If you need PGA DFS to help you fully recover from your Memorial Day weekend hangover, you’re in luck! As always, my goal each week is to offer targets in each price range, identifying two to three low-cost/reasonable floor targets as core pieces for all my lineups.
In DFS golf, it’s all about getting your guys to the weekend, first and foremost. Generally, I will fill out my roster with guys in the $7,100-$9,000 range. The factors I consider are event history, course layout versus player strengths, recent form, and prime bounce back candidates who are playing well, but happened to miss the cut the prior week.
One factor does not necessarily outweigh another. And, like any good speculative decision-making process, instincts always play a role. Of course there’s my personal favorite factor–as is the same with other fringe DFS sports–the DK pricing model has no clue what the fuck it is doing!
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All that in mind, let’s take a look at the Memorial Tournament (MT) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.
Course: Muirfield Village GC Dublin, OH Par 72 Yardage 7,400
In terms of non-major, traditional stroke play events, the Memorial Tournament has about as much cache as any on the PGA Tour. It’s founder, some guy named Jack Nicklaus, has a lot to do with that.
The event’s vision and course are a Nicklaus design, who was born and raised near the area. He wanted the event to embody his passion for golf where he grew up, and his off course charitable work with Nationwide. It has been played at Muirfield Village (MV) every year since 1976.
As a result of the all the investment from one of the game’s biggest ambassadors, the Memorial annually attracts the game’s top players, and has always been a mainstay on Tiger’s schedule, when healthy. Here are the past five winners and their scores:
Keys to Success
My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:
- Greens in regulation (GIR)
- Greens in regulation 175-200 yards (long distance GIR)
While MV is a bit longer than the average course, many tee boxes will present players with bomber restrictions. The fairways are some of the widest on tour, while the rough areas are littered with water hazards and bunkers. With such a low risk/reward on power versus how the course sets up, you’ll likely see most players taking safer approaches from the tee, setting themselves up in those vast fairways, where the money will really be made this week: approach shots.
Numerous green side bunkers and lighting quick bentgrass on the putting surface will mean that a premium is placed on accuracy for approach into the greens. There are six Par 4s that play 450-500 yards, and typically score as the toughest at MV, so making pars on those will be a win most times.
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The biggest area where players need to be scoring are the four Par 5s. They are all reachable in two shots, and annually rank as the easiest holes on the course. Positive results on those and the longer Par 4s will require precision from long distance approach shots. In general, stats off the tee should be a moot point with how MV plays. Par 5 scoring and sand save percentages would be other stats I may consider if I’m flipping a coin between a couple of guys as a tie breaker.
To help sift through the field regarding just the key stats I put the table below together using all data from the official PGA Tour website. It is listed in order of each players’ composite ranking, an average of each players’ ranking in the two key stats for this week. Sort as you wish:
|Name||Salary||Composite Rank||GIR||GIR %||GIR 175-200||GIR 175-200 %|
|Charles Howell III||7300||56||4||72.5||108||53.6|
|Byeong Hun An||7400||84||86||66.78||82||54.9|
|Harold Varner III||6900||85.5||72||67.28||99||53.96|
|Si Woo Kim||7000||124.5||151||64.48||98||54.05|
|Rafa Cabrera Bello||7500||159.5||155||64.33||164||50|
|Ted Potter, Jr.||6100||171.5||144||64.67||199||45.31|
*player without data have not played in enough PGA events for stats to qualify
Price Range Targets
Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 9.1k–11 players)
Yea he’s the only guy from the five figure club and up range I would play this week. On the lower end, former MT winners Matt Kuchar and Hideki Matsuyama are my favorite plays around nine thousand. Outside of Tiger, Kuchar arguably has the best track record at this event.
In 13 career starts here, Kooooch has missed just one weekend, and notched seven top-10s. In fact, his average finish in his 12 weekends made comes out just above T-11.
Sweet Spot (9k to 7.1k–43 players)
Speaking of older white males, as the top ranked general of my DFS battalion, I’ve directed my forces that maintaining control of the Jim Furyk hill is the top priority this summer.
Before missing the cut the last two seasons, Furyk had just one MC in his previous 21 MT starts. I think his mini renaissance translates into another cashed check at a familiar event. As long as his price sticks in this range, I’m pouncing.
Other guys in this range my key stats favor are Emiliano Grillo, Aaron Wise, Jason Kokrak, and Jason Dufner.
Dufner has been showing signs of life, and will be an interesting play here where he won two years ago, his last win on tour. He should also project to have not quite as high of an ownership percentage as the other guys mentioned.
Sneaky Low % Owned (7k and below–about ~70 players)
They probably aren’t too sneaky anymore, but Corey Conners and Talor Gooch have the best key metrics, according to my table above. After a two months off dealing with a thumb injury, Gooch returned last week with a T-29 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He will be making his MT debut.
Another guy making his debut, ranking as the 16th highest player in my table, is tour rookie Kyoung-Hoon Lee. After a rough beginning to his first season on tour, Lee has managed to miss just one weekend in his last 11 events, which was due to a withdrawal at the Valspar Championship in March.
Seeing how loaded this field is, I am not going to make the outlandish hot take that he’ll contend. But, just making the weekend from this price would return value. And, unlike Conners and Gooch, Lee would be the better low percentage owned candidate of the group. Troy Merritt is my other favorite dart throw.
Best Bounce Back Candidates
- Bryson DeChambeau–If not now, when?
- Xander Schauffele–Tamed by Colonial last week. Missed the cut in his first career start here last year.
- Rickie Fowler–Also uncharacteristically went home early last week. Finished inside the top 10 here last two years.
- Tiger Woods–Duh.
Best Course History Plays
- Tiger Woods–Duh again.
- Matt Kuchar–see above.
- Jim Furyk–ditto.
- Justin Rose–Essentially either misses the cut at this event, or cashes a top-10 check. Buyer beware.
- Kyle Stanley–Been quietly returning to form. Gone 5/6 in cuts made here. Three of the last four has finished T-6 or higher.
- Ryan Moore–Gone 11/13 in cuts made. Eight of those finishes have been inside the top-25.
- David Lingmerth–No self-respecting Memorial write-up would be complete without Mr. Lingmerth being mentioned. If you’re into things not making sense, he is your play this week. A perfect 6/6 history here including his first and only PGA Tour win in 2015.
Last season, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock.
These selections are players that I believe have top-25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections: