Daily Fantasy Course Primer: The Memorial Tournament
The PGA Tour heads to Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament this week, and the field is absolutely loaded with top-tier talent. In all, 23 of the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings will tee it up this week, including Justin Thomas making his first start since the Masters and Tiger Woods hoping to bounce back from a missed cut at the PGA Championship.
Muirfield Village is a 7,392-yard par 72 track that features some of the most difficult greens on Tour. Nicknamed "Jack's Place," Muirfield was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is located in Dublin, Ohio just a few miles from the Golden Bear's hometown of Columbus. The world's best come out for Jack, and the results almost always come down to a thrilling Sunday. Four of the last five years have gone to a playoff to decide the victor.
Rain is in the early forecast for mid-week, so golfers may find softer conditions on Thursday with a gradual drying out over the weekend. The wind can occasionally play a factor at Muirfield, but so far, the gusts don't look too threatening for this year's event.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Distance: 7,392 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass in the fairways, Kentucky bluegrass/ryegrass/fescue in rough
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
Muirfield puts a premium on ball-striking (even more so than normal), with extremely penal rough bracketing wide fairways. Pull driver if you dare, and your risk could well be rewarded. This is not a long course, as no par 4 touches 500 yards, and all of the par 5s are reachable birdie opportunities.
The challenge comes on the next shot, as golfers are forced to hit pinpoint approaches off undulating fairways that produce awkward lies and feet positions. The greens are small and fast bentgrass surfaces, which -- along with the rolling fairways -- bring to mind Augusta National as a comparison. Augusta requires more distance and has no rough, so the comparison is by no means complete but notable nonetheless.
Likewise, the leaderboards are reminiscent of majors. As is the case at Augusta, the cream rises to the top at Muirfield.
The greens are so fast here that they actually serve to neutralize the putting advantage of the best rollers on Tour. Tee-to-green is still the way to go, though, as ball-striking studs who are clueless with the putter have dotted the leaderboard in recent years. Those tiny greens are protected by bunkers on just about every hole and water on almost half.
The winning score has wound up between 9-under par and 15-under par each of the last seven years, but given the depth of the field and the caliber of play so far this season, don't be surprised to see scores challenging high teens or even 20-under to take down the tournament.
These stats will be key to success in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
|Key Stats for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
Strokes gained: tee to green with extra emphasis on approach is as close to a predictive formula as you can get in DFS golf. Especially here, where Hideki Matsuyama has won and Byeong-Hun An, Patrick Cantlay, and Joaquin Niemann finished inside the top six last year, start ball-striking and figure the rest out. Approach is by far the most important element, as landing in the wrong spot could not only take birdie out of play but could also make saving par almost impossible. Tee-to-green includes off the tee, approach, and around the green -- don't sleep on around-the-green play this week, as it will be easy to miss these greens, and getting up and down can sometimes be the best way to save or build momentum.
All four par 5s are birdie chances that cannot be wasted. Par 5 scoring stands out on every par 72 course, and Muirfield is no different. No stat was more predictive of success at the Memorial last year than par 5s gained. According to stats leading into last year's edition (courtesy of the "Time Machine" feature on Fantasy National Golf Club), the top five ranked in strokes gained: par 5s over their last 50 rounds leading into the event all finished inside the top 15, including eventual winner Bryson DeChambeau.
Birdies or better are the name of the game for scoring on any DFS site, and Memorial yields plenty of them. In 2018, Muirfield had the 11th-most birdies and 14th-most eagles of any course on Tour. It was top 20 in both even in difficult conditions in 2017 and was top 10 in both in 2016. If we think 20-under is in play, then filling your DFS lineups with golfers who can go low is an absolute must.
Course History Studs
Tiger Woods pulled off the three-peat from 1999 through 2001 and picked up two more wins in 2009 and 2012. Tiger mustered just a T65 in 2013 and a 71st in 2015 during is dormant period before an encouraging T23 last year.
Matt Kuchar won in 2013 and has not finished worse than T26 in the five years since, including back-to-back T4's in 2016 and 2017.
Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy have been two of the top players in the world for close to a decade and, in limited appearances, have shined at Muirfield. Rose won in 2010, and he finished T6 last year and runner up in 2015. McIlroy has solid finishes of T8 (2018), T4 (2016), and T15 (2014).
The Memorial is David Lingmerth's best event, with a his lone Tour win in 2015 and three finishes inside the top 30 here since then.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.