Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Workday Charity Open

Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts the first of two consecutive events this week. The Workday Charity Open expects another solid field this week, with many getting a peek at Muirfield before the Memorial.

Amidst all the hand-wringing and outcry at Bryson DeChambeau allegedly solving the game of golf, the PGA Tour somehow continues this week with another event, mercifully sans DeChambeau.

In the adjusted schedule put out by the Tour in its return-to-play plan, this slot was initially occupied by the John Deere Classic. The tournament organizers at TPC Deere Run felt they were unable to effectively host due to restrictions in Illinois and the size and layout of the course and clubhouse, and Workday stepped in to sponsor a replacement event.

So the Tour heads to a familiar location in an unusual set of circumstances, as the Workday Charity Open will be the first of consecutive events played at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The annual host of the Memorial Tournament will get its standard bearer back next week, but for now it has stepped up to pull double duty. The 7,392-yard par 72 was designed by Jack Nicklaus in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio.

The course usually plays over Memorial Day Weekend. Further into the Midwest summer the field may find it a bit firmer, however, scattered thunderstorms are expected early in the week and certainly over the weekend. We may see some shuffling of the tee times to get golfers out early for rounds 3 and 4, but we'll need to monitor the forecast to get a feel for any potential wave advantage on Thursday or Friday.

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
Par: 72
Distance: 7,392 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass in the fairways, Kentucky bluegrass/ryegrass/fescue in rough
Greens: Bentgrass

Season Par Yardage Average Score Avg O/U Par Rank
2019 72 7392 72.081 +0.081 13
2018 72 7392 71.396 -0.604 30
2017 72 7392 72.797 +0.797 13
2016 72 7392 70.987 -1.013 36
2015 72 7392 71.738 -0.262 23

Stats above are for the Memorial, but worth citing here. We have a pretty good blend of difficulty levels from year to year, and while the winning score last year was all the way up at 19-under par, only 8 golfers cracked double digits under par, and only 2 golfers were within 6 strokes of the champion Patrick Cantlay.

Even with a full par 72, we generally see golfers scale back off the tee, and the field averaged just 283.3 yards driving last year, the 9th lowest for the season. Muirfield features small, fast greens that neutralize the best putters' advantage, and we often see a heavy dose of ball-striking wizards across the leaderboard.

Golfers will face one of the most difficult closing stretches this week, with the 16th, 17th, and 18th averaging +0.109, +0.174, and +0.276 strokes over par last year. The 18th has played as the hardest hole on the course three of the past five years and was second only to the 16th in the other two.

Muirfield fits a mold on the PGA Tour -- fair par 72s that require accuracy with the irons and the ability to scramble when off target. Also fitting this description are Augusta National (The Masters) and Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo Championship). We included Muirfield a few weeks ago in our writeup on TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship) based on how essential quality iron play is at both tracks. And finally our most convincing comp comes by way of Florida, where the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort (Valspar Championship) matches Muirfield's emphasis on ballstriking and has perhaps the only closing stretch more daunting.

Key Stats

These stats will be the keys to success in the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Key Stats for the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village GC
Strokes Gained: Approach
Greens in Regulation Gained
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Strokes Gained: Par 5s
Birdies or Better Gained

We'll continue to hammer the importance of approach and complement the strokes gained metric with the more traditional greens in regulation (GIR). Muirfield's small greens are annually in the bottom half in GIR percentage, and last year came in 14th at just 62.69%. The 9 best in strokes gained: approach all finished T17 or better, and 7 of those golfers finished inside the top 10.

Even the golfers who perform well with their irons will miss often enough here that chipping will come into play. The tee to green mastery of Cantlay and others is typically tied to their off the tee and iron play, but gaining around the green is an important part of the overall profile of winners and top finishers here. Cantlay ranked fifth in both strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: around the green last year, and 3 other top-10 finishers were at the top of the around the green ranks.

Par 5 scoring is always essential when golfers get four opportunities, and the four here unsurprisingly rank as the four easiest holes on the course. The 535-yard 15th hole is arguably the most important hole on the course to move up the leaderboard, as round numbers are in short supply on the 16th, 17th, and 18th.

Birdies or better is our evergreen barometer for finishing position in a tournament and, more importantly, fantasy scoring.

Course History Studs

We'll apply the Memorial history here for obvious reasons, and that starts with the defending champion Cantlay, who also finished fourth in 2018. He is the prototype for success here -- tee to green beast who can putt well above his baseline on these greens.

Hideki Matsuyama won his Memorial debut in 2014 and since then has finished T5, MC, T45, T13, and 6th at Muirfield. Did we mention tee to green and iron play is important and putting...not so much?

Justin Rose has a sizable sample at Muirfield, with last year being his 13th visit to Jack's Place. It is feast or famine for Rose, who won in 2010 and has 8 other top-15 finishes. The other four results were three missed cuts (2014, 2011, and 2009) and a T75 (2005).

Further down the spectrum and illustrative of Team No-Putt's success here are Emiliano Grillo and Byeong-Hun An, two DFS darlings who smash statistical models yet seldom putt well enough to win. Grillo has played Muirfield each of the past four years, finishing T9, T23, T40, and T11. An is even better, losing in a playoff in 2018 and finishing inside the top 25 in 2019, 2017, and 2016.

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.