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2020 Fantasy Golf — 2020 Memorial Tournament Picks, Rankings, Sleepers, Predictions

Pat Mayo breaks down the 2020 Memorial Tournament, making his picks and rankings for the event while previewing the course and key stats.

2020 Memorial Picks and Predictions

Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2020 Memorial Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Muirfield Village.

2020 Memorial Wednesday Update & Viewer Chat at 12:30pm ET (On-Demand After)

2020 Memorial — Picks + Preview | Picks/Field/Course | Picks Video | Stats/Tools

2020 Memorial DraftKings Research | Picks & Preview | DK Cheatsheet | Video | Own% Projections


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2020 Memorial Tournament Field

Field: 133 Players | Top 65 and Ties Make the Cut after 36 Holes
First Tee: Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 a.m. ET
Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay

The Workday at Muirfield Village was so great they decided to stick around Dublin, Ohio another week to run it back for the 2020 Memorial Tournament. You know, that timeline may be wrong. Regardless, Muirfield Village is up again for the players this week, marking the first time since 1957 the same course will host consecutive events. The trivia answer you’re looking for is: Tam O’Shanter Club in Illinois.

Now, while it’s the same course, the field is smaller, and much stronger this time around. This is Jack’s tournament, at Jack’s course, so all the big names will be on the grounds. After skipping Workday, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Kevin Na, Bernd Wiesberger, Cameron Smith and Kevin Kisner are all showing up this week. And yes, FINALLY, seven-time Memorial winner Tiger Woods is back in competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 hiatus.

A field of just those players would make it one of the most competitive tournaments of the year, but they’ll just be playing with the top-end talent who decided to book their Airbnbs for two weeks: Workday winner Collin Morikawa returns, and he’s bringing Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Hadwin, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Streelman and Jordan Spieth along with him. Initially, Brooks Koepka wasn’t slated to play this event, but he’s currently outside the FedEx Cup Playoff bubble and needs the points to make sure he gets his crack at the $15M top prize. Who wouldn’t? Well, that, or he played his final 10 holes Friday at six-under to miss the cut on the number and thinks he found his game again after a day-and-a-half of struggles. Doesn’t really matter; he’s playing either way.

The names don’t even end there.

Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Brendon Todd, Erik van Rooyen, Alex Noren, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Hao Tong Li, Matthias Schwab, Scott Piercy, The JAZZ MAN, Lingmerth, Victor Perez, Carl Pettersson, Jason Scrivener, William McGirt and Amateur Andy Ogletree will all be at Muirfield too after taking a pass last week.

The 2020 Memorial may actually have a better field than the WGC in a few weeks. I’m guessing that might be a skip for some players who don’t want to risk the COVID-19 quarantine and miss the PGA Championship. That’s just a theory, however.

If you’re seeing a few names in that mix you may have forgotten about, or just never knew, here’s a brief refresher:

Hao Tong Li is down to No. 101 in the world rankings. He hasn’t played since Qatar in the first week of March in which he missed the cut. Hao Tong’s missed three of five cuts in 2020. Matthias Schwab (No. 91) also last played in Qutar. He’s four-of-four in cuts made on the EURO TOUR in 2020 and played the WGC-Mexico, all finishes between T20-T44. The Austrian was tied for 4th at a WGC in November and went T4/MC/T4/T2 over that stretch. Aussie, Jason Scrivener (No. 180) has five starts in 2020: four of five in cuts made; the best finish is T21 in Qatar. Bartleby, the Scrivener was T21/T3/T10/T13 on the EURO TOUR to close 2019, some of those in pretty stacked fields. 2016 Memorial winner William McGirt last played in Colorado two weeks ago on the Korn Ferry Tour. He missed the cut. It was his first start since 2018 and now sits No. 1393 in the world rankings.

Then there’s Bernd Wiesberger. The world’s No. 29 player, winner of three EURO events in 2019. He’s been spotty in 2020, making only two of four cuts, but posted a quality T8 in Abu Dhabi and pitched a T37 at the WGC-Mexico. Bernd’s on a different level than most these guys and possesses all the traits of a golfer I like losing money on: top-end Ball Striker who can putt his way out of a tourney. Then you FEEL THE BERND!!!!! Basically, he’s high-end Byeong-Hun An.

The field for Memorial has been trimmed from 157 players to 133, as well. Annually, Memorial is played as an invitational with around 120 players, but they expanded to accommodate the restart of golf. The last few weeks have seen under three percent of all lineups get all six players through the cutline in the DraftKings Millionaire, and this change down to 133 should up those percentages. Now, if two or three highly owned players have a bad week, it’s going to be low again, but in terms of raw numbers, with the cut rules being the Top 65 scores and ties after two rounds, 43% of the field made the cut at Workday. At least 49% will see the weekend at Memorial.

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

2020 Memorial Tournament: Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Approach
Par 4s 450-500 Yards Gained
Sand Saves Gained
Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards

Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com

2020 Memorial Tournament: Course

Course: Muirfield Village
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,456
Greens: Bentgrass

2020 Memorial Tournament: Past Winners

2020: Collin Morikawa -19 (Workday Open)
2019: Patrick Cantlay -19
2018: Bryson DeChambeau -15
2017: Jason Dufner -13
2016: William McGirt -15
2015: David Lingmerth -15
2014: Hideki Matsuyama -13
2013: Matt Kuchar -12
2012: Tiger Woods -9
2011: Steve Stricker -16
2010: Justin Rose -18

2020 Memorial Tournament: Strategy

Hearing players’ comments about the course throughout the week will be something to monitor, as we really won’t know how different Muirfield Village will change from the Workday.

