For the second consecutive week, Muirfield Village will host a PGA TOUR event. Compared to last week’s Workday Charity Open, this week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide will have a smaller field (133 players) but still larger than the usual 120-player fields of past years. Notables in this week’s field who didn’t play last week include Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson … and of course, Tiger Woods, making his first start since the resumption of play.
DraftKings is hosting another PGA TOUR millionaire tournament that pays out $3 million in total prizes, including $1 million to first place. For only $20, draft six golfers for a shot to win the $1 million top prize. This contest is also part of the DraftKings Championship Series – Fantasy Tournament of Champions. In addition to the $1 million top prize, the winner will also earn a ticket to the Big Game in Tampa, Florida, in February 2021 to compete for another $1 million top prize. The millionaire slate locks on Thursday, July 16. Enter multiple lineups before 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday and land a prize if that bonus hits. (Details here.)
The changes we’ll see from last week’s layout include different tee boxes, thicker rough and tougher pin placements. Even so, your DraftKings strategy when looking to roster a particular type of golfer should be similar to the Workday Charity Open, with Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green the most crucial statistic to weigh for potential success. The golfers who finished inside the top five last week gained just under six strokes with their irons, as opposed to 3.2 strokes Off-the-Tee.
Last week’s DraftKings Millionaire maker contest had less than 5% of lineups get all six golfers through to the weekend, with 15% of lineups getting five of six golfers through, and about 30% of lineups with four golfers in their lineups after the cut. In most weeks, your lineups must have all six players playing on the weekend to maximize their opportunity to score, but it won’t be as crucial for the Memorial.
This week is a little different with fewer golfers in the field, which, in theory, should result in a higher percentage of lineups getting all six golfers through the cut. We won’t see the six-of-six percentage double from last week, but we should expect an increase. The strategy should then be to find consistent golfers and build a balanced lineup, using golfers who’ll be more expensive and in turn, will have a higher probability of playing well. We should still be rostering golfers who’ll be volatile with high upside, but we should be more selective than usual this week.
GOLFERS TO CONSIDER
Viktor Hovland ($9,500)
He doesn’t look like he’s slowing down even though it’ll be his sixth start in as many weeks. Once again, he ranked first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last week but struggled with his putter, especially on the weekend. He’s now ranked first in Tee-to-Green in three straight tournaments but has given a lot back on the greens, losing strokes over his previous four tournaments dating back to the RBC Heritage. Being back on the same course and on the same greens should help him, because it’s only a matter of time until Hovland wins again.
Jon Rahm ($9,300)
It wasn’t pretty for Rahm during the first two rounds last week, losing strokes Off-the-Tee and only gaining 0.85 strokes on the greens. It didn’t get much better on Saturday, where he lost nearly three strokes Tee-to-Green. However, Rahm turned it around on Sunday, shooting an 8-under 64, the low round of the day. Rahm also gained the third most strokes with his irons in the final round behind the winner, Collin Morikawa ($10,000) and Patrick Cantlay ($9,800), who finished inside the top 10. His salary dropped $1,600 from last week, which is a considerable discount we should be taking advantage of, especially when he was the second-most expensive golfer last week on the same course.
Xander Schauffele ($9,200)
A similar story to Rahm, Xander had an outstanding weekend, shooting 64 on Saturday and Sunday and finishing at 10 under for the tournament. His top-15 finish last week can be attributed to his strong iron play, ranking sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the weekend, along with gaining just over two strokes putting. Schauffele may be looking over his shoulder with some of the younger golfers like Hovland, Morikawa ($10,000) and Matthew Wolff ($7,400) closing the talent (and win) gap, which seems like the type of motivation Xander needs to get him back into the winner’s circle.
Abraham Ancer ($8,500)
It’s easy to forget about how good (or bad) a golfer has played if we haven’t seen them for a while. This may be the case for Ancer, but don’t let it be. Before Morikawa and Hovland, it was Ancer lighting up the stat sheet with his hot irons, gaining 4.2 strokes at the Travelers Championship and 4.7 strokes at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Those numbers are fantastic, but not as astronomical as the 11.8 strokes he gained at the RBC Heritage, finishing runner-up to Webb Simpson ($9,600). Ancer has three runner-up finishes in the last year and has shown he can handle pressure golf under the proverbial bright lights, posting a top-five and a top-15 finish in World Golf Championships events along with solid play at the Presidents Cup. He’s played this tournament twice, and although his finishes are not great (T-57, T-65), he’s gained strokes through approach in both.
Corey Conners ($7,400)
We should be looking for outstanding ball-strikers at every salary tier, and Conners may be striking it the best right now among golfers in the $7,000 to $8,000 range, ranking 21st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and sixth in approach over the last two months. Conners ranked inside the top 15 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green last week and finished just inside the top 40. His irons were better over the first two rounds, gaining 5.5 strokes, and he has now gained an average of 3.5 strokes Tee-to-Green over his last five tournaments. His putting has been poor, but putting is going to be difficult for everyone at Muirfield this week, not just him. Harris English ($7,300) has been one of the better ball-strikers this season and will be making his first start since testing positive for COVID-19. He should be the pivot play in this range.
Sepp Straka ($7,000)
Straka is a birdie machine and he showed it last weekend, ranking inside the top 10 in total birdies while finishing inside the top 15 for the first time since The American Express back in January. Straka shot all four rounds under-par and accumulated just nine bogeys throughout the tournament.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
ABOUT THE WRITER: I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
Source: PGA tour