After a rain soaked weekend the tour heads out to what will hopefully be a sunny week out in Dublin Ohio for the Memorial. The Memorial is an Invitational tournament hosted by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus which takes place at a course he helped create, Muirfield Village. Muirfield Village is a par 72 that comes in around 7300-7400 yards. It’s every bit a championship golf course and was designed in many ways to mimic Augusta national. The course features expansive, sloping greens that put a lot of pressure on player’s short games. Bunkers and water also come into play on many holes and while the course is not super long the hazards make cutting the course difficult. When looking at who has won here in the past one quickly realizes the list is littered with former major winners and top career earners. In short, this course is a great all-around test of the player’s skills and a strong all-around game will be needed to win this week.
As a result of the complexity of the course I’ve really placed a large emphasis on experience this week but also looked at some other key stats. Given the extra weight that DraftKings scoring puts on birdies and eagles I’ve really emphasized scoring average and par 5 scoring. The past 5 winners of this event have all been ranked inside the top 20 in scoring average at the end of the year of their respective victories and traditionally those ranked highly in scoring average are amoung the best on tour. Additionally, par 5 scoring is important since Muirfield features four very reachable par 5’s that will represent the best scoring opportunities the player’s face all week. Those who can rack up the birdies and eagles on those holes will put themselves in a much better position relative to the field and also be a valuable source of fantasy points. Finally I’ve also looked at scrambling statistics this week. A look back at some of the past events at this course reveals that many of the best scramblers on tour have a great record here. I think it’s an important attribute this week and will be trying to target those who rank well within this category.
Don’t forget to check out DraftKings this week as satellites for the next Millionaire Maker tournament being held June 18th are underway. There are qualifiers for $3 and you can buy in direct for $20.
DraftKings Tiered Picks: The Memorial
Top Shelf (10k and above)
Hideki Matsuyama (11500): There’s little doubt who the best statistical fit for the golf course is this week. Matsuyama won this event on his first attempt last year and looking at his stats from this year it seems like he might very well be setting up to do it again. Matsuyama ranks top 20 in scrambling, 2nd on tour in par 5 scoring and 11th in scoring average, making him very well-suited to take on the test that awaits him again at Muirfield Village. Matsuyama has played some pretty solid golf recently and his last 6 events have yielded four top 25 finishes, along with a 4th and 5th place finish. I have little doubt Matsuyama will be somewhere near the lead once Sunday rolls around. His propensity for birdies and eagles on the par 5’s make him a great fantasy point producer and one of the top options to anchor your lineups this week.
Phil Mickelson (11200): If you’re looking to be a little different this week but want the same sort of high level fantasy output Matsuyama offers, look no further than Phil Mickelson. Even though he hasn’t won on tour in a while now Mickelson has actually been playing very solidly of late. If you take away his missed cut at the Players Mickelson’s last three finishes read 4nd, 2nd, and 17thso he’s obviously trending in the right direction. Phil has never actually won this event before but given his history at Augusta National and the similarities between the two courses there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t. Phil is always a good source of birdies when he is on and since those translate to lots of fantasy points on DraftKings I think he’s got a good shot at being the high scorer for the week when all is said and done. He’ll be in a lot of my lineups and I’m hoping he can repeat or even better his Augusta performance.
Second Tier (8000 to 9999)
Bill Haas (9200): I think Haas is a very safe option this week and one of my main cash game plays. He has a great history at this course with his last 2 visits here yielding finishes of 4th and 8th. Haas ranks above average in scrambling, par 5 scoring and scoring average on the year and that makes him a very solid fit for the course. Even though he’s stalled a bit since his early season victory, Haas had a very solid Masters (good practice for this week) and also just missed out at the Players where he finished 4th. Even if Haas doesn’t win the event he’s discounted from the other top options and that alone makes him a much better value play. Target him in cash games as a reliable option you can build quality lineups around.
Kevin Na (9000): Kevin Na has been on quite a tear so far this year. He’s now placed inside the top ten in 5 of his last 8 events and is seemingly in the mix for the win every week. Na is top 20 in scoring average on the year, and even though he doesn’t rank highly in par 5 scoring he’s made up for it this year by scoring well above average on the par 4’s. I think you really have to consider Na this week given that he finished second at this event last year while closing with an amazing 64. Given the quality of the field this week Na will go a little bit overlooked and so he should make for a great gpp play. Get him into some of your tournaments this week and see if he can’t get you a victory in fantasy.
