Much of the golfing world is focused on the group of 42 players just announced to play in the first LIV Golf event next week, but the Memorial will quickly take center stage when they tee off on Thursday morning. This tournament is always one of the biggest non-majors on the schedule, and the big names have shown up to reflect that fact. Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, and Sam Burns are the only names missing from the OWGR top 10 this week as they decided to tee it up last week in Fort Worth.
The story this year that won’t involve another golf tour will be around the memorable factors that played out in this event in 2021. Jon Rahm was cruising with a large lead after 54 holes until he was pulled aside just past the 18th green and told he would be forced to withdraw after a positive COVID test. He would miss his chance to pull off the back-to-back win at Muirfield Village, leaving Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa to battle it out in a playoff. Cantlay would come through with the win and go on to take the Player of the Year title, all of which should have Rahm motivated for revenge.
DraftKings recognizes how big this tournament has become and is increasing the ante this week with their contests for Jack’s Tournament as the main Pitch + Putt GPP is up to a $1.2M purse with $300,000 going to first place. This contest will be the main focus for my picks below as we look to build a balanced but unique set of players that can take down a big GPP.
As always, you can find some of our expert’s favorite plays, both GPP and cash games, here on FantasyLabs.
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 great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
And don’t forget about the tools that FantasyLabs has to offer, like our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.
Now is a great time to get on board as the golf season ramps into the back half of the season!
High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Jon Rahm $11,100
I have no problem going back to Rahm given his history and motivation, and frankly, his play isn’t too far off. I get why the projected ownership is down on him, but for him to be the lowest-owned of this entire top group doesn’t make much sense. It makes him an excellent place to start lineups in large-field GPPs, as we know his ceiling is viable for a win this week.
Rahm is someone that I routinely target coming off of a poor iron week. He typically bounces back with his irons, so I will not shy away from his strokes lost at the PGA Championship. I am admittedly a bit more worried about the consistent issues he’s had around the greens this year, but that’s where the type of contest fits in with this risk. He’s not the well-buttoned-up player he was at this time last year, and that is undoubtedly the factor playing most into his lack of popularity, which I will happily accept as I look for my top buy to try to capture big GPPs this week.
Hideki Matsuyama $9,200
One of my favorite plays at any price point this week is Hideki Matsuyama. He has the elite ceiling we want from a ball-striking perspective to be able to contend for another win at the Memorial. He is also a player that has shown an ability to bounce back in a hurry off of bad weeks on approach. Hideki has come back with positive approach weeks following each of his last six tournaments where he lost strokes to the field in that metric. Each of the previous three times that has happened, he’s gained more than three shots on the field. If he can come back with one of those weeks again, he will at the very least be a solid finisher, and he has undoubtedly shown the upside to win in big events like this. Hideki will be popular in the mid to upper teens of ownership, but he’s a core play for me.
Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Daniel Berger $8,500
To win a big GPP, you have to be willing to take the chances that many others will not. Last week, we saw some buzz around Daniel Berger, and he was able to salvage a solid performance after sneaking through on the cut line and moving up on the weekend. Still, he will lose ownership this week compared to last, and now he is at a price where his overall talent and skill level make him a great GPP play.
Over the last few months, I have wondered if Berger is healthy. He may be still recovering from his back injury to start the year, or his wrist could still be a lingering issue. His play has been a roller coaster with ball striking and his putter. In big contests, I will take the six percent projected ownership on the chance he can hit on both metrics to be a low-owned difference maker in my GPP lineups. We all know his ceiling is there to pay it off in a big way if things come together the right way, and it won’t take a lot to double or even triple the field in his ownership this week.
Joaquin Niemann $8,300
If Hideki is 1A, Niemann is 1B of my favorite plays this week. They are both going to be popular, but they have an elite skill set throughout their bag that has them making sense as core plays for me in most contests. I want to be careful about who I add alongside them to avoid being too chalky, but the way they can peak with their ball striking puts them at the top of my list.
Niemann has grown into one of the best players in the world tee-to-green when he has his game. He has always been a strong ball-striker, but his boosted play around the green makes him a contender any time he tees it up. He posted a 6th place finish in his first trip to Muirfield, and I expect him to build on that result as I have made him my favorite outright this week for the Memorial.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Tom Hoge $7,400
One of my favorite spots week by week is to buy back on a popular player that flopped the week before. Hoge was that guy at the Charles Schwab, where he was in the mid to upper teens in ownership, depending on the contest. He had his first week of poor play, but those two rounds were enough to have everyone jumping ship. His ownership should be cut at least in half, but it’s just as good of a spot in my eyes. I try not to let one bad week overtake the views of a player that has been excellent this year, so I will happily take that leverage on Hoge at Muirfield Village.
Rickie Fowler $7,200
I’m going back to the well this week on Fowler. He is still trending better with his game, and he heads to a course where he has put together results even during the low points of his last few seasons. Rickie has one missed cut and four top-15 finishes in his previous five appearances at Jack’s tournament. I’ll take a shot at low ownership that he can keep things headed in the right direction and that the nostalgia of a place he knows so well could boost him to a finish to pay off this low price.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Brendan Steele $6,600
I will dip into this range a fair amount this week as I think we are likely to see the cream rise to the top for the Memorial. Buying in on a guy like Steele this cheap will allow me to jam more than three of the top tier players into lineups, and if I get another strong week like he posted at the PGA, it could be the build to win a GPP.
Steele finished T9 at the most recent Major Championship, and it made for five straight made cuts. His best finishes this year have come at his only major and The Players, both of which had top-tier fields like the one set for Memorial. He’s my favorite play in this range as we get a rare player checking all of the boxes for form, course history, and upside in the bottom tier.
Adam Svensson $6,300
Approach play is the metric that stands out well above everything else for the Memorial, and it is clearly the best part of Svensson’s game. He bounced back to show that skillset at the Charles Schwab last week, gaining more than two shots on the field with his irons. If he can continue to build on that and find a way to hit greens in regulation, he can get himself through the cutline and in position for the top-25 type of finish we’re looking for in this price range.