There is a lot of information to digest when researching for golf. Course characteristics can tell us whether we want to favor long hitters, great putters or the best scramblers. Weather is crucial as strong wind early on Thursday would mean we want players teeing off later in the day. Figuring out exactly how good a golfer is relative to his DraftKings salary and the field sounds simple but is an obvious key.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in every DFS sport, these two topics are a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course and who comes into the event in good form correlate significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
MEMORIAL COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Matt Kuchar, $9,900
We could argue the hottest player on the planet right now is Kuchar, who has four top-10s in his last five events. And similar to last week at Colonial, he’s taking on a course he’s dominated. Kuchar has never missed the cut in seven appearances, going T26, T15, 1, T2, T8, T5 and T10. At $9,900, Kooch gives us a sizable discount off the “Big Three” of Jason Day ($12,400), Jordan Spieth ($12,300) and Rory McIlroy ($12,200).
2. Bill Haas, $7,700
Big Bill has flashed his upside already this season, booking four top-10s and seven top-25s in just 14 outings. Now he gets a course that fits his eye nicely. Haas’ last three finishes at the Memorial are T18, T8 and T4. He’s missed the cut just once in eight career appearances. I expect Haas to be lightly owned this week as he’s in the same range as popular players such as Kevin Chappell ($7,500), Danny Lee ($7,500) and J.B. Holmes ($7,600).
3. Luke Donald, $7,200
On the surface, Donald’s course history at The Memorial looks absolutely spectacular. He has never missed a cut in six appearances and his adjusted round score of 68.4 is eighth-best in the field. However, Donald’s exceptional results here came when he was a different golfer. Between 2008 and 2012, he never finished outside the the top-14. In just two appearances since then, he’s gone T21 and T49. Still, at just $7,200 Donald has upside as a “scrub” in a stars-and-scrubs lineup.
MEMORIAL COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Jason Day, $12,400
Day is the best golfer in the world right now, as evidenced by his No. 1 long-term adjusted round score of 67.9. That’s slightly ahead of Rory McIlroy (68.1) and Jordan Spieth (68.1). But when we’re paying $12,400 in such a strong field we have to be picky. Day has really struggled at Muirfield Village, never finishing higher than T27 in seven appearances. His last five outings here have gone CUT, T37, T41, CUT, T33. Day’s floor is far lower than usual this week.
2. Lucas Glover, $6,500
Glover was a popular punt play the last two weeks after booking a T8 at the Wells Fargo. He responded with two straight missed cuts. Now Glover takes on a nightmare tournament for him, as he’s missed the four times in eight outings. Glover’s last six appearances at the Memorial have gone T68, T69, CUT, T46, CUT, CUT.
3. Webb Simpson, $7,500
Simpson has missed the cut in three of his five trips to the Memorial. He didn’t play in 2015 or 2014 after shooting seven over par in two 2013 rounds and nine over in two 2012 rounds. Simpson did book a T7 here back in 2011, but that looks like more of an outlier than a ceiling. Given the aforementioned options in the mid-$7K range, Simpson is an easy avoid for me.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Hideki Matsuyama, $10,600
Matsuyama is pushing to make golf’s “Big Three” a Big Four. The 24-year-old Japanese sensation has one win, five top-10s and nine top-25s in 13 events so far this season. That includes a recent run of T7, T11, T7, T18 and T6 in his last five events. On top of that, Matsuyama has crushed at Muirfield Village with a T5 and a win in his two outings here.
2. Kevin Chappell, $7,500
Yes, I’m aware Chappell disappointingly missed the cut last week with an ugly Friday 74 that included a bogey-bogey finish on 17 and 18 to miss the cut by one stroke. That should keep his ownership down this week even though his price has sunk down $2,100. Given Chappell’s four top-10s in his last seven events – a run that includes three top-4s – there’s a big ceiling here at a cheap price. His adjusted round score of 68.3 over the last six weeks is tied for eighth-best in the Memorial field.
3. Daniel Summerhays, $6,900
Summerhays has been an ATM machine lately, making five straight cuts at low cost. He’s exceeded his DraftKings salary-based points expectation in seven of his last nine tournaments and has a strong adjusted round score of 68.5 across the last six weeks. Summerhays is one of the stronger sub-$7K plays this week, along with David Hearn and William McGirt.