The PGA TOUR heads to Jack’s place to play the 2023 Memorial Tournament. The Memorial is already regarded as one of the most prestigious non-majors of the PGA TOUR season, and this year the TOUR has added even more juice by making the tournament a “designated” event.
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 will play host to 120 golfers this week. Being a designated event, the field is predictably stacked and will feature most of the biggest stars on TOUR. The notable players who are skipping this week include Tony Finau and Justin Rose.
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: Jon Rahm — $11,000 (1st in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Corey Conners — $8,300 (8th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
- Value target: Emiliano Grillo — $7,800 (15th in Strokes Gained: Approach)
Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking
Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking does include approach, but if there is any week to overemphasize Strokes Gained: Approach, this is the week. The statistic also incorporates Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, which will be important considering the rough at Muirfield Village can be exceedingly penal.
- High-end target: Patrick Cantlay — $10,500 (2nd Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking)
- Mid-range target: Shane Lowry — $8,100 (10th Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking)
- Value target: Hayden Buckley— $7,000 (12th Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking)
Strokes Gained: Nicklaus Designs
We often see similar leaderboards when events are hosted by Jack Nicklaus designed courses. The model this week will look to incorporate those golfers.
- High-end target: Patrick Cantlay — $10,500 (1st Strokes Gained: Nicklaus Designs)
- Mid-range target: Collin Morikawa — $9,900 (2nd Strokes Gained: Nicklaus Designs)
- Value target: Eric Cole — $6,900 (15th Strokes Gained: Nicklaus Designs)
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 this week.
- High-end target: Patrick Cantlay — $10,500 (1st Good Drives Gained)
- Mid-range target: Shane Lowry — $8,100 (5th Good Drives Gained)
- Value target: Chez Reavie — $6,200 (14th Good Drives Gained)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass) (Fast)
The Bentgrass greens at Muirfield are very fast. Whoever can master these difficult putting surfaces has a major advantage at Jack’s place.
- High-end target: Patrick Cantlay — $10,500 (2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)
- Mid-range target: Christiaan Bezuidenhout — $7,200 (4th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)
- Value target: Brendan Todd — $6,700 (18th in Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass and Fast)
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