PGA DFS Memorial Tournament Preview

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!

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.

Event Information

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.

Jack Nicklaus (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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:

2018 Bryson DeChambeau -15
2017 Jason Dufner -13
2016 William McGirt -15
2015 David Lingmerth -15
2014 Hideki Matsuyama -13
Keys to Success

My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:

  1. Greens in regulation (GIR)
  2. 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:

NameSalaryComposite RankGIRGIR %GIR 175-200GIR 175-200 %
Corey Conners69003572.22173.2
Rory McIlroy115007.51270.56369.44
Matt Kuchar940013.5173.722660.45
Emiliano Grillo7900141670.021262.9
Aaron Wise730016.52569.26864.89
Talor Gooch690017.5771.332860
Jim Furyk750018.51570.142260.71
Justin Thomas930019273.063659.09
Marc Leishman800020.53768.69467.96
Keegan Bradley7600212169.662160.8
Jason Kokrak8200252869.072260.71
Jason Dufner7400292669.223259.48
Lucas Glover780030.52269.443958.75
Rickie Fowler1060031.54568.221861.72
Hideki Matsuyama9100323368.83159.59
Kyoung-Hoon Lee640032.54968.141662.07
Xander Schauffele900034.53168.983858.89
Gary Woodland880034.51070.735956.67
Sungjae Im6700374768.22760.21
Adam Schenk640038.56667.621163.35
Troy Merritt6200453468.795656.82
Russell Knox7100462969.036356.38
Cameron Champ6400461470.277855.08
Nick Watney670049.53868.626156.52
Sam Ryder610052.58566.92061.16
Jhonattan Vegas720055.53668.757555.71
Charles Howell III730056472.510853.6
J.J. Spaun650057.53568.778054.96
Carlos Ortiz610060.55168.117056.03
Luke List7600627467.265057.48
Alex Noren71006412265.5667.06
Ryan Moore7300666767.566556.34
Keith Mitchell7100662369.410953.51
Justin Rose108006813465.03269.57
Ernie Els600071.59166.535257.29
Brendan Steele620072.51969.8212652.94
Kevin Streelman7400735567.939154.43
Henrik Stenson850073.57567.227255.79
Bryson DeChambeau890074.510966.084058.33
Danny Willett660074.56467.668554.72
Beau Hossler6800759666.415457.14
Patrick Cantlay10200794368.3311553.33
J.B. Holmes690081.57167.319254.29
Phil Mickelson81008210466.26056.63
Byeong Hun An7400848666.788254.9
Harold Varner III690085.57267.289953.96
Haotong Li75008616563.89765.91
Adam Long62008713165.224358.22
Scott Brown610088.511065.976756.13
Brice Garnett630089.53968.5214051.52
Andrew Putnam7200904468.2913651.82
Billy Horschel770091.56967.4711453.38
Jason Day920092.53069.0115550.77
Danny Lee6900939066.579654.14
Andrew Landry6400938766.679953.96
Ryan Armour610094.59366.489654.14
Joel Dahmen7000997867.0612053.07
Max Homa67009914564.655357.23
Tyrrell Hatton770099.59866.3710153.93
Branden Grace6800100.58066.9912153.04
Sung Kang770010310366.2310353.89
Scott Stallings6400105.512565.418654.62
Tony Finau9600110.511565.8410653.72
Peter Uihlein72001159466.4713651.82
Kevin Na84001168766.6714551.22
Adam Hadwin71001166867.4916450
Michael Thompson6300116.514664.648754.6
Patton Kizzire6500119.517163.486856.1
Matt Every68001204868.1519246.88
Bud Cauley6700122.512165.5612452.98
Si Woo Kim7000124.515164.489854.05
Vaughn Taylor6200125.513265.0811953.17
Abraham Ancer7200126.58266.9417149.63
Sam Burns6800126.516963.678454.82
Kevin Kisner7900130.511465.8914751.18
Brian Stuard6700130.513465.0312752.88
Adam Scott8700131.58166.9818248
Rory Sabbatini83001339266.4917449.46
Joaquin Niemann7300133.511765.815051.05
Robert Streb6300133.516064.2210753.62
Matt Jones6500134.511365.9115650.75
Peter Malnati6500141.519661.438754.6
Bronson Burgoon6100141.58766.6719646.32
Cameron Smith700014416563.8912352.99
J.T. Poston660014414764.6214151.47
Charley Hoffman7400146.512065.617349.52
Martin Kaymer680014720260.959254.29
Chesson Hadley6600147.514164.8115450.79
Pat Perez7100152.511865.718747.37
Whee Kim600015413664.9717249.54
Kiradech Aphibarnrat7000156.520161.2411253.41
Jordan Spieth9900157.515364.4416250.34
Louis Oosthuizen860015911065.9720838.1
Rafa Cabrera Bello7500159.515564.3316450
Kyle Stanley7800160.511665.8220542.59
Austin Cook700016815364.4418347.96
Brian Gay660016917863.0416050.5
Aaron Baddeley6600169.516164.1817848.72
Matthew Fitzpatrick7600171.517963.0216450
Ted Potter, Jr.6100171.514464.6719945.31
Bill Haas6700176.519061.8916350.32
Michael Kim6000186.519461.4717948.7
Martin Trainer6000187.519461.4718148.11
Anirban Lahiri660019820360.8719346.83
Brian Harman650019820659.8419047.24
Tiger Woods1120000000
Joost Luiten650000000
Justin Suh640000000
David Lingmerth630000000
Ryan Fox630000000
Steve Stricker630000000
David Lipsky620000000
Shubhankar Sharma620000000
Luke Donald620000000
K.J. Choi610000000
Jovan Rebula610000000
Will Grimmer600000000
Boo Weekley600000000
Norman Xiong600000000
Alvaro Ortiz600000000

*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.

Dufner and Woods (Getty Images)

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.

(Source: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images AsiaPac)

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.

Core Players

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.

Andrew Redington / Getty…)

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:

  1. Furyk
  2. Kuchar
  3. Tiger
  4. Wise

Good luck in Dublin! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome. Also follow my new podcast!


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