The PGA TOUR heads to Ohio this week as Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts the Memorial Tournament. The course is a par-72, measuring at just over 7,450 yards with bentgrass greens. The weather usually plays somewhat of a factor at this event, so the winning score could be in the single digit range.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of that week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights golfers to buy and fade, along with Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course. The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
Jon Rahm ($11,100 DraftKings)
We’ll start with the defending champion this week. Even at an $11,100 price tag, Rahm stands out above the rest of the high priced options this week.
You can easily make an argument for Jordan Spieth here but after his heartbreaking loss at Colonial last week, he may be on a bit of a let down, and that’s enough for me to fade him at his elevated salary.
Rahm had a brief two-week period when he didn’t top-10, but he got right back on track at the PGA Championship with a T-8. There may not be another player on TOUR that makes coming inside the top-10 as easy as Rahm does. Even when he doesn’t have his A game you can count on him to produce. He’s by far the safest option among the $10k+ guys, and after gaining at least 1.8 or more strokes in three of his four rounds at the PGA, I’ll gladly take the certainty you get when you plug him into your lineups.
Xander Schauffele ($9,700 DraftKings)
Schauffele has been a bit more hit or miss of late than we’re used to seeing from him, but most of his issues at the PGA Championship came from his short game. He lost over three strokes around the green during his Friday round, which I don’t need to remind you is very uncharacteristic of the X man, considering he ranks inside the top 40 in that department over his past 48 rounds in this field.
Schauffele’s history at Memorial is pretty strong as well. After missing the cut in his debut here in 2018, he’s gone T-14 and T-13 the past two years. For good measure he finished T-14 at the Workday Charity Open last year as well, which was also held at Muirfield. We’re getting a really strong discount on him this week at just $9,700, as he’s just as likely to top-10 as anyone in the field. You can easily stack Schauffele with Rahm if you like or start your rosters with him if going more balanced.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,500 DraftKings)
Cantlay finally showed some life at the PGA Championship with a T-23, which was his first made cut in five starts dating back to THE PLAYERS. He heads to Muirfield with some of the best history in this field, as he won this event back in 2019, while also finishing T-4 in 2018. He also threw in a T-7 at the Workday last season. He clearly has a liking for Jack’s Place.
Cantlay ranks No. 1 in this field in SG: Ball-Striking over his past four rounds, and it’s likely his strong showing at the PGA gave him some much needed confidence. I would not bet against the California native this week at a track he’s seemed to have mastered. He’s one of the best cash game plays on the board.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,700 DraftKings)
Grillo is coming off another impressive showing last week at Colonial, where he finished in a tie for eighth. That marks his third top-10 finish in his last six starts, and he’s been rolling with his ball-striking in that stretch. The Argentine ranks No.3 in SG: Approach over his past 24 rounds in this field and 12th in total strokes gained.
Prior to last year’s missed cut here which came in a really down season, his history at Muirfield reads T-9, T23, T-40, T-11. It’s egregious that guys like Rickie Fowler and Marc Leishman are priced ahead of Grillo this week, so let’s make DraftKings look silly and lock him to our lineups.
Kevin Streelman ($7,500 DraftKings)
Streelman continues to play some really solid golf, having posted top-26 finishes in five of his past 10 events, including a T-8 last week at Colonial. He’s also finished inside the top-20 in four of his past six trips to Muirfield, which include a T-4 and T-8 in that stretch.
Streelman ranks 11th in this field over his past 24 rounds in SG: Ball-Striking and when you consider the amount of elite players that are teeing it up this week, that’s a rather impressive feat. It appears that DraftKings has yet to catch on to Streelman’s recent success, as he’s yet again priced too cheaply. At $7,500 you can all but guarantee he’ll be chalky, but it’s tough to get around him in cash games.
Brendon Todd ($7,200 DraftKings)
This is more of a course-history play, as Todd has three top-25s in four starts at the Memorial. The only thing I wanted to see from him these past two weeks was that he was fully over his positive COVID-19 diagnosis, which he clearly displayed last week with a T-8 at Colonial.
Very quietly Todd has now made 14 of 18 cuts on the season and has been quite a strong salary saver in many of these elite field events. He’s currently close to -300 at some offshore books to make the cut this week, which is substantially higher than most of the guys in the $7k range on DraftKings. If you intend to stack guys at the top of the board, Todd is a great way to round out lineups.
Patrick Reed ($9,100 DraftKings)
Reed was a massive failure last week, missing the cut on the number after failing to drill a 10 foot par putt on 18. This will for sure lead to many people jumping ship on him this week. However, if there’s one thing we know about Captain America, it’s that he lives for events like these.
He’s now missed three cuts on the season, and in each of the subsequent events he’s played after, he’s gone WIN, T-22, T-6. In addition, he’s never missed a cut at Muirfield in five trips, while posting two top-10’s in the process. Fade this man at your own risk this week.
Pictured: Jon Rahm
Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images