Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2022 MemorialTournament Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Muirfield Village
2022 Fantasy Football — Rookie RB Rankings & Projections
2022 Memorial Tournamant: Field
120 Players | Top 65 & Ties Make The Cut
First Tee: Thursday, June 2
Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay
With the majors coming one after another at this point, the non-majors tend to get short-changed in terms of field strength in between. This is not the case for the 2022 Memorial Tournament. This field is STACKED. And unless they pop up to win Canada’s national Open next week or go for the cash grab on the LIV Tour, this is the last chance we’ll get to see most of these guys until the U.S. Open.
Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im and Matthew Fitzpatrick to headline the field.
Cameron Young, Daniel Berger, Marc Leishman, Corey Conners, Max Homa, Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Mito Pereira, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland, Si WOOOOO Kim, Jason Day, Abraham Ancer and Patrick Reed pad the next tier of players. Frankly, if it was just this tier and none of the headliners, it would still be a stronger field than some of the tournaments we’ve witnessed this year.
Bryson DeChambeau is once again listed in the field but is still testing out his injured wrist and remains questionable.
Of note, the field is only 120 players, as this is an invitational tournament; meaning AT LEAST 54% of the field will make the weekend. That will inevitably be higher since there are bound to be more than 65 players who make the cut. This should lead to a lofty 6/6 percentage on DraftKings barring two or three of the popular picks ending up on the outside looking in.
2022 Memorial Tournament: Key Stats
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 4s 450-500 Yards Gained
- Sand Saves Gained
- Proximity Gained 175-200 Yards
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2022 Memorial Tournament: Course
- Course: Muirfield Village
- Par: 72
- Yardage: 7,543
- Greens: Bentgrass
2022 Memorial Tournament: Past Winners
- 2021: Patrick Cantlay -13* (Jon Rahm forced to WD after three 3 Rounds as leader)
- 2020: Jon Rahm -9
- 2019: Patrick Cantlay -19
- 2018: Bryson DeChambeau -15
- 2017: Jason Dufner -13
- 2016: William McGirt -15
- 2015: David Lingmerth -14
- 2014: Hideki Matsuyama -13
- 2013: Matt Kuchar -12
2022 Memorial Tournament: Course
Two years ago, with the field struggling mightily, and Jack doing commentary on the broadcast, we witnessed the final group finish a hole only to see the grounds crew sprint onto the screen and begin tearing up the grounds.
The greens, fairways and tee boxes were regrassed, and around 100 extra yards were added to the course. The greens weren’t just reconstructed with new bentgrass, irrigation and Precision Air systems, but they were recontoured as well. All greenside bunkers were modified too. Muirfield Village already possessed the most difficult greenside sand traps on TOUR, and an adjustment to them didn’t change that based on one year’s information.
Generating sand saves from the 74 bunkers spread across the grounds is essential. The greenside sand traps at Muirfield Village have annually resulted in the longest proximity lengths of any course in regular PGA TOUR rotation. Coupled with the tiny and lightning-fast greens, The Memorial sits inside the top-five courses with the lowest scrambling percentage (53%). Despite the myriad changes, the classic elements of Muirfield remained: High driving accuracy with the wide fairways, low GIR with the smaller-than-average greens.
For research, obviously, looking at last year’s event will be the most helpful, but I don’t want to discard the past decade of information, outside of the 2020 season. That year two events were held at Muirfield Village: One too easy. The one too hard.
The Workday (first event) setup was shorter and a lot slower, while The Memorial setup overreacted to the Workday and was one of the toughest tournaments of the season. The final-round scoring average of 75.96 was the highest in a round on the PGA TOUR since the 2018 U.S. Open (76.47/R1) and the highest at a non-major since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open (77.90/R4). The 2020 Memorial setup was completely baked out, then the winds started to pick up and ravaged Sunday. It was a perfect storm of difficulty. I wouldn’t anticipate that being the case in 2022.
When trying to look at common links between the winners it’s always imperative to remove Tiger Woods from the equation. What help does five-time Memorial winner Tiger give you? Target players like Tiger? OK. I’ve finished my search and there are none. Now what? Well, approach widely outweighs driving at Muirfield Village, attributed to the THICC fairways. Twelve of the past 14 winners have ranked inside the Top 10 of Strokes Gained: Approach for the week. Last year, each of the top six finishers on the leaderboard finished inside the Top 10 in SG: Approach. And that was with no Jon Rahm being included after his post-third-round WD. This shouldn’t be breaking news to anyone, as approach is always the most important stat when we review each event after its conclusion, but even for approach, that’s extreme.
At the average PGA TOUR course, approach typically outgains off the tee at around 2.5x clip. Among the top 5 finishers at Memorial, it’s almost 3.5x. And it makes sense just looking at the course. Missing the green is just going to bring pain with those bunkers and the club-catching rough. There are usually massive fluctuations in SG: Around the Green from top to bottom of the field for a week, but looking at the past 10 years, it’s one of the few courses where SG: ATG actually factors in more than SG: OTT.
Despite being a longer Par 72, 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 as 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 few years ago, but not before seeing a lot of success shared between the two courses. Tiger has 12 combined 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, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose and Jim Furyk who’ve all experienced success at both tracks. A lot of those same names have navigated TPC Sawgrass pretty well in their careers too. Not quite sure how those courses correlate, though.
There’s one addition to last week after doing a deep dive and scanning the leaderboard. PGA National (Honda Classic) is another Nicklaus-designed course that 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 with 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.
The key this week is to tread water on the long par 3s and par 4s and don’t waste opportunities on the par 5s. Obvious? Surely. 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. Three of the four par 3s are at least 200 yards. It’s not required to score on any of these holes, it’s all about refusing to pencil in some hockey sticks on the scorecard. Things can get away from the field pretty quickly with all the weird creeks and bunkers hiding everywhere. Or the wind can get so extreme, you can be like Phil Mickelson in 2020, and simply lay up on No. 16 … a par 3.
Overall, Americans have won eight of the past 11 years, and the Memorial has produced a playoff five of the past eight years. Justin Rose (2010) was the last winner to miss the cut in his previous appearance at Muirfield Village, while Matsuyama (2014) won in his first attempt.
Patrick Cantlay, Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Adam Scott, Joel Dahmen, Lucas Glover, Martin Laird, Marc Leishman, Russell Knox, CT Pan, Anirban Lahiri, Pat Perez and Abraham Ancer are all perfect making the cut over the past five years in a minimum of three starts.
Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are a perfect two-for-two, but Morikawa and VIK were the winner and bronze medalist at the Workday event in 2020.
2022 Memorial Tournamant: Picks
Shane Lowry ($9,000)
There’s only one real issue: He just looks too good on paper. The Irishman’s first in approach over the last 36 rounds, eighth in sand saves, 11th in GIRs and second in Par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards — the length of the most difficult holes on the course. Lowry churned out a top 10 finish on this site a year ago, and doesn’t have a PGA TOUR finish worse than T23 so far in 2022 over six starts. There’s nothing not to like … beyond the massive ownership on DraftKings, I suppose. The issue is, whenever someone lines up this well for a course, they just flame out. Obviously, not always, but it sure seems that way.
Cameron Smith ($9,900)
This may actually be a great opportunity to snag Smith at deeper odds and lower DraftKings ownership (*not a guarantee*). Thank his putter and course history. The Aussie’s performance at Muirfield Village in his career is awful. Six starts, four missed cuts and no finish better than T65. That will deflate interest immediately. Then there are his past two starts. After his T3 at Augusta, the putter has gone cold. He missed the cut at Heritage despite an excellent week with the irons. Then he finished T13 at the PGA Championship while losing four strokes on the greens. It’s funny that is the talking point, not leading the field by over two strokes T2G. It’s going to be difficult to parse between the favorites this week and many will take a pass on Smith for sexier options, but really, all he needs to do is putt like he usually does and he’s perfectly set up to take advantage of the course.
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 a 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.
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