Patrick Reed (8700): Reed is yet another solid choice in this price range on DraftKings. He’ll be visiting this course for the first time this week but I’m not overly concerned about it. Reed’s played solidly all year and ranks inside the top 20 in scoring average and par 5 scoring. Reed has a fantastic short game that should suit him extremely well at this course and he is capable of scoring with the best of them. Given many of the top players have decided to skip this event this year I think this sets up as a perfect week for Reed to step up and remind the golfing world what a great player he is. I think he’s priced far too low for his potential and I like him in all formats this week.
Brooks Koepka (8000): Koepka is another great young player who will be visiting this course for the first time and also someone whose low price makes him an almost must play. Koepka typically crushes the par 5’s and currently ranks 7th in par 5 scoring and 7th in scoring average on tour. Even though he lacks experience playing this course I really liked the way he bounced back last week after a semi-rough stretch and also like the fact he made the cut at Augusta this year in his first visit to that course. Even if he doesn’t win Koepka offers you massive potential at his price because of his ability to rack together birdies and eagles on the par 5’s. He’s another great value play and someone I’d consider in all formats.
Third Tier (7000 to 7900)
Harris English (7800): If you’re looking for a more-low owned, but high potential tournament play look no further. English is a great young player who is going through a bit of a dry spell but who also sets up very well for this course. Even with his poor start to the season English still ranks 11th in scoring average and has the length to take advantage of the short par 5’s. English also ranks inside the top 25 on tour in scrambling and has a very underrated short game, another factor that should help him this week. I think more than anything English makes for a great under the radar tournament play and is someone who is capable of ending the week as one of the high scorers on DraftKings. Take advantage of his low salary and work him into some of your lineups where possible, I think he has a great chance of bouncing back in a big way this week.
Russell Henley (7400): Henley had a pretty solid tournament at the Byron Nelson but his price actually dropped as a result and I think that has turned him a really good value play for this week. Henley typically makes a lot of birdies and he currently ranks inside the top 30 in scoring average on tour. He’s played this event twice before and has a 6th place finish to his name here already. Henley has shown some real consistency to his game this year and it almost seems like it’s just a matter of time before he lands another top finish. If he can find a hot putter or consistent short game this week I could easily see Henley competing and possibly even being a dark horse winner of this event. A great value play for DFS tournaments this week.
Steve Stricker (7100): Stricker is probably one of the best values on the board this week. He’s a former winner of this event who has always been one of the most consistent players on tour. Stricker took some time off at the start of the year to heal an injury but has now returned and looked pretty good in his two starts. He’s got a great history at this course and is someone you can always rely on in fantasy to get you four rounds (he’s missed one cut in the past two years on tour). At his price all you really need Stricker to do to pay off his salary this week is finish inside the top 50. I think given his recent form that is probably his absolute floor and I expect you will likely see him land you a much higher finish.
Bottom Feeders (under 7000)
Tony Finau (6600): Once you get under 7000 in salary this week the choices get a little dicey, and so if you are going to take a chance why not go for a player who offers you a lot of potential DK bonus points? Tony Finau is a great young player who has been playing extremely solid as of late. After a slow start to 2015 his last three tourneys have seen him finish 10th 19th and 11th. This will be his first time visiting the course and as I mentioned previously there is some risk involved in using him. However there is a lot of reward to be had too. Finau is a long hitter who ranks 19th in par 5 scoring and should be able to take advantage of those short par 5’s this week. I like him as a possible low cost source of fantasy points and is someone I’ll be looking to use to round out some of my gpp rosters.
William McGirt (6300): McGirt may not be the sexiest pick this week but in terms of a cheap value play who has a good shot at getting you four solid rounds of golf he definitely fits the bill. McGirt actually ranks inside the top 50 in scrambling, par 5 scoring and scoring average, making him a pretty good fit statistic wise for this course. McGirt has been a little hit or miss for the most part of the year but has now made his last two cuts on tour and will be playing in this event for the third time. Given the many questionable players that exist in and around his price-range I think McGirt actually makes for a fairly decent pick given his price. He’s someone I’ll be targeting so I can fit some of the top players together in my stars and scrubs lineups.