Daily Fantasy Golf Tournament Primer: The Memorial Tournament
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, but the volatility -- top-tier golfers can miss the cut, and longshots can win outright -- makes it a unique daily fantasy sport.
Ownership won't always matter, and favorites will win and thrive some weeks, but when the chalk struggles and the pivots hit big, you can put yourself in a great position to succeed when playing large tournaments on FanDuel.
Whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week in GPP tournaments on FanDuel.
|Key Stats for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Ball Striking|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5|
|Proximity: 150-200 yards|
|Greens in Regulation|
The PGA Tour heads to Muirfield Village Golf Club, just outside of Columbus, Ohio, for the Memorial Tournament this week, and the field is packed with the top-players in the world, featuring 23 of the top 30 golfers in the FedEx standings. With just 120 players in the field for this invitational event, and the top-70 and ties making the cut, DFS players can take a different approach as a higher percentage of the field makes the weekend.
According to FantasyNational, this course sees an above average percentage in driving accuracy -- about seven percent higher than other courses on the tour -- as Muirfield's fairways are wider, although the rough will penalize the golfers. Both greens-in-regulation and scrambling percentages are lower here than in most events which means golfers that struggle around the green could be in for a long weekend, if they make it that far. The majority of the approach shots come from 150-200 yards and all four of the Par 5s should be reachable by all golfers while six of the Par 4s fall between 450-500 yards.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Target: Justin Thomas (FanDuel Salary: $11,600) - After not playing since his withdrawal from the PGA Championship, Thomas may come in at below 12% ownership on a course where he has finished inside the top-10 in back-to-back years. Of course, his wrist injury is worrisome, but Thomas has made the cut and finished within the top 40 in 17 straight tournaments since last year’s Open Championship, and his stats pop on this course as he is third in strokes gained: approach and second in strokes gained on par 5s over the last 50 rounds. If Thomas can stay healthy and avoid large numbers on the green, he has as good of shot as anyone to hold the trophy on Sunday.
Avoid: Jordan Spieth ($11,400) - With two straight top-10 finishes, Spieth, per usual, has performed well over his expected outcome due to averaging 5.7 strokes putting over his last five tournaments. With most of the top golfers playing in the Memorial, Spieth’s ownership may come in below 10%, but there is no reason to get sneaky. Spieth has lost strokes in approach, off the tee, and tee-to-green over his last 10 tournaments, on average, and has not finished in the top-10 at this tournament since 2015 while missing the cut last year. Spieth has not gained more than two strokes putting in any of his six appearances at Memorial, and he comes in outside the top-45 in strokes gained: putting on putts longer than 10 feet on fast bentgrass greens over the last 50 rounds, losing 0.3 strokes over that span. If Spieth doesn’t have a good week putting, he will likely struggle to compete, and may struggle to break the top-50, making him an easy player to avoid.
Avoid: Patrick Cantlay ($11,000) - With three-straight top-10 finishes and two top-40 finishes at the Memorial the last two years, including a fourth in 2018, Cantlay will likely be one of the top-owned golfers this week, as most of his stats pop in the key areas. However, Cantlay is outside the top-45 in sand saves and strokes gained: around the green over the last 50 rounds. He also has negative putting splits on bentgrass in his career.
Target: Byeong Hun An ($9,700) - With a missed cut in two of his last three tournaments, and a 68th place finish in last weekend’s Charles Schwab, An does not come in with great form despite three straight top-25 finishes at the Memorial, including a second in 2018. An is within the top-40 in all the key stats over the last 50 rounds, including ranking inside the top-10 in strokes gained on par 4s from 450 to 500 yards and second in strokes gained: around the green. Clearly not know for his putting, An has lost his least number of strokes on bentgrass, and he has actually gained strokes over his last 16 rounds on lightning-fast bentgrass greens from 10-plus feet or more, gaining 2.5 strokes over that span.
Target: Keegan Bradley ($9,200) - Without a top-10 finish since the WGC Mexico in February, Bradley’s ownership could top 15% at a course he has finished inside the top-25 in three of his last four appearances, including finishing eighth in 2015 and 2016. Bradley is second in strokes gained: approach over the last 24 rounds and is second over that time period in proximity: 150-175 yards, averaging 14.3 feet gained per round from that distance range. If Bradley can find a way not to lose strokes around the green and in the sand ,he may be able to compete against the best players in the world as he putts “best” on bentgrass (although he’s still Keegan Bradley), and he has totaled 6.6 strokes gained since 2012 at Memorial.
Avoid: Tony Finau ($10,800) - After struggling in his previous two tournaments (PGA Championship and Wells Fargo), Finau shot a nine under and finished second at last weekend’s Charles Schwab, despite a mediocre weekend (one under). During the Charles Schwab, Finau struggled around the green (-0.1 strokes gained) and finished 15th in strokes gained: approach. Over his last 24 rounds, Finau is outside the top-100 in strokes gained: around the green and sand saves, losing a combined 0.5 strokes per round while losing seven strokes per round in proximity: 150-200 over those 24 rounds. With ownership that could top 20%, Finau should be an easy fade in this loaded field.
Target: Talor Gooch ($8,000) - If he can make the cut, Gooch, since the start of 2019, has shown an ability to compete, finishing inside the top-30 in all four occurrences making the cut while finishing inside the top-five twice. Gooch’s off-the-tee woes will be mitigated with wider fairways and he sits inside the top-10 over the last 24 rounds in strokes gained: approach and greens in regulation gained. He could find trouble if he misses the green. On Bentgrass, Gooch is above the tour average in putts-made within 10 feet but does struggle from longer distances, but with ownership likely under 5%, Gooch sets up to be a key target in the low-end range, especially with a high-percentage of the players making the cut.
Avoid: Kevin Streelman ($8,400) - Coming in with good form, four-straight top-45 finishes -- including two sixth place finishes, Streelman will likely top 12% ownership, especially since he has finished inside the top-20 in three of his last four appearances at this tournament. However, over his last 50 rounds, Streelman has lost strokes on par 5s, par 4s from 450 to 500 yards, and around the green, as well as proximity from 150 to 200 yards. Streelman’s course history is intriguing, but there are better “dart-throws” who should come in at sub-five percent ownership, and based on the stats, Streelman is not two-to-three times more likely to win this tournament than the other top players in this range.
Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.