The PGA Tour is headed to Muirfield Village this week for the Memorial Tournament. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that Muirfield Village enacted after hosting back-to-back tournaments last summer. Gone are the old greens, which have been completely redone and back to being bent grass only. New bunkering and tee boxes have been added, and the course now measures more than 7,500 yards.
I’m keen to get some news from the course on the length of the rough and speed of the greens. Are we going to have the short rough that led to a 19 under win for Collin Morikawa at the Workday Charity Classic, or are we going to get the moderate rough and fast greens that led to only nine players being under par the very next week? Either way, ball striking and around the green statistics will be very important.
We ran pretty pure last week with our picks, and I think a lot of that had to do with the amount of data available for Colonial Country Club. I am not as confident in the historical statistics for Muirfield Village because of the changes, but I will still lean on them a bit. The field is strong, and the pricing is pretty tight, but I’ll do my best to pick some winners and help build your daily fantasy lineups.
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Justin Thomas (16-1 to win) has not put it all together since his win at the Players Championship. First, his putter went cold as he lost strokes in three straight tournaments, including losing 6.5 strokes putting at the Valspar Championship. Then, his irons have betrayed him in the last two tournaments while his putting improved. Thomas has a long history of turning his iron play around rather quickly, hoping he can do it here.
Patrick Cantlay (22-1 to win) has lost strokes on the green in six straight, measured tournaments. Losing over two strokes in three of those tournaments. He was fantastic off the tee and with his irons at the PGA Championship but once again struggled with his putter. The numbers were so good at Kiawah that they can’t be ignored. He gained over 4.3 strokes off the tee and 7.9 strokes on approach. His excellent course history could help him get some good feelings on the greens, even if they are new.
Patrick Reed (33-1 to win) missed the cut last week in a heartbreaking fashion. However, he can easily bounce back, and I like the bump we are getting in the odds because of that missed cut.
Keegan Bradley (50-1 to win) is eighth in the field in strokes gained around the green and 15th in strokes gained approach over his last 24 rounds. He’s been on a nice run here, and it feels like he could win very soon. This field may be a little tough for him to breakthrough, but I would jump on it if you can get him at this number or better.
Patton Kizzire (80-1 to win) is 10th in the field in strokes gained approach over his last 24 rounds. However, he is on fire with back-to-back third place finishes. He gained over 6 strokes on approach at each tournament. He doesn’t have great course history here, but I’m hoping his form can turn that around.
Daily Fantasy Picks (All prices via DraftKings)
Jon Rahm ($11,100) is coming off an eighth place finish at the PGA Championship. He has great course history here and is a strong play, especially if the course plays more difficult. He hasn’t been quite as good this season around the greens but turned that around a bit at the PGA Championship as he gained 2.3 strokes around the greens at the Ocean Course.
Collin Morikawa ($10,400) continues to gain a ton of strokes on approach. He gained over 8 strokes on approach at the Charles Schwab Challenge but only finished in a tie for 14th because of his balky putter. He’s lost strokes putting and around the green in his last two tournaments but may get some positive vibes coming back to a place where he won during the 2019-2020 season. His little cut fade off the tee and bullseye irons are hard to fade at this price.
Justin Thomas ($10,200) See above.
Viktor Hovland ($9,900) is 18-1 to win, yet we are getting him at under 10K on DraftKings. He’s third on the PGA Tour in strokes gained since the new year. He finished third at Muirfield Village at the Workday, so he should have some positive vibes.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,500) See above.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,400) is 11th in the field in the strokes gained approach and 38th in strokes gained around the green. I thought the win at the Masters would leave him with a bit of a hangover, but he’s been rock solid since coming back. So he’s a pretty safe bet at Muirfield Village.
Tony Finau ($9,200) is seventh in the field in strokes gained around the green and 20th in strokes gained on approach over his last 24 rounds. He struggled with his putter at the Charles Schwab Challenge and lost 4.3 strokes on the greens. However, I expect him to bounce back. If he can get back to a little better than average with the putter, he could make a nice run. He gained 4 strokes on approach and another 3.8 off the tee last week.
Patrick Reed ($9,100) See above.
Louis Oosthuizen ($8,500) is 11th in strokes gained around the green and first in strokes gained putting over his last 24 rounds. However, Oosty’s ball-striking has come into fine form over his last two outings. He’s gained over 6 strokes on approach at both the PGA Championship and the Valspar Championship. As a result, I like his DK price better than his betting odds which are pretty short because of his recent form.
Shane Lowry ($8,400) has three top 10s in his last six tournaments. He finished T4 at the PGA Championship in callous conditions. He’s 15th in strokes gained around the green and 31st in strokes gained approach over his last 24 rounds. He’s lost over a stroke putting in his last two tournaments. If his putter can get hot, he could contend.
Charley Hoffman ($8,300) is second on the PGA Tour in strokes gained since the start of 2021. He’s in fantastic form coming off of a T3 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He gained 22.7 strokes total on approach over his last three tournaments. It’s tough to fade Hoffman with his form and at this price.
Keegan Bradley ($8,000) See above.
Gary Woodland ($7,900) is 25th in the field in strokes gained approach over his last 24 rounds. However, he’s been on a nice run in his last three tournaments, gaining over 4 strokes tee to green in each and gaining strokes with his putter. So it’s nice to see him trending in the right direction with the U.S. Open coming up.
Kevin Streelman ($7,500) is 18th in the field in strokes gained on approach over his last 24 rounds. He does have some issues around the green, but he has been solid lately. Streelman has good course history here and is coming off of back-to-back nice finishes. I’m a little worried he may be out of gas, but I thought that last week and was burned.
Lucas Glover ($7,200) is 24th in strokes gained around the green and 46th in strokes gained on approach over his last 24 rounds. He was coming off an excellent 8th place showing at the Charles Schwab Challenge and helped carry my best lineup last week.
Talor Gooch ($7,100) is 13th in the field in strokes gained approach over his last 24 rounds and is coming off a nice 14th place finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Brendan Steele ($6,500) has made 11 straight cuts but hasn’t played well on the weekend since the Honda Classic. However, I like Steele at this price with some time off since the PGA Championship. He has good course history and the ability to cut.
Kyle Stanley ($6,100) is being a bit disrespected with this price! Vincent Whaley was the key low priced play last week, and it looks like Stanley could be that play this week. Admittedly, Stanley brings a little more risk than Whaley did last week, but he has good course history here and is coming off a nice finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
One and Done
I think we had a very productive week talking out our One and Done picks in the comments. I know I am thankful that I settled on choosing between Jason Kokrak and Charley Hoffman at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
My stats come from my go-to site for golf statistics and lineup building: FantasyNational.com. I look forward to bringing you the very best in fantasy golf coverage and betting at The Athletic. I look forward to interacting with all of you and maybe building some winning lineups and betting cards together. Please leave your questions below or hit me up on Twitter @CoachEsser.
(Top photo of Patton Kizzire: Patrick Smith / Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)
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