This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
The Memorial Tournament
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club (7,571 yards, par 72)
Winner: $3,600,000 and 550 FedExCup points
The Memorial Tournament has long been known as one of the premier PGA Tour stops, but this season it is officially recognized as a designated event. That means it will hit a record $20 million purse and require all of the top players to attend, barring any of them want to use their one designated skip for 2023 here, but Tony Finau and Max Homa are the only ones doing that. As is the case with the other player hosted invitationals in the Genesis Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational, there is a 10 percent boost in FedExCup points from all other regular PGA Tour events and it will award the winner 550 FedExCup points, along with a three-year PGA Tour exemption.
This elite field of 120 players is led by World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who is coming off a T3 finish at Colonial last week and hasn't finished outside the top-12 since October. World No. 2 Jon Rahm will be looking to bounce back from a poor showing at the PGA Championship at a course where he won in 2020 and should have won in 2021 had he not had to withdraw following a positive COVID-19 test after his third round where he held a commanding six-shot lead at 18-under-par. Patrick Cantlay ended up being the beneficiary that year, getting it done in a playoff over Collin Morikawa to win his second Memorial Tournament in three years. Morikawa won the Workday Charity Open in 2020 on this course in a dramatic playoff against Justin Thomas. Speaking of Thomas, the 2017 FedExCup Champion sits 71st in the standings this season and would not make the playoffs if it started this week. While there are still two majors players will have their focus on this summer, every week is important with only the Top 70 making the FedExCup playoffs, and only the Top 50 being exempt into all the designated events next season.
We are going to get a proper test at Muirfield Village this week. It is unlikely that we see any precipitation all week and that should allow the setup crew to prepare for a firm and fast course. These are already some of the fastest greens on Tour and they should get some of that brown shine that we saw at Colonial last week with temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees each day. Fortunately the wind shouldn't be strong enough to cause balls to move on the greens. We've had just three single-digit winning scores over the last 32 years at the Memorial, but we might see another one this year if they really limit the water they put down over the course of the week.
2022 - Billy Horschel (-13)
2021 - Patrick Cantlay (-13)
2020 - Jon Rahm (-9)
2019 - Patrick Cantlay (-19)
2018 - Bryson DeChambeau (-15)
2017 - Jason Dufner (-13)
2016 - William McGirt (-15)
2015 - David Lingmerth (-15)
2014 - Hideki Matsuyama (-13)
2013 - Matt Kuchar (-12)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- Par-5 Scoring
The two most important second shot courses on Tour are Augusta National and Muirfield Village. You can't have a weak approach game and contend on this golf course. The greens are on the smaller end of PGA Tour venues at 5,000 square feet and play even smaller than that due to the extreme amount of undulation. SG: Approach, GIR, and proximity numbers will be among the most important stats to target this week, especially given that we expect Muirfield Village to play firm and fast.
The fairways here are generous, but you better hit them because this thick four-inch rough is no joke. There will be a number of times where players miss the fairways and elect to just lay it up. While it says 7,571 yards on the card, 90 degree heat and firm fairways will keep players of all distances in the game if they can hit the fairways. The green complexes are challenging at Muirfield Village and on most occasions you would much rather be in the bunkers where you can add a little spin, as oppose to thick rough that blankets most of the putting surfaces. Some models may not agree with me, but the lack of short grass around the greens and the firmness of the greens makes me okay targeting players who may rank lower in their SG: Around-the-Green and scrambling numbers.
Muirfield Village features a number of very difficult par-4s and the third toughest set of par-3's on the PGA Tour last year. That puts an added emphasis on taking advantage of these four par-5's, all of which can be reachable in two. The players who rank highest in par-5 scoring for the week are likely to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
FanDuel Value Picks
Scottie Scheffler ($12,100)
The putter is the only reason why Scheffler doesn't have more than two wins in 2023. He ranks first in SG: Off-the-Tee, second in SG: Approach, first in SG: Tee-to-Green, second in total driving and first in GIR percentage. Scheffler is outside the top 100 in SG: Putting, and had a horrid week with the flatstick at Colonial and ended up just one shot outside of a playoff. I have to believe he will have a decent week on the greens at some point and he'll be able to pair it with these insane ball-striking numbers. Scheffler was solo third at Muirfield Village in 2021.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,800)
Cantlay's record at Muirfield Village is pretty impressive with two wins, a third, and a fourth with no missed cuts in seven tries. Based on his recent play, PGA Tour win No. 9 is not far away having finished T21-or-better in his last nine starts. All the metrics are great for Cantlay, as he ranks second in SG: Off-the-Tee, seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green, 16th in SG: Putting, first in total driving, fifth in GIR percentage and first in par-5 scoring.
Xander Schauffele ($11,400)
Schauffele and Cantlay are partners in the team events and both having a very similar season, extremely consistent finishes but still looking for that win. Schauffele has gone 14-for-14 this season with eight top-10's and 11 top-20s. Those numbers mirror his recent history at Muirfield Village with five straight top-20 finishes. Schauffele always plays great at difficult golf courses and his metrics are very encouraging. He ranks sixth in SG: Approach, eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green, 10th in GIR percentage, 10th in SG: Putting and fifth in par-5 scoring.
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,400)
You may not be surprised that Scheffler and Rahm are Nos. 1 and 2 in SG: Total on the PGA Tour this season, but just edging into the No. 3 spot is Hatton. Considering that, the Englishman is at quite a discount compared to those other names. Hatton drives it well (14th SG: Off-the-tee), has control with his irons (10th SG: Approach), a solid short game (17th scrambling), and makes a lot of putts (17th SG: Putting). This is the most complete the 31-year-old's game has ever been and you know he is hungry having not won on the PGA Tour since the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational and not anywhere since the 2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Longer Shots with Value
Wyndham Clark ($9,700)
Clark had a poor showing at the PGA Championship, but he has now had proper time to digest his first career PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship. His missed cut at Oak Hill was his first since early October. Clark doesn't have a great history at Muirfield Village, but this new found iron play should give him a great chance to contend this week. We know he has the elite distance, but is now 21st in SG: Approach and 30th in GIR percentage. Clark is also 27th in putts per GIR and 14th in par-5 scoring average.
Si Woo Kim ($9,600)
Kim has never struck the ball like this in his career. We are into the summer and he sits 10th in the FedExCup Standings behind rankings of 35th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 21st in total driving, 25th in SG: Approach and 21st in SG: Tee-to-Green. Kim's calling card has always been his short game, but the refined ball striking has led to a lot more consistency. He is 17-for-20 this season with 11 top-30 finishes, including a win in Hawaii and a T2 a few weeks ago in Dallas. Kim finished top-20 in this event each of the last three years.
Ryan Fox ($8,900)
Fox had an impressive showing at the PGA Championship, recording a T23 after taking over a month off to recover from an illness. He backed that up the very next week with a T21 at Colonial, which was his ninth top-30 finish in his last 10 starts worldwide. Fox is one of the best drivers out there and has gained strokes on approach in nine of his last 11 starts. He is also starting to putt it better, gaining 5.26 strokes over the last two weeks, both on greens that were very quick like Muirfield Village should be.
Akshay Bhatia ($8,000)
Bhatia is starting to get more comfortable since accepting special temporary status on the PGA Tour due in large part a solo second in Puerto Rico and a solo fourth at the Mexico Open. While you can say that the putting hasn't been great, the ball-striking on the other hand has been very encouraging. He ranks 26th in total driving, 15th in SG: Approach, 13th in GIR percentage and 30th in proximity to the hole this season. Bhatia is also 18th in scoring average and 15th in birdie average. He's a really strong flyer this week and won't be this low too much longer.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
These really deep fields at the designated events allow for a lot of different options in how to construct lineups. On a course that is projected to be this demanding from tee-to-green, I'm really focused on trying to get as many quality ball-strikers into my lineup as possible. Scheffler the last few months has been far and away the best in that department, and if you want to fit him into your lineup this week, concessions will need to be made. Nicolai Hojgaard ($8,800), Alex Smalley ($8,500), Sepp Straka ($8,300), Eric Cole ($8,200), and Sam Stevens ($7,800) are some other names not listed above that have been really dialed in from tee-to-green of late that I think could help you fit in another $11K player. I'll be fading Jordan Spieth ($10,800) and Cameron Young ($10,500) this week because I don't like the way they've been trending over the last few starts.
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