The PGA Tour continues to dominate the North American sports landscape amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An even bigger spotlight will be shone on golf this week as Tiger Woods tees it up at the 2020 Memorial Tournament. Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio will play host for the second straight week following Collin Morikawa‘s victory at the Workday Charity Open. We’ve looked at the best bets to make this week here, and below, we’ll make our DraftKings DFS picks for the Memorial Tournament.
Woods will be joined in the 133-man field by nine of the top-10 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking. Of those, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, and Bryson DeChambeau all have victories since the PGA Tour returned to play. Morikawa moved up to 13th in the world with his playoff win over Justin Thomas last week. Daniel Berger will play in a tournament for the first time since a T-3 finish at the RBC Heritage. He opened the PGA Tour’s reset with a win at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Twenty-six of the 30 golfers who participated in last year’s Tour Championship at the end of the FedExCup Playoffs are scheduled to be in attendance. This year’s playoffs will begin in five weeks with The Northern Trust. The PGA Championship will be played in three weeks as 2020’s first major. The PGA Tour announced Monday that all remaining events on the 2019-20 schedule will be played without fans on site.
The course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield Village GC has hosted the Memorial annually since 1976. The course plays to a par of 72 and measured 7,456 yards last week for the Workday Charity Open. The Bentgrass greens will play firmer and quicker this week, and the rough will be grown out among the minor alterations between the back-to-back events. Different tee boxes are expected to be used and will cause some variance in the listed distances.
The last time back-to-back PGA Tour events were played on the same course was in 1957 at Tam O’Shanter in Illinois.
The easiest hole on the course last week was the 527-yard, par-5 fifth at a scoring average of 4.567. It saw 13 eagles and 140 birdies carded against 23 bogeys and three scores of double or worse. Each of the other three par 5s also played below par. Three of the four par 3s exceed 200 yards in length and each one played over par last week.
The most common par 4 distance is between 450 and 500 yards with six falling in that range. The 363-yard 14th played to even par last week and yielded two eagles and 75 birdies against 61 bogeys and eight scores of double or worse. The 484-yard 18th finishing hole has historically played to an average of 4.240 as the toughest hole on the course.
Key stats to consider for your Memorial Tournament DFS picks
As one of the PGA Tour’s marquee destinations and richest tournaments, the Memorial annually draws out many of the world’s top golfers. Twenty-one members of this week’s field have played at least 40 rounds on Muirfield Village GC. Eleven will be making their debuts on the course, as did last week’s champion Morikawa and third- and fourth-place finishers Viktor Hovland and Chase Seiffert.
The 2019 Memorial ranked 11th among all PGA Tour events with a Strength of Field rating of 596. Last week’s event had a rating of 496 as the fourth-strongest field since tournament play resumed. This week’s final field will easily eclipse both of those numbers with each of the top-eight golfers in the world in attendance.
Last week’s leaderboard followed suit of previous runnings of the Memorial in common strengths. Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green were the most important key stats. Par 4 Scoring: 450-500 Yards and Proximity: 175-200 Yards should also be noted. Driving Distance isn’t a big factor here. Gary Woodland and Patrick Cantlay were the only two of the 13 golfers to finish T-7 or better last week and average more than 300 yards off the tee.
Memorial Tournament lineup building strategies
Last week’s optimal DraftKings lineup included Morikawa, Thomas, Hovland, Seiffert, Sam Ryder, and Charley Hoffman. It would have scored 681 fantasy points and cost $49,600. The winning Millionaire entry, by user davehofman, consisted of Thomas, Morikawa, Hoffman, Jason Day, Rory Sabbatini, and Ian Poulter. It scored 625.5 points at $49,800 in total salary.
A major key to creating a unique lineup continues to be spending below the salary cap. This helps lineup managers pivot off of certain golfers who become more popular based on their salary. The most important thing for a top finish will always be getting all six golfers through the cut. Less than five percent of all entries in the biggest Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments had all six golfers playing the weekend of the Workday.
Memorial Tournament DFS Picks: Ownership
The stacked fields continue to help spread out ownership. Cantlay and Woodland were the only two golfers to be included in more than 20 percent of lineups last week. Twenty others were more than 10 percent owned. Ryder (0.13), Seiffert (0.39), Hoffman (0.72), and Sepp Straka (1.31) were among the biggest keys as low-ownership plays. Thomas was just 14.07 percent owned as the most expensive player at DraftKings. Morikawa and Hovland came in at 17.33 and 18.06 percent, respectively.
Woods should be faded in DFS this week, despite the fact I chose him as my pick to win. The newer and larger audience for DFS golf right now, combined with a relatively affordable $9,000 salary is sure to make Tiger one of the highest-owned golfers this week. Anything less than a victory would be severely detrimental in GPP tournament standings, especially if rostering Tiger means passing on any of the more expensive golfers. Koepka and Justin Rose are excellent pivots while priced $100 more and $100 less, respectively.
2020 Memorial Tournament DFS picks
Top Tier: $11.1K – $8K
Rory McIlroy $10,700
McIlroy’s salary continues to fall from a peak of $11,800 for the Charles Schwab Challenge, according to FanShare Sports. He finished just T-32, T-41, and T-11 in his first three tournaments since golf returned, snapping an incredible streak of seven straight global top-5 finishes prior to the season being suspended.
He’s first on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green through 27 rounds on the 2019-20 season at an average of 1.883 strokes gained per round. He has played 28 career rounds at Muirfield Village GC with an average of 1.78 strokes gained per round and four top 10s in his last eight appearances. DeChambeau, Johnson, Morikawa, and Simpson are likely to have higher ownership as more recent winners. Getting the No. 1 player in the world at any discount in ownership is almost always a profitable play.
Viktor Hovland $9,500
Hovland is sure to be one of the top-owned golfers once again, but it’s a poor idea to fade his current form. He has topped 100 fantasy points in three of his last four events and hasn’t finished worse than T-23 in any of his last five. He finished third last week despite losing 0.35 strokes per round putting. A neutral performance on the greens is all he needs in order to win right now.
His salary remains the same from last week, while Morikawa’s has risen by $800. Take the hit on the high ownership and find other ways to differentiate your lineup.
Justin Rose $8,900
Rose, a past champion of Muirfield, is again one of the most experienced in the field with 48 career rounds played here. He has gained an average of 2.10 strokes per round, despite missing the cut last week at plus-10 while losing 4.81 total strokes per round on the field. His ownership is sure to plummet from last week’s 17.05 percent and his salary has dropped by $800.
Abraham Ancer $8,500
Ancer came out of the break with three straight top-15 finishes, including a runner-up at the RBC Heritage. The hope is some DraftKings users forget his excellent form after he skipped the last two events. He peaked at over 18 percent ownership at the Travelers Championship. He’s 11th on Tour in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green this season.
Mid Tier: $7.9K – $7K
Sergio Garcia $7,800
Garcia will play here for the first time since a 45th-place finish in 2008, but he has averaged 1.63 strokes gained at Muirfield Village over 16 career rounds. He’s fourth on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green this season, and his salary has dropped $700 since the Travelers Championship.
Rory Sabbatini $7,500
Sabbatini’s salary has increased by $100 following a T-17 finish last week. He gained a modest 0.76 strokes per round putting with 1.13 strokes tee-to-green and 0.89 on approach. A Sunday round of 73 in which he lost 2.31 strokes off the tee knocked him out of a top-10 finish. Go back to the well and trust in the quality of his first three rounds.
Scottie Scheffler $7,200
Scheffler’s DFS salary dropped another $600 with his third straight missed cut last week. The 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year has now fallen to No. 60 in the OWGR after peaking at No. 47 following a T-15 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s averaging 0.121 SG: Approach per round on the season and should be able to bounce back after losing 0.77 strokes per round on approach last week.
Value Tier: $6.9K and Lower
Nick Taylor $6,900
Taylor finished 48th last week at minus-3 in his first tournament since play was suspended. He opened with a 67 and shot two other rounds of 1-under 71. It was a Saturday 76 in which he lost 4.21 strokes putting which knocked him out of contention. Avoiding disaster on the greens should be all he needs to change this week after gaining 1.34 strokes tee-to-green and 1.05 on approach per round.
Bernd Wiesberger $6,600
Wiesberger enters the week ranked 29th in the OWGR but will play for the first time since the WGC-Mexico Championship. He hasn’t played a non-major or WGC event on the PGA Tour since a missed cut at the 2018 Honda Classic, but he won three times on the European Tour last season. Despite his success overseas, he’s always underpriced and under-owned in PGA Tour events.
Sebastian Munoz $6,500
Munoz missed the cut at plus-1 last week while losing 2.22 strokes per round putting but gaining 1.91 strokes per round from tee-to-green. He finished T-28 in a much stronger field at the RBC Heritage and needs only an adequate performance on the greens.