Tournament organizers have said they won’t cut the rough, the greens will be firmed and roll fast, and the regular, and difficult Memorial pin locations and tee boxes will be used this week. Will that have much of an effect on performance? Probably not. And if it does, these are some of the best players in the world, expect them to adjust accordingly.

The biggest adjustment, I think, is going to the firmness and speed. Ian Poulter played his approach exactly how he wanted it Saturday on the 15th hole. Bring it into the back of the green and let gravity do the rest to get it to the hole. Under a normal Memorial set up it would have rolled to inches from the cup. But the combination of rain and the slower cut greens kept the ball at the top of the ridge. No birdie for (should be) Sir Ian. Since we’re not going to know how that affects individual players, it’s probably best not to consider it all.

Other than that, what I said last week, once again applies…

Approach widely outweighs driving Muirfield Village, much attributed the girthy fairways, although getting it up and down from the 73 bunkers spread across the grounds is pretty essential, as well. The green side sand traps at Muirfield Village result in some of the longest proximity lengths of any course on sweet Mother Gaia. Coupled with the tiny and (usually) lightning-fast greens, The Memorial annually sits inside the top-five courses with the lowest scrambling percentage (53%).

The course is going to chew up the field on the long par 3s and par 4s. Six par 4s measure from 450-500 yards, all of which are inside the nine most difficult. Three of four par 3s are inside the six most difficult holes; the only one that isn’t, No. 8, has just been lengthened by 17 yards. There are six par 4s falling between 450-500 yards, all of which play over par. It’s not required to score on those holes, leave that for the easy par 5s, but avoiding the most crooked of numbers is an absolute must to remain in contention. There were 45 double bogeys or worse made across these six holes last year, with 17 on Hole 18 alone.

There is some good news, however. While distance is always an advantage, shorter hitters who still gain strokes off the tee and smack a crisp long iron can very much compete. Any place which can boast Matt Kuchar, David Lingmerth, Steve Stricker and Jason Dufner was past champions can attest to this. Being in Ohio, the clear crossover event is the former WGC played at Firestone CC. Firestone was replaced on the schedule a year ago, but not before seeing a lot of success shared between the two courses. Tiger has 12 combine victories between the two courses and Hideki Matsuyama has also won at both courses. Then there are Jason Dufner, David Lingmerth, Marc Leishman, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose and Jim Furyk who’ve experienced success at both tracks. A lot of those same names have navigated TPC Sawgrass adequately in their careers, too.

One addition to last week after doing a deep dive and scanning the leaderboard. PGA National (Honda Classic), is another Nicklaus designed course which features some crossover success. Since PGA National has so much water, one-year success or failure makes it hard to judge because one awful shot can take you out of that tournament. However, players will multiple quality results at PGA National tend to have a decent feel for Muirfield Village. Not as much as Firestone, but enough to factor it in. Oh, and don’t forget to remind me about the 3M/Rocket Mortgage correlation for next week. Just writing it here so I won’t forget.

Overall, Americans have won seven of the past nine years, and four in a row while the Memorial has produced a playoff four of the past six years. Rose (2010) was the last winner to miss the cut in his previous appearance at the Muirfield Village, while Matsuyama (2014) won in his first attempt. Although Workday isn’t Memorial, Morikawa, an American, won again. And we did get another playoff.

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2020 Memorial Tournament Picks — Targets From Each Range

Tiger Woods

Layoffs damage some players. Tiger is not one of them. He’s actually one of the few players who has a lot of experience in this realm. Yes, he’s won this event seven times (last time 2012), but he’s played incredibly well here the last two years, as well T9/T23. In the year in which he claimed T23, he gained over 11 strokes with his irons and lost almost eight on the greens. Since 2012, only his putting performance at Riviera earlier this year has been worse. If Tiger drives it as well as he did when paired with Peyton Manning during the hiatus, he’ll be great.

Viktor Hovland

I went with VIK last week, and I don’t see how you can be deterred after what you saw. He led the field in the Strokes Gained: Tee To Green for the third consecutive week. No player has done that since these sorts of stats started to be tracked in 2004. To quote me from last week, “One of these days the Norwegian Nightmare is going to make a few putts. I can’t guarantee it will be this week, but it’ll happen at some point.” It didn’t happen at Workday. Hovland lost 1.4 strokes on the green for the week. He still came third. And that was a massive improvement on the combined 6.8 he’d lost the two events previously. TRENDING UP!!!! There is good news in this when you’re as good Tee to Green as VIK, you don’t need to lead the field in putting, just don’t be among the worst. That’s achievable. Justin Thomas was 38th in putting at Workday, something in that range is doable.

Abraham Ancer

Has he been off long enough for everyone to have forgotten how good he’s been since the restart? Probably not. Still doesn’t matter, though. Ancer has gone T14/2nd/T11 coming out of the break and the ball-striking has been out of this world. He’s tops in SG: APP in this field since golf came back and he’s elite from the key proximity range (150-175 yards). Do I worry about his short game and putting, who doesn’t? But the short game doesn’t mean anything when you’re hitting almost every green. Just ask Collin Morikawa.

Other notable names appearing near the top of stat models and the win simulator at FantasyNational.com: Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Doc Redman, Kevin Streelman, Daniel Berger

The DraftKings millionaire slate locks on Thursday morning, July 16th, so set your lineups here: PGA TOUR $3M Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry].


Enter multiple lineups into the DraftKings Golf Millionaire contest before 3PM ET on Wednesday, July 15 and land a prize if that bonus hits. See more details here.


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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) 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.

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