 rd in SG:T2G, 69th in SG:P, 31st in P5SA, 115th in P4E450-500, 56th in P3E175-200, and 75th in scrambling.
Bud Cauley | $6,900 – Cauley has played the Memorial twice and made the cut twice never seeing the top 30 in either year. He finished T4 at the Byron Nelson in his last PGA Tour start as he continues to work his way back from labrum surgery in 2014.
Ian Poulter | $6,700 – Withdrew.
Chez Reavie | $6,700 – Reavie missed the cut on the number last week so let’s see if he’s worth investing in this week. He has missed four of his last five cuts with his only made cut resulted in a T18 at the Byron Nelson. His Memorial results don’t look much better – T64, T63 and T63. However, his profile fits the course (25th in SG:T2G, 159th in SG:P, 139th in P5SA, 63rd in P4E450-500, 22nd in P3E175-200, and eighth in Scrambling).
Smylie Kaufman | $6,700 – Perhaps the wrist is still bothering him? The statistical model likes him, but he’s missed three cuts in a row as wrist tendinitis has crept in.
David Hearn | $6,700 – Hearn comes in solid form having made two straight cuts and four out of his last five with all results in the top 30. The profile is mediocre (71st in SG:T2G, 77th in SG:P, 151st in P5SA, 96th in P4E450-500, 93rd in P3E175-200, and 58th in Scrambling) and the scoring ranks concern me a bit, but he’s playing well. He had made three cuts in a row at the Memorial before missing last year.
Jhonattan Vegas | $6,500 – Vegas’ profile fits (59th in SG:T2G, 82nd in SG:P, 11th in P5SA, 29th in P4E450-500, 34th in P3E175-200, and 121st in Scrambling) though it hasn’t shown yet at Memorial in his two starts. The form is off so you roster him banking on his profile overcoming history and form.
William McGirt | $6,500 – I’m going to be playing McGirt again this week as he keeps making cuts (five in a row). He’s in the top 50 in every stats category we’re focused on this week except for par 5 scoring (72nd). He’s two for three in cuts made at the Memorial.
Lucas Glover | $6,500 – Glover’s profile fits the course (22nd in SG:T2G, 176th in SG:P, 22nd in P5SA, 27th in P4E450-500, 157th in P3E175-200, and 42nd in scrambling) though he hasn’t had any success here outside of his T8 in 2005.
Stewart Cink | $6,400 – Withdrew as his wife continues to battle cancer.
Steven Bowditch | $6,300 – I was happy to see Bowditch finally get off the schnied last week with a T22 and three rounds under 70. He finished T52 here last year in his second start at the Memorial.
Robert Streb | $6,200 – Where for art thou 2015 Robert Streb? He’s played here twice and made the cut both times with a top finish of T18 last year. His form is off (as it’s been for most of the year).
Brendon Todd | $6,200 – Has great course history, but just can’t make a cut.
Ryan Ruffels | $6,100 – Born in 1998 which makes him young. He did have a T20 at the Zurich in his last start on the PGA Tour. He’s a large GPP option only and barely one at that. If you want a young Aussie, read a bit further down the list.
Vaughn Taylor | $6,100 – Taylor has made four of five cuts at the Memorial and did have back to back top 25s in 2005 and 2006. That’s about all we have to go on as he’s alternated made and missed cuts over his last five PGA starts and hasn’t ended up in the top 30.
K.J. Choi | $6,000 – The South Korean is 14 for 16 in cuts made here with three top 10 finishes. The former Memorial champ in 2007 has made four of his last five cuts here (missed last week) with all finishes in the top 30. If you are going with a stars/scrubs lineup (especially if trying to roster two of the big three) Choi looks to be a safe option.
Jason Bohn | $5,900 – It’s great to see Bohn back and he’s coming in off a T34 last week at the DEAN & DELUCA. If you want to roster him, you’re banking on his pedigree shining through as he’s had just one top 20 in seven attempts at Muirfield.
Ricky Barnes | $5,900 – Barnes is one of the more intriguing prospects below $6,000. He’s made three of four cuts at the Memorial with each finish in the top 25. He’s made back to back cuts on Tour and has a profile that has some pieces (31st in P4E450-500 and 37th in SG:P) that offer some hope.
Davis Love | $5,800 – DLIII has made the cut in 18 of his 22 starts at the Memorial though he hasn’t teed it up since 2013 when he finished T29. He’s missed back to back cuts on Tour and hasn’t seen the top 30 since his T29 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions which has a field of 32.
Nathan Holman | $5,700 – Young Aussie you can roster in larger GPPs for $400 than Ryan Ruffels. Like Ruffels, he makes his debut at the Memorial. He’s made three of his last four cuts worldwide. He had the best result of his career to close out 2015 when he won the Australian PGA Championship.
Good luck this week! Head over to DraftKings to choose your squad for this week.
Roster size: 6 Golfers
Golfers on each team will accumulate points as follows:
- Per Hole Scoring
- Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
- Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
- Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
- Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
- Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
- Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
- Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
- Tournament Finish Scoring
- 1st: 30 PTs
- 2nd: 20 PTs
- 3rd: 18 PTs
- 4th: 16 PTs
- 5th: 14 PTs
- 6th: 12 PTs
- 7th: 10 PTs
- 8th: 9 PTs
- 9th: 8 PTs
- 10th: 7 PTs
- 11th–15th: 6 PTs
- 16th–20th: 5 PTs
- 21st–25th: 4 PTs
- 26th–30th: 3 PTs
- 31st–40th: 2 PTs
- 41st-50th: 1 PTs
- Streaks and Bonuses
- Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
- Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
- All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
- Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs
Scoring Notes: Ties for a finishing position will not reduce or average down points. For example, if 2 golfers tie for 3rd place, each will receive the 18 fantasy points for the 3rd place finish result. Playoff Holes will not count towards final scoring, with the exception of the “finishing position” scoring. For example, the golfer who wins the tournament will receive the sole award of 1st place points, but will not accrue points for their scoring result in the individual playoff holes.
Player Lock Notes: All golfers lock at the time the first golfer tees off on day 1 of an event.
Full rules are located here for DraftKings Daily Fantasy golf.