After Spieth’s win at Colonial, all the best golfers in the world are coming together at Muirfield Village GC for the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. With Day, Spieth and McIlroy all participating, it will be easy if you want to build your roster around one of them – but which one? Who can you grab for some cheap points to make the room you need in the budget? You’ll need solid selections at every price point to succeed this weekend – so here are a few names to help you narrow it down.
Jordan Spieth ($12,400) – Separated by just $100, the choices start at the very top this weekend – Spieth or Day? Both are coming off convincing wins, and both have the skill-set to succeed on any course. And if you’re building a bunch of different lineups, they will both find their way into at least one. If I have to choose one, I will defer to course history, and Spieth’s T3 here last year highlighted by a 65 on Sunday.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,600) – Matsuyama is the obvious choice this weekend, as he’s the perfect convergence of recent performance and course history. In his last four appearances on Tour, he has finished T6-T7-T11-T7 (last time out was The PLAYERS). At the same time, he is the 2014 Memorial Tournament champion, a victory he followed up with a T5 last year. He seems like money well spent in any kind of tournament this weekend, with his only drawback being potential high ownership.
Rickie Fowler ($10,300) – On a course that has allowed the highest of birdies when a player hits the green in regulation over the last two years, it seems obvious to me that golfers with a high GIR (green in regulation percentage) are a good place to start in identifying candidates for your roster. Fowler is sitting 5th in that category right now, much higher than the other top golfers on hand this weekend (Matsuyama is closest at 11th). He has earned that ranking by hitting the ball as well as he has in his career, which will hopefully translate into his best performance here to date (one-upping a solo-2nd in 2010).
Matt Kuchar ($9,900) – He has been inside the top-10 here seven times, including a win in 2013. He has also been no worse than T6 in any of his last three events (T3 at The PLAYERS, 3rd at AT&T Byron Nelson and T6 last weekend at Colonial). He has one round over par in that entire stretch, a 73 he fired on Thursday last weekend (and that he neatly off-set with a 63 on Saturday). The only surprise to me here is that he isn’t more expensive.
Kevin Kisner ($8,600) – He just recovered from a stretch of two straight missed cuts with a T10 finish at the Dean & Deluca Invitational, highlighted by rounds of 66 on Friday and Sunday. That performance bumped him from 8th to 6th in the All-Around Rankings on Tour this season, a stat that shows an ability to succeed on any type of course (Rose, Fowler, Day, McIlroy and Scott are the only five names in front of him on the list).
Chris Kirk ($8,300) – He has demonstrated that he can be very comfortable on this course, most notably with a T4 in 2014. And while he only has one finish inside the top-10 so far this season, that is a bit deceptive: he also has a T12, T13 and T15 on his record dating back to the Arnold Palmer in March.
Justin Thomas ($8,200) – He has four top-10’s this season, including a T3 in his last appearance at The PLAYERS. He secured that finish with a final-round 65 on his way to a total of 20 birdies and 95.0 DKFP. That kind of scoring ability could translate into huge upside on a course like Muirfield this weekend if he keeps up the same form, which makes him a potentially huge value at this price- especially in larger tournaments.
Daniel Berger ($7,800) – This course is interesting in the way it can allow players to succeed with varying styles. Players need to be consistently putting the ball close to the pin, because they can’t rely on the greens to slow other players down. But you can get there with long, accurate drives that mean you require just a short iron into the green. Plus, the fairways are plenty forgiving as well, so you can also get there in spite of a lack of either distance or accuracy off the tee as long as you can nail that second shot. Berger should be able to take advantage as long as he keeps up his recent form: seven straight made cuts, no finishes worse than T28 over that stretch, six of those seven inside the top-20, and four at T11 or better.
Russell Knox ($7,600) – I mentioned during my discussion of Rickie Fowler that I particularly like GIR% as an indicator this week. Well, Russell Knox is #1 on Tour in just that category, a skill that should leave him plenty of chances to put up a low enough number to justify his price tag and then some. He has had good performances on the Euro and PGA Tours recently, with a T2 at the Irish Open two weeks ago and a T19 at The PLAYERS the week prior (as well as a T2 last month at the RBC Heritage).
Anirban Lahiri ($7,200)* – He is coming off four rounds at the Dean & Deluca without going over par, including an opening-round 65. That was good enough to earn him a T6 which was his first top-30 showing since back in March. Despite a lack of top finishes, he has been consistently making cuts since then (5-for-5). At this price, a very good chance at a made cut counts as consistency and anything even close to top-10 potential counts as upside.
Bryson DeChambeau ($7,000) – He’s missed four straight cuts, which officially makes him more of a tourney play than a cash game option, but with the bound-to-be-low ownership percentages, he would certainly give you a leg up if he turned it around. This seems like the kind of track where he might be able to do just that, a place where his approach to the game could be an asset. It’s not a big driver or a hot putter that will win here for you; as I hinted at in my discussion of Daniel Berger, it’s the combination of shots you put together on every hole and Bryson seems like he could be up to that challenge.
Adam Hadwin ($6,900) – He has made 73% of his cuts this season, including big tournaments like The PLAYERS and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was competing against top fields. He is coming off a T22 at the Dean & Deluca Invitational where he opened with a 68-67 and featured 14 birdies and 65.5 DKFP. Points should be even easier to come by if he is playing as well again this weekend, and that would mean he provides good value for the price.