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The First Cut: PGA DFS Picks & Preview for The Memorial | DraftKings & FanDuel 5/31/21

Jason Rouslin

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Nothing says “COVID-19 year” than having back-to-back tournaments at Muirfield Village. Just about a year ago, the PGA Tour went to Columbus for two weeks for the playing of the Workday Open, and The Memorial. Just one tournament will be held on this famed course this year, and with a strong field expected, DraftKings and FanDuel have bumped up their prize pools. With such big paydays up for grabs, we need to make sure our data is correct and nail down some optimal PGA DFS picks this week. After all, there are just two weeks until the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which will likely be the last stop for many of the tour’s best before they head west.

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If it is your first time joining us, here’s a brief synopsis of what you can find in this article most weeks.

  • Tournament and Format
  • Course Commentary
  • Course Facts and Figures
  • PGA DFS Course Summary and Statistical Comparison
  • PGA DFS Preview, including sweat sheet
  • Player Preview

The Memorial PGA DFS Picks & Preview

Founded in the mid-1970s, The Memorial tournament has grown to be one of the more popular non-major or WGC events on the calendar. Given invitational status — which means that there are only 120 golfers rather than the typical field of 156 — the exemptions for winning the event are better. That, an increased purse and the lure of Jack Nicklaus’ event have brought this tournament to the forefront of the PGA Tour. It is played on one of Nicklaus’ masterpieces, Muirfield Village. It also features a variety of different ways to get an invitation to the event. Here are a few of the odd ones for this week:

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  1. Prior year U.S. Amateur winner (Tyler Strafaci)
  2. Previous year British Amateur winner (Joe long)
  3. Up to four players were selected by the tournament committee from among the money leaders from the other five federation tours. (Lucas Herbert, Takumi Kanaya and Antoine Rozner)
  4. Fourteen sponsor exemptions, including two among Web.com tour finals, six members not otherwise exempt and six unrestricted.
  5. Prior year college player of the year award — The Jack Nicklaus Award (Sahith Theegala)

Course Commentary: Muirfield Village Golf Club

While last year, we got to see the course two straight weeks, it was set up differently for both. For the Workday, it was set up easy, and scores showed. But they maintained the rough length for The Memorial. Jack had his team grow out the rough all week and played it from the furthest set of tees, making it one of the toughest tests the golfers faced all year. Certainly preparing them for Winged Foot which they’d see a few months later, rather than a few weeks like we’ll get this week. I suspect a similar event to last year in terms of scoring and difficulty.

Par and Yardage

  • Par 72: 7,400

Course Difficulty 2019

  • 13/49: +.08 over par

Hole Dispersion

  • Four par 3’s: 200, 185, 185, 201
  • 10 par 4’s: 470, 455, 401, 447, 412, 471, 455, 363, 478, 484
  • Four par 5’s: 527, 563, 567, 529

Grass Types & Hazards (if available)

  • Grass Type: Bent
  • Average Green Size: 5,000 sq. feet.
  • Water Hazards: 13
  • Bunkers: 73

Designer

  • Jack Nicklaus

Facts and Figures

  • Off the Tee: One of the only knocks on this course was that it was easy to find the fairway. That was not the case last year. A few changes to the course brought driving accuracy down near 60% for the year, from 70%.
  • Approach to the green: In 2019, the greens were hit at less than the ideal average, around 68% of the time. That doesn’t help the golfers that aren’t good around the green. With the lower percentage of fairways hit this year, the greens were also significantly harder to hit, coming in at 63% of the time, the sixth hardest of the year.
  • Around the Green: When a golfer missed the green, which was 37% of the time, he failed to get up and down 45%. That makes it one of the hardest on tour all year. Scrambling percentage ticked down a bit, making it the hardest of this shortened season, with golfers only getting up and down 52% of the time.
  • On the Green: Once on the greens, however, they aren’t incredibly tricky. In terms of overall putting average, it ranked in the top 11 easiest last year. Greens were receptive once on them again, as it came in as one of the easiest to make putts on the whole year.

PGA DFS Statistical Comparison

  • Driving Accuracy vs. Driving Distance: The last three years, this tournament has been dominated by longer hitters. Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau were the last three winners, but prior to that, the previous three winners aren’t known as longer hitters: Jason Dufner, William McGirt and David Lingmerth. As is typical with great golf courses, it leads a player of any ability to win. The preference is distance over accuracy this week, though.
  • Strokes Gained Tee to Green Analysis: Contrary to last week’s course where off the tee really doesn’t matter, it will this week. Still, Nicklaus designs are typically second-shot courses, which should lead to a ball striker’s paradise.
  • Putting — How good do they need to be?: Ball strikers rejoice, as it seems putting isn’t a huge element to win here given that none of the last five winners are standout putters.

Latest PGA DFS Content


PGA DFS Sweat Sheet for the Memorial

PGA DFS Picks: The First Cut for the Memorial Tournament & Preview including Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and more!

With the average score being over par and four par 5’s on the course, there are some brutal ones out there. The par 5’s add up to over 40% of the total scoring, with only one other hole getting above 5%. The best chance at a birdie streak on the week will be holes five to seven. The finishing three holes are some of the toughest on tour, with a total of just 9% of the projected DraftKings scoring.

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The Memorial Player Preview

DraftKings & FanDuel PGA DFS picks The Memorial daily fantasy golf official world golf rankings expert analysis strategy Justin THomas Jon Rham Bryson DeChambeau

With 60 of the world’s top 100 and seven of the world’s top 10 here to compete this week at The Memorial, this will certainly have a major-type feel to it. Dustin Johnson has decided to take another week off and likely won’t see him again until the U.S. Open unless he decides to play at the Congaree next week. But nonetheless, there is a fantastic field here, including Justin Thomas and defending champion Jon Rahm.

Previous Winners

  • 2020: Jon Rahm
  • 2019: Patrick Cantlay
  • 2018: Bryson DeChambeau
  • 2017: Jason Dufner
  • 2016: William McGirt
  • 2015: David Lingmerth

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Looking for more PGA DFS picks for FanDuel and DFS PGA FanDuel picks? The PGA DFS projections for this week, the DFS PGA showdown projections for DraftKings and the DraftKings DFS PGA ownership projections for today are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world. PGA DFS rankings for Yahoo! will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament.

Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now four years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of two boys, James & Myles. A dog and more specifically Lab lover (Bella), he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, at Disney World, on a hike, or somewhere in between. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing [email protected].

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