Daily Fantasy Course Primer: The Memorial Tournament
Another thrilling finish last week saw Collin Morikawa pick up his second career victory -- and with it a legitimate, unqualified, star-making turn. Starting the day three strokes back, Morikawa overtook one of the best players in the world, Justin Thomas, only to give it all back and then some before spinning in a par putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff. As would befit Jack's Place, Morikawa and Thomas ranked second and third on the week in strokes gained: tee to green and third and fourth in strokes gained: approach.
We covered a good bit on Muirfield Village Golf Club last week, but the focus on ball striking and especially approach were evident across the leaderboard. Given the unprecedented nature of a course repeating in consecutive weeks, we must consider exactly how to judge golfers who teed it up last week versus their opponents who sat out. Indications last week were that the rough would be grown out and greens sped up for the Memorial, so those who played the Workday Charity Open may see harsher lies and more difficult reads than they just spent four days getting used to.
It is not worth using last week's participation as a deciding factor either way and with storms in the forecast, we could once again see some similar delays and tee time juggling as we saw at Workday. It will be difficult to keep the greens as fast as they want them in these conditions, and this will definitely be a week to check the forecast later in the week to see if one group is getting the better end of the draw.
Oh, and did we mention a certain 82-time PGA Tour winner was teeing it up in his first non-celebrity charity event since the COVID-19 pandemic put the season on hold?
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
Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass in the fairways, Kentucky bluegrass/ryegrass/fescue in rough
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
Last week, we predicted tee to green studs would dot the leaderboard and noted the difficult closing stretch. It came to pass that three of the best tee to green players in the world were in the final group together, with one gagging the tournament away over the last three holes.
The leaders flirted with 20-under par, and some low numbers were definitely out there all week. But Morikawa and Thomas were four shots ahead of second place and seven shots ahead of fifth, so it's not like everyone was running roughshod all week. More than two-thirds of the golfers who made the cut finished at least 10 strokes behind the winner.
Though Morikawa and Viktor Hovland have not been on Tour long enough to have a ton of history at our comp courses discussed in last week's article -- Augusta National, Quail Hollow, TPC River Highlands, and Innisbrook Resort -- Thomas has won the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow and has quality finishes at the three others (where doesn't he?). Hovland was T11 two weeks at TPC River Highlands and was the top amateur at Augusta last year. Once again, we'll be looking for tee to green excellence, with plenty more big names in the field to challenge Morikawa's defense.
These stats will be the keys to success in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
|Key Stats for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Greens in Regulation Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
Can't get much more relevant than pointing out that the golfer currently leading the season in strokes gained: approach is Morikawa. Second place? Justin Thomas. Hovland is seventh, and Workday top-10 finishers Gary Woodland, Patrick Cantlay, and Russell Henley are also inside the top 12. All six of those names are also inside the top 31 in greens in regulation percentage, and all but Hovland and Henley are inside the top 10 in par 5 scoring average.
To keep it short, ball striking and scoring (a.k.a., being good at golf) is the recipe here. Like last week, look for the best golfers in the best form and prioritize iron play and course fit further down the market.
For golfers who played last week, we can also look to Round 4 scoring average to identify golfers who perform best after building familiarity with a course and see if we can identify any strong closers who could carry momentum into the next week.
Course History Studs
Tiger Woods won the Memorial five times in his heyday, and a T9 finish last year was his best of 2019, aside from his incredible win at The Masters. The Augusta corollary needs no further evidence.
Kevin Streelman banked a T7 at the Workday Charity Open and has generally played Muirfield about as well as any course on Tour. He was fourth last year and had three other top 20s in the four preceding seasons.
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.