The Memorial is Jack’s event, which means all the stars are out looking to pay tribute to one of the greats. It’s played at Muirfield Village, a 7,392-yard par 72, in Dublin, OH. Muirfield Village is known as a “second shot” course, meaning fairways are relatively open but there will be extreme importance placed upon approaches. Although the greens allegedly roll true, they are ridiculously fast, so putting yourself in position where you can be aggressive will be key.
— Tyler Parsons (@tpgolffitness) May 31, 2016
Check that video out… I think it’s safe to say we’re going to see quite a few 3-putts this week.
2015 Memorial Tournament
1. David Lingmerth -15 (won in playoff)
2. Justin Rose -15
T-3. Jordan Spieth -13
T-3. Francesco Molinari -13
T-5. Marc Leishman -12
T-5. Hideki Matsuyama -12
T-5. Jim Furyk -12
T-8. Tony Finau -11
T-8. Kevin Kisner -11
T-8. Keegan Bradley -11
The PGA Tour recently upgraded their strokes gained statistics and broke strokes gained: tee-to-green down into three categories: off the tee, approach, and around the green. It still works the same way (field average – expected value after golfer’s shot = strokes gained), but now you can get a better idea of where each golfer excels. I’m incorporating these numbers into my process going forward.
TARGET STATS (courtesy of FantasyGolfMetrics.com)
- Strokes Gained: Approach, Off the Tee, and Around the Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Birdie or Better %
- Proximity (especially from 150-175 yards)
- Par 5 Scoring
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
Jordan Spieth $12300
If I’m spending all the way up, I’m going with Spieth. Jason Day’s game lines up better for this tournament than anyone else in the field, and his poor course history can be semi-thrown out the window. He’s a different player now (he entered full-blown terminator status after this event last year), and you can probably expect better results here going forward. The problem is… everyone realizes all of that. I think there might be an overcorrection and Day winds up as one of the most popular plays on the board. I have Spieth graded out right there with Day, so I’ll roll with him. He’s the best in the field around the greens (a skill set that should pay off huge this week), has averaged +25.1 DK points against field average in three Memorial starts, and is coming off a win (should relieve a little of the mounting pressure). Although his approach numbers aren’t where I’d want them to be, I think he should improve in that area going forward. If I’m ignoring price, Spieth is my #1 play for the second straight week.
Hideki Matsuyama $10600
Whereas Spieth is #1 around the greens and mediocre on approaches, Matsuyama is #1 on approaches and mediocre around the green. That’s the beauty of these new stats (I say new even though they’ve been around, now just accessible by the average Joe), you can see how everyone gets it done in a different way. Hideki’s numbers look good, but his course history is fantastic. Two starts = WIN in 2014 and T-5 in 2015. Hard to beat that. I said this is a “second shot” course, and that’s pretty much the name of Matsuyama’s game.
Matt Kuchar $9900
More chalk, mmm… tasty. Kuchar is probably going to be the most popular play this week, so there’s merit to fading him in GPPs. I’ll be using him in cash and figuring out what to do with him in tournaments later tonight. His last three starts have resulted in 3rd, 3rd, and 6th place finishes, and he’s never finished outside the top-26 at the Memorial in eight career starts. He won here in 2013, finished 2nd in 2011, and 5th in 2009. If you’re into course history, Matt Kuchar at Muirfield Village is your muse. Not only that, his statistics back up those course history numbers. Kuch ranks above field average in every single key area. The only real knock on him is that the play makes too much sense. Those guys tend to have a knack for crushing dreams with MCs, but that’s really it.
Phil Mickelson $9100
Some of the shine on the 2015-16 Phil Mickelson Renaissance Tour is starting to wear off, as Phil’s missed three of his last four cuts. That said, he finds himself in a seemingly sweet spot for value. He’s cheapest of the big names and only marginally more expensive than substantially inferior options. He was excellent here in the past but is coming off a couple of lackluster showings in 2014 and 2015. I’m expecting more of a retro Phil performance given his recent resurgence. If you look at his SGT2G breakdown, he’s been excellent this year both on approaches and around the green, but he’s actually losing strokes to the field off the tee. With less emphasis placed upon driving this week, I think Phil shines.
David Lingmerth $7300
The defending champ. His form has been a bit of a roller coaster; sandwiching a pair of MCs in between a couple of top-25s, but there are two things to like here: 1) his course history and 2) his price. You’re getting a guy who has won here before and is 3/3 in cuts made at only $7300. He also ranks in the top 1/3 of the field in terms of SG: APP, proximity, and proximity from 150-175 yards. I think it’ll come down to his putter. If he’s hot, I think he cracks the top 10. If not, it’ll be a sweat.
Ryan Moore $7300
Let’s start with the bad… he’s missed each of his last three cuts. Woof. But there’s good news! Over the past 10 years, he’s 9/10 in cuts made at the Memorial with five top-20s (including a 2nd in 2007 and a 5th in 2010), and three of those top-20s have come in the last three years. He has a similar profile to the defending champ; and at the exact same price, he warrants serious consideration both as a pair with or pivot to Lingmerth.
Luke Donald $7200
Keeping with the shorter-hitting plodder theme, I present to you Luke Donald. He’s 8/8 in Memorial cuts over that past 10 years, with four top-15s, and he’s playing better golf this year than in recent past. His form is a bit all over the map, ranging from a solo second to a MC at a course where a lot of people expected him to thrive. But such is the nature of golf, you just have to turn into it. He has that combination of approach and around the green skills I’m targeting this week.
K.J. Choi $6000
At this point, you can tell I have a type. K.J. has made 9 of his last 10 cuts here and won the whole thing back in 2007. One of the best in the field both in terms of SG: APP, ATG, and putting. At only $6k, it’s hard to beat Choi’s combo of stats and course history.
Ricky Barnes $5900
Ricky is my favorite value play this week. He played well in Texas these last two weeks, and he has three top-25s in his last four Memorial starts. Barnes is another one of those guys who excels on approaches and around the greens, but loses strokes off the tee. As I’m valuing that second shot more than the first this week, he gets a bump. He’s a strong putter that kills it from 150-175 yards, yet he’s priced like a scrub. Sign me up.
I’m feeling good about this week, and I hope you are too. Good luck!