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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: The Memorial Tournament (2022)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Jun 1, 2022
Patrick Cantlay

After sinking an impressive, clutch birdie off of the green fringe in Fort Worth, Texas, to win the Charles Schwab Challenge, Sam Burns will enjoy his third win of the season and rest up this weekend. Scottie Scheffler made a late run on Sunday to put pressure on Burns during a one-hole playoff, but he could not manufacture birdies and struggled to put from a short distance. Scheffler remains ranked first in the FedExCup and first in OWGR but will join Burns and sit out during the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

The Memorial Tournament will be held at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus ushered in a new era of Muirfield in 2021 with several modifications to the course, most notably, adding Bentgrass greens that measure only 12 feet via the Stimpmeter. Slower greens will make it challenging to avoid three-putting, but getting there will depend on the precision of irons. Only 120 players will be competing on this track due to its status as a limited field invitational. However, nearly all of the premier players on the PGA Tour will be available on DFS slates. It’s always exciting to return to a traditional cut-line format and watch players navigate an iconic course designed in the vision of a legend like Nicklaus.

I’ve narrowed down my top six prospects to target ahead of Thursday’s opening round at Muirfield using metrics, past success, consistency, and value. So, without further ado, let’s figure out who to insert into DFS lineups to cash out on Sunday!

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Previous Winners

  • 2021 – Patrick Cantlay (-13)
  • 2020 – Jon Rahm (-9)
  • 2019 – Patrick Cantlay (-19)
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau (-15)
  • 2017 – Jason Dufner (-13)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Driving Distance
  • Greens in Regulation percentage
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  • Sand Save percentage

Course Overview

Muirfield begins with three consecutive par 4 holes, with each one getting slightly shorter in distance but gaining more water hazards and sand bunkers along the way. An even mixture of par 3s and par 5s, four apiece, creates an excellent relief from the difficult start. Still, it’s a demanding course, stretching to 7,533 yards. Driving distance and strokes gained off-the-tee are just as essential to succeed as the finesse shots from fairway to green. There are multiple ways for players to catapult their way up the leaderboard throughout the weekend, but there will undoubtedly be frustration.

The Bentgrass greens were implemented last year and reduced the putting velocity by a couple of feet, which is a much bigger deal than it may sound. 12 feet is standard procedure for the PGA Tour related to green velocity but for the veterans who have played Muirfield numerous times; it may still take some time to adjust in only its second year. The square footage of the greens is another obstacle, as they measure approximately 5,000 square feet on average. This is small, forcing players to bring their best irons to ensure accuracy from the fairway or tee.

The primary rough will stand much taller than the customary two to three inches typically seen at most PGA Tour courses. Muirfield has four-inch rough that stands taller, depending on a player’s lie. So while errant shots don’t spell doom on Nicklaus’ modified track, it still challenges even the most experienced scramblers. As far as weather is concerned, it should be a more temperate climate with temperatures hovering in the 70s for most of the weekend after a powerful thunderstorm rolls through on Wednesday to cool off players during the opening round. Expect the Bentgrass greens to be at their slowest on Thursday and their fastest on Sunday due to increasingly dry conditions.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Patrick Cantlay ($10,700)
Patrick Cantlay is a two-time winner at Muirfield, returning as the defending champion going 13-under-par last year to defeat Collin Morikawa in a one-hole playoff on the 18th. The 30-year-old Californian also won back in 2019 before the latest renovations were made. However, he’s proved that he’s comfortable and consistent at The Memorial in the last three years, winning twice and finishing no lower than T32 (+4) during this stretch. Cantlay has won at Zurich but is still seeking his first solo win of the 2022 PGA Tour. He’s drawn a pair of runner-ups at the WM Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage, ceding first-place to Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth. Talk about elite competition. Cantlay has the second-best odds to pull his seventh top-ten of the season at +115, per DraftKings sportsbook. He is much cheaper than Jon Rahm at $10,700 when creating DraftKings DFS lineups. Cantlay’s massive success at Muirfield in recent years makes him a blue-chip prospect to plug in with the utmost confidence.

Will Zalatoris ($9,400)
Now is the perfect time to get onboard the Will Zalatoris hype train. Since late March, the 25-year-old has played his best golf, drawing finishes of T5, T6, T4, and second-place that include challenging tracks such as Augusta National and Southern Hills. Zalatoris has only competed once at Muirfield during his first year as a professional in 2018 and missed the cut at+4, so he does not possess the confident familiarity that Cantlay does. However, Zalatoris is ranