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Hosted by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village, The Memorial features an elite 120-man field. Thirty-two of the world’s top 50 golfers are in attendance, including each of the most recent champions in Patrick Cantlay (x2) and Jon Rahm. Rahm looked well on his way to winning the event in 2021 (after also winning in 2020) but had to withdraw after round three last year after to testing positive for COVID-19.
Despite extensive renovations to the course after 2020, the venue still played tough in 2021 with just a 13-under winning score. As of writing, 2018 champion Bryson DeChambeau (hand) is still in the field but his status needs to be monitored up until tee off. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama are also all back in action this week after taking last week off. Despite the reduced field, the cut aligns with the standard PGA TOUR rules as only the top 65 and ties make the cut after Friday’s round.
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Muirfield Village—Dublin, Ohio
Par 72, 7,533 yards, Greens: Bentgrass (some poa)
Muirfield Village is a true championship course. It was built in 1972 and named after Jack Nicklaus’ favorite Open Championship venue (Muirfield); it also shares some design similarities with Augusta National. Like Augusta, Muirfield Village is a par 72 and carries four par 5s that are quite reachable in two by many of the players, with the longest being only 567 yards. These four holes played as the four easiest on the course in 2021, which was the standard for Muirfield every season even before the 2020 renovations. The par 5s contrast greatly with the par 3s, which don’t measure that long but challenge players with awkwardly shaped greens and almost always play as some of the toughest holes for the week.
Muirfield Village was played twice on the PGA TOUR (in back-to-back weeks) in 2020, but has since undergone massive renovations, which include a complete reconstruction of the bentgrass greens. Length was also added to the course, and it can now play close to 7,600 yards, while lots of trees were also added to make some of the tee shots more challenging. Muirfield’s layout didn't change drastically, though, and it still played as one of the tougher venues in 2021. Both Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay — who were the only men to reach 13-under par last season — both gained over 6.0 strokes on approach on the field in 2021 and over 2.0 strokes around the greens.
While approach stats remain the obvious indicator (as they do most weeks), the winners at Muirfield Village tend to need spike weeks either around the greens or with the putter. Going back to 2018, we saw DeChambeau win at Muirfield Village while gaining over 7.0 strokes around the green and putting combined (while gaining just 3.7 strokes on approach). Saving bogies and being consistent on and around the greens can often be just as vital at an all-around test like Muirfield Village and only one of the top 10 finishers from this event last season gained less than 1.9 strokes around the green for the week.
With hard to hold greens, looking for players who will produce good weeks with their irons, but can also save you with some solid around the green play, could be the key to unlocking six-of-six lineups this week.
2022 outlook: This event has been known to see the odd thunderstorm or two but the weather for 2022 looks benign. There’s a 30-40 percent chance of precipitation set for Thursday morning, which could affect play and might be worth monitoring or even fading if the forecast for Thursday morning worsens by lock. Players could also see a slightly more receptive course on Thursday, though, as there is rain and potential thunderstorms in the forecast for Wednesday. After Thursday, the chance of rain is almost nil and there’s little wind to worry about with gusts staying under 10 mph. With calm conditions on tap, expect decent scoring this year and very mild splits between the two waves on Thursday and Friday.
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Last 5 winners
Patrick Cantlay (-13 over Collin Morikawa playoff)
Jon Rahm (-9 over Ryan Palmer -6)
Patrick Cantlay (-19 over Adam Scott -17)
Bryson DeChambeau (-15 over Byeong Hun An playoff)
Jason Dufner—2017 (-13 over Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri -10)
- Twelve of the last 13 winners had a T5 finish or better on the PGA TOUR in the year of their victory before winning at the Memorial.
- Course History: Six of the past seven winners of The Memorial had made the cut at Muirfield Village in their previous appearance at this event.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2021 Winner: Patrick Cantlay (13-under par)
2021 lead-in form (T23-MC-MC-MC-MC)
- The top four finishers at this event from 2020 all ranked inside the top five in bogey avoidance. Patrick Cantlay was tied for second in bogey avoidance, as well, in 2021.
- The most popular grouping of approach shots here over time has been from 175-200 yards, but 150-175 yards is also very popular. Two of the par 3s also fall in this shorter range.
- Muirfield Village now has seven par 4s that range between 450-500 yards, making par 4 efficiency from 450-500 yards worth looking at.
- The course features wide fairways, so driving accuracy numbers are surprisingly higher than a regular PGA TOUR event, with cut-makers hitting 68% of fairways.
- Greens are smaller than normal, so they’re difficult to hold. The average cut-maker at this event has hit 61% of GIR vs. 65% at other TOUR stops. As mentioned above, this has enhanced the need for sharp around the green play.
- Solid approach stats and around the green play should be emphasized the most — since 2018, only one top-five finisher at this event/venue (Matthew Fitzpatrick in 2020) has lost strokes ATG for the week.
- The last two winner/runner-up combos have gained at least 5.0 strokes on their approaches. Solid iron play and scrambling are a must at this very difficult all-around test.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
- Hideki Matsuyama +2800 and $9,200
- Matthew Fitzpatrick +2500 and $9,100
- Jordan Spieth +2200 and $9,700
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Patrick Cantlay ($10,700; best finishes: win-2019, fourth-2018): Cantlay will be making his seventh career start at Muirfield Village this week. The 29-year-old is a two-time winner of this event and has now landed four top-10 finishes at this venue. He leads the field in SG: Total stats at Muirfield over the last five seasons by a huge margin.
2. Patrick Reed ($7,900; best finishes: T5-2021, T10-2020): Reed has shown good upside at this venue/event grabbing T10 and T5 finishes at Muirfield in the last two seasons. The American has also made big progress in his ball-striking stats over his last two outings and could be a popular daily fantasy golf target this week based on his strong course history.
3. Rickie Fowler ($7,200; best finishes: T2-2017, T8-2018): Even when he’s struggled, Muirfield Village has always been a bit of a safe haven for Fowler, who finished T11 at this event last season, gaining over 3.0 strokes Around the Green and Putting. Fowler ranks second in SG: Total stats at Muirfield over the past five seasons.
4. Adam Scott ($7,700; best finishes: 2nd-2019, 4th-2014): Scott ranks third in SG: Total stats at Muirfield Village over the past five seasons and has come close on numerous occasions to grabbing a win at this event. Scott hasn’t missed the cut at The Memorial in his past seven appearances and has gained strokes around the greens in four of his past five visits as well.
5. Marc Leishman ($7,500; best finishes: T5-2019, T5-2015): Leishman has handled the test of Muirfield Village quite well throughout his career picking up multiple solid finishes at this event over the last decade. In 10 career appearances, Leishman has never missed the cut at Muirfield Village, a fact which could make him a popular cash game target this week.
1. Jordan Spieth ($9,700; T7-T34-second): Spieth showed little fatigue last week, grabbing a T7 at the Charles Schwab where he gained 4.4 strokes around the green. A slight uptick with his putter is all he’d likely need to grab another win this week.
2. Mito Pereira ($8,000; T7-T3-T17): Pereira showed little letdown after blowing the lead at the PGA Championship on the final hole two weeks ago. He’s gained over 3.0 strokes on Approach in each of his last four starts.
3. Max Homa ($8,700; T23-T13-win): Homa is just three starts removed from a win at the Wells Fargo and also posted the best major finish of his career at the PGA Championship. He’s played tougher golf courses extremely well in his career.
4. Davis Riley ($8,600; T4-T13): Riley had the lead last week with six holes to play but self-destructed after an errant tee shot. He’s gained over 6.0 strokes on approach now in each of his last two starts.
5. Cameron Young ($8,800; T3-T2-T3): Young didn't play last week in Texas or else he likely would have been higher on this list. The American is hitting the ball better than anyone in the game off the tee right now and hasn’t finished worse than T3 in his last three PGA TOUR starts.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Take the discount on Spieth
As mentioned above, Jordan Spieth ($9,700) is playing great golf throughout the bag and likely would have contended again last week had a few more short putts fallen in for him. At under $10K he looks like one of the most undervalued players in the upper tier this week. Shane Lowry ($9,000), who ranks second in bogey avoidance over the past 50 rounds, is another upper-tier value to consider building around for this format. He has not finished worse than T23 in six straight starts and was a solid T6 at this event/venue last season. Other names to consider for this format include Matt Kuchar ($7,800) and Chris Kirk ($7,700).
Tournaments: Keep riding the Riley roller coaster
If you watched the final round last week you saw Davis Riley ($8,600) jump out to a lead and make up a four-shot deficit early on Sunday, only to self-destruct with five holes to go. Riley wasn’t alone in that regard at Colonial but he is a player you should be bullish on for the future. His approach game alone has gained him over 6.0 strokes in each of the last two events and it seems like only a matter of time before he connects for a win. Aaron Wise ($7,500) is another young player who may be ready to break through soon as well and, unlike Riley, has good experience playing Muirfield with a T9 finish at this venue last season. Other names to consider lower down on the salary chart this week include David Lipsky ($6,700), Brendan Steele ($6,600) and Matthew NeSmith ($6,400).
MY PICK: Sungjae Im ($8,900)
Im returned to action last week at the Charles Schwab (after missing out on the PGA Championship due to COVID-19) and promptly put in a solid T15 finish. The South Korean looked no worse for wear after having to skip the year’s second major and displayed some great ball-striking, gaining over 2.5 strokes off the tee and on approach for the week. Im’s game has been trending well ever since a T8 finish at Augusta and his recent run of success has come — at least in part — due to an uptick in his around the green play, which has seen him gain over 2.0 strokes around the green in each of his past four outings.
If we’re weighing course history this week, Im and his lack of results at Muirfield Village (two MCs and a T57) are somewhat worrisome but the 24-year-old has tackled another tricky Par 72, with slick bentgrass greens in Augusta National beautifully the past three seasons (T8-MC-T2). With Muirfield Village demanding good all-around play, 2022 seems like it may be the time for an Im breakout at The Memorial, an event where players of his age and pedigree have often broken through for wins. Im is a player who looks like he’s well into an uptrend and someone to consider this week both in DFS and in the outright market at +3500 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
MY SLEEPER: Jason Day ($7,600)
The injury/withdraw risk is always at DEFCON 1 when you roster Day, but that shouldn’t distract you from the potential upside he brings for your fantasy golf lineups this week either. Day has now made three cuts in a row and gained over 3.0 strokes Putting + Around the Greens in each of his last two starts and is showing some of the same panache around and on the greens he used to show on a weekly basis when dominating in the sport in 2015-16. While the ball-striking still needs work, he’s also only a few weeks removed from gaining 6.1 strokes on the field on approach at the Wells Fargo, where he finished T15 and likely left a higher finish on the table due to a poor putting performance.
Day has also always loved a stern test of golf and his only top-five finish on the year also came at another tough venue in Torrey Pines. The Aussie last played Muirfield Village back in 2020 and grinded his way to a T4 finish, but comes into this season’s version the healthiest he’s looked in years and with a decent amount of form to back him. At $7,600, he’s a good pivot play in larger field GPPs and a good top-10 bet to consider at +600, as well, on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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