The PGA TOUR heads to Jack’s place to play the 2022 Memorial Tournament. In an event regarded as one of the most prestigious non-majors of the PGA TOUR season, golf fans should be in store for plenty of fireworks at Muirfield Village this week.
Muirfield Village is a 7,392-yard par 72 located in Dublin, Ohio, and features Bentgrass greens. A Jack Nicklaus design, the course was built in 1974. The course can play extremely difficult due to its long rough and lightning-fast greens.
The Memorial Tournament is one of three “invitationals” on the PGA TOUR schedule and will play host to 120 golfers. Unsurprisingly, the field is stacked and features many stars on TOUR, including Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matsuyama and Viktor Hovland.
For GPP contests on DraftKings, I will be breaking down the key stats (past 24 rounds) and selecting golfers from different price tiers to provide flexibility for a DFS lineup.
And if you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is excellent for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
This analysis may 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.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Jack Nicklaus designs all have one thing in common: They reward the best iron players on TOUR. When designing Muirfield Village, Jack had a second-shot golf course that strongly benefited golfers who could really dial in the approach shots in mind. With that in mind, does it surprise anyone that Tiger Woods won this event five times?
- High-end target: Will Zalatoris— $9,400 (3rd in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Mito Pereira— $8,000 (8th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Value target: Gary Woodland— $7,400 (12th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking includes approach, but if there is any week to overemphasize Strokes Gained: Approach, this is it. The statistic also incorporates Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, which will be significant considering the rough at Muirfield Village can be exceedingly penal. Morikawa, Matsuyama and Jason Dufner are some great examples of the prototypical ball strikers who have won at Muirfield Village. I envision another elite ball-striker winning this week.
- High-end target: Jon Rahm— $11,100 (1st Strokes Gained: Ball Striking)
- Mid-range target: Viktor Hovland— $9,300 (3rd Strokes Gained: Ball Striking)
- Value target: Brendan Steele — $6,600 (11th Strokes Gained: Ball Striking)
Par 4: 450-500
Muirfield Village has some long and challenging par 4s. With four par 5s on the course that should be reachable in two for most of the field, the holes that will separate the contenders from the pack are these difficult par 4’s. There are six par 4’s between 450-500 yards on the course.
- High-end target: Jon Rahm $11,100 (3rd Par 4: 450-500)
- Mid-range target: Shane Lowry— $9,000 (1st Par 4: 450-500)
- Value target: Gary Woodland— $7,400 (5th Par 4: 450-500)
Good Drives Gained
Driving the ball well will be an important factor. Bombing it off the tee is not a requirement at Muirfield Village, but distance always helps. The rough can get very long, and golfers who can’t put the ball in the fairway will fall out of contention quickly. Balanced and consistent drivers of the golf ball should be the targets.
- High-end target: Jordan Spieth— $10,200 (3rd Good Drives Gained)
- Mid-range target: Shane Lowry— $9,000 (4th Good Drives Gained)
- Value target: Brendan Steele— $6,600 (5th Good Drives Gained)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass) (Fast)
The Bentgrass greens at Muirfield are very fast. In the past few years, we’ve seen Rahm and Cantlay win the Memorial Tournament, and they are two of the best putters throughout their careers on exceedingly fast greens. This is certainly not a coincidence and whoever can master these difficult putting surfaces has a significant advantage at Jack’s place.
- High-end target: Rory McIlroy— $11,000 (4th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)
- Mid-range target: Seamus Power— $8,000 (6th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)
- Value target: Troy Merritt— $6,900 (2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)