WATCH: COURSE PREVIEW – MUIRFIELD VILLAGE
There is a lot of data 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 crucial.
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.
*The Memorial Tournament has been played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio since 1976.
Memorial Course History: The Good
1. Matt Kuchar, $9,400
The ever-consistent Kuchar has been knocking on the door lately with four top-12s in his last six events. Now he gets one of his favorite courses on tour, as he has five top-10s at Muirfield Village since 2009. Kuchar has never missed a cut during that stretch and his worst finish was 26th.
2. Steve Stricker, $6,900
Stricker is 50 years old but has shown he can still compete on the main PGA Tour. He finished 41st at the ultra-tough PLAYERS, 7th last week at DEAN & DELUCA and 16th at the Masters. Stricker has made six straight cuts here at Memorial, a run which includes a win in 2011 and a sixth in 2014. Stricker’s impressive 2017 season relative to age shouldn’t be a huge surprise as he booked three top-10s and five top-25s in just 15 main tour events last season.
3. Ryan Moore, $6,700
Moore’s recent form is poor as he went 67th at DEAN & DELUCA last week, missed cut at Byron Nelson and 53rd at THE PLAYERS. But he did show a ceiling lately with 67-67 on Thursday-Friday last week and an impressive ninth at the Masters. Moore should have some increased confidence this week as he’s made seven straight cuts at Muirfield Village – a streak that includes five top-22s. The best part is Moore is priced just $500 over the minimum.
4. Tony Finau, $7,900
Finau has only played this event twice, so there’s a smaller sample size here than I typically like to use. But we can’t ignore that the 27-year-old rising star finished 11th in 2016 and 8th in 2015. Finau is also in good form with three top-15s in his last seven events played.
Memorial Course History: The Bad
1. Rickie Fowler, $8,900
Once price is factored in, Fowler has the worst course history here. The world’s No. 12 golfer has missed three straight cuts at Memorial after recording a disappointing 37th in 2013 and 52nd in 2012. This poor history is factored into pricing as Fowler is the cheapest he’s been all year, but there’s still a low floor here.
2. Jason Day, $10,300
Day, appearing to be past his difficult off-course issues, impressed with a second-place finish a couple weeks ago at Byron Nelson. Muirfield Village is also the home course of the Ohio native. But he’s oddly struggled badly here relative to expectation with zero top-25s in his last seven appearances. That includes a missed cut in both 2015 and 2012.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Kevin Tway, $6,500
It’s déjà vu as Kevin Tway continues to sizzle yet his price goes down. As noted in this space for the last month, the son of Bob has found his groove with a third at the Texas Open, fifth at Wells Fargo, 20th at Byron Nelson and 18th last week at DEAN & DELUCA. Somehow, he’s dropped down to $6,500 this week despite having the seventh-best Recent Adjusted Round Score (via Fantasy Labs).
2. Patrick Cantlay, $7,800
Unlike Tway, Cantlay’s white-hot recent form is indeed reflected in his DraftKings price. Still, the 25-year-old former top-ranked amateur has beaten salary-based expectation in 10 straight events. Cantlay has serious upside as evidenced by his second at Valspar, third at Heritage and was on track for a huge finish at The Players before a Sunday 77 which dropped him to 22nd place.
3. Byeong-Hun An, $6,900
An continues to fly under the radar despite chugging up the rankings in most statistical categories. He’s made every single cut this season while booking top-10s at Phoenix Open, Wells Fargo and Byron Nelson. It reminds a bit of fellow “unknown” Sung Kang, who is $6,500 despite four top-20s in his last six events.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.