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6 Fantasy Picks to Win The Memorial Tournament

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There was a Tiger sighting at Chambers Bay on Monday!!

That’s right, the U.S. Open is just two weeks away, with DraftKings offering the same $1,000,000 grand prize for the year’s second major that they gave away for the Masters. In the meantime, though, you can feast your eyes on another whopping DraftKings prize.

This week we have the Memorial Tournament, which falls behind the majors, The Players and the WGCs in value, but that’s about it. Accordingly, DraftKings has a far enhanced $250,000 pool for the event, giving away a $100,000 FIRST PRIZE to the highest scorer in this week’s contest.

Enter this week’s contest here.

Second place garners $10,000, and anyone who places in the top 10 will earn $1,000 or more. Overall, the top 18,230 finishers will earn money.

Oh yeah, and it’s still at that measly $3 entry fee, or free on first deposit. And that fee will be refunded if you can beat my main lineup. For explanation on eligibility for the “Beat the Writer” contest refer to last week’s introduction.

Anyway, onto my analysis…

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The Course 

We come to Muirfield Village this week, one of the best non-major championship tracks of the year.

The layout was designed by some guy named Jack Nicklaus, and over the years has gained a reputation as a second-shot golf course. Simultaneously, though, it has been touted as a test for the all-around game.

Long-hitters have been perceived to be advantaged on this layout far more than the accurate sort, due to exceptionally wide fairways and four scorable par-fives.

Did my five-year sample corroborate these assumptions?

Photo credit: nicklaus.com

Photo credit: nicklaus.com

Well, somewhat. Nicklaus has not been shy about how much he has modeled Muirfield Village to Augusta National (See: the 12th hole), but it’s amazing how similar the courses are on the macro level.

Of the layouts I have looked at this year, Augusta has been by far the biggest champion of the all-around game. But Muirfield Village matches it, as all four parts of the game (driving, approach play, short game and putting) proved about equally important in producing a good showing at the Memorial.

If anything, approach play is slightly more valuable than the other sectors, giving a bit of credence to the second shot golf course tag. But this is mainly an all-around player’s track.

Augusta really favors the long-ball, high-ball player, and I found the same thing in the sample at Muirfield albeit to a muted degree. But you can’t just bomb-and-gouge here and assume it will work. Long hitters may be decently advantaged at Muirfield, but accuracy proved just as important in the sample as length (after all, fairways are undulated and the rough at Muirfield is pretty healthy).

The tournament may play pretty soft this week, but that’s usually the case anyway at Muirfield.

Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 446.5 points, 8256th of 38315)

  • Hideki Matsuyama — $11,500
  • Billy Horschel — $8,800
  • Ben Martin — $8,000
  • Chesson Hadley — $7,300
  • Brendon de Jonge — $6,800
  • Jason Kokrak — $6,600

I think this layout just suits Hideki incredibly well. Of course him winning the Memorial last year kind of gives us that clue, but he’s long and accurate off the tee (perfect for Muirfield) and possesses one of the top-five approach games on Tour (even better). Putting is a weakness of his, but with a strong short game, he has a very well-rounded tool kit for this layout.

BillyHorschel2015

Horschel hasn’t had the greatest year, but he’s bound to come out of hibernation at some point. He placed T13 at the Players, his last start, and Billy has a tendency to go on a streak of hot golf once he gets the ball rolling. With the par-5s on this course historically being the four easiest holes at Muirfield, it’s really imperative you’re good at par-5 scoring. Horschel’s only average on that point this year, yet he’s usually top-35 in this category and he did seem to regain some of that long hole mojo with a 7-under performance on the par-5s at Sawgrass.

In lieu of Charley Hoffman, who withdrew from the event, I am going to slot Martin into this spot. The Clemson product, like Hoffman, has been on a bit of a roll these past couple of months, with three top-10s in his past seven starts. He possesses a similar all-around game to Hoffman’s, although Martin does use decidedly less power. And Martin’s first go round at the Memorial may have been a top 10 if he didn’t implode to a 78 on Sunday. 

Chesson Hadley is my favorite sleeper pick this week. Course fit doesn’t matter, neither does his 74-75-CUT performance at Muirfield last year. Just look at this, his past four starts: T8, T24, T20, T24. His performance in that same stretch last year: CUT, CUT, CUT. Clearly, the venues don’t really faze Hadley at this moment, his form is just too solid. That is why I’m pulling the trigger this week.

As for de Jonge and Kokrak, the former has produced a number of solid showings since April and has a solid record at Muirfield. I said driving accuracy is important at Muirfield, but it’s not necessary to win here. Therefore, I don’t disqualify the wild driving Kokrak. In fact, he’s shown great ability in all areas of the game, and I can see him putting that all together at an “all-around” friendly Muirfield and zoom out of his recent four missed cuts in five starts rut.

Random roster via two non-golf fans (Last Week: 479 points, 3759th of 38315, WON $7!!!)

  • Jordan Spieth — $12,500
  • Patrick Reed — $8,700
  • Jason Dufner — $7,900
  • Daniel Summerhays — $7,400
  • Vijay Singh — $6,700
  • Sang-Moon Bae — $6,600

I do feel that player and course research and the implementation of performance-related logic can be quite helpful in facilitating a great fantasy roster. Otherwise, I would not pen this weekly column.

JordanSpiethGolf

But…volatility follows golfers to an insane degree, marking unpredictability as an extremely potent factor in the sport. There’s just a lot we can’t foresee with these players, which makes this fantasy game a bit of a crapshoot as well. At times, it might be better to just randomly pick a $50,000 roster.

Thinking on those terms, I decided it would be fun to test this out with this new feature. I chose two friends who combined possess very little golf intelligence (one knows virtually nothing besides that Zach Johnson is good and the other has learned a very minute amount through osmosis) and had them put together a roster without any research or intel. They produced it in pretty much a minute, and, as you can see, they did better than both of my rosters!

I’ll have them complete their team the same lackadaisical way each week, offering the humorous reasoning they chose behind each pick.

Here is the sampling for this week’s group, with the selections in order from 1st to 6th:

Patrick Reed: One of them thought that Patrick might be related to Ed Reed. The other clarified that he is not. They still pulled the trigger though because Patrick and the former Ravens safety have the same last name and “Ed Reed is a badass.”

Jason Dufner: I chose him last week and this week for the same reason: He’s in the process of a divorce, so he’s looking for people to pick him to cheer him up.

Daniel Summerhays: He showed up as D. Summerhays on the DraftKings contest roster roll and the duo found it funny that his full first name wasn’t displayed.

Vijay Singh: One of these friends was at the Memorial in 2007 and recalled that Singh won that event. K.J. Choi was the actual champion.

Sang-Moon Bae: Because of #Bae. You probably won’t get this if you’re not a millennial.

Jordan Spieth: They had enough leftover money. Not kidding, this wasn’t calculated. They picked these five players without regard for the $50,000 cap and just happened to have the overwhelming amount of cash needed to grab the Golden Child.

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Alternate Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 467 points, 5186th of 38315, WON $6!!!)

  • Rickie Fowler — $11,200
  • Tiger Woods — $10,000
  • Ryan Moore — $8,100
  • Francesco Molinari — $7,300
  • Scott Brown — $7,100
  • Scott Stallings — $6,300

Fowler

Rickie, of course, has good form of late and has put together a couple of real nice performances here in the past. I’m going to take the bait on Woods. He didn’t have a great week in his last start, but he did make the cut and he’s never liked Sawgrass anyway. He’s actually been pretty impressive in his past two outings, this is a venue he absolutely owns and if Tiger is “back” in some degree soon, this is one of the last times I can snag him at this bargain.

Moore has a highly enviable record at Muirfield and will be eager to solidify his play as we approach the Open at a Chambers Bay course he knows extremely well.

Molinari and Brown are both guys I’m taking on recent form. Francesco has a well-placed game for Muirfield too.

As for Stallings, I think he is overrated as a fantasy player (he has a few nice wins, but he misses so many cuts). This venue, though, seems to be one of the only tracks where he has any sense of consistency (three top-25s in four starts). He did mysteriously withdraw before the Colonial with some malady, but it doesn’t appear to be anything lingering. This is one of the few times I can take a stab at Stallings where it’s not an outright gamble.

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Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. shabby

    Jun 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I’m bitter…… not because I hate the dooshbag POS tiger though!

  2. Tom

    Jun 2, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Wow1 39 is old?

  3. Steve H

    Jun 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    According the Draft Kings, Charley Hoffman has withdrawn this week

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for the update, Steve. We have edited the story to reflect Hoffman’s WD.

  4. Pat M

    Jun 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Tiger? The guy is old now and a journeyman golfer. I doubt he could make it on the web.com tour. Too many missed cuts.

    • devilsadvocate

      Jun 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Funny how many people just LOVE to talk trash about Tiger… Like anything they say actually makes any kind of contribution… Just makes you look bitter really

      • Tom

        Jun 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        +1

      • Rich

        Jun 2, 2015 at 7:31 pm

        How is it bitter? What’s tiger done to this guy? I bet nothing. He’s just saying that he shouldn’t be on the radar anymore. I don’t think he should be either. I wouldn’t say he’s a journeyman just yet but he’s certainly not proved he has any consistent form yet.

        • ADL

          Jun 3, 2015 at 11:59 am

          Top 20 finish at Augusta & has won The Memorial 5 times. Stop the hating.

          • Pat M

            Jun 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm

            Let’s see if he is able to make the cut. His biggest mistake, among others, was firing Hall of Fame caddy Steve Williams. Adam is trying to get Stevie back on his bag. Tiger will never will a major without Stevie Williams. Tiger is nothing without Stevie.

            • ADL

              Jun 5, 2015 at 7:25 am

              Dumb comment or troll comment…You realize he won majors with Fluff on the bag too, right?

    • jgpl001

      Jun 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Nasty comment

      The media’s obsession with Tiger does annoy me, but no need to trash talk him, he was one of the greatest ever

    • Chris Loskie

      Jun 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Too many missed cuts??!! Lol id suggest you look up his stats … lol thats comical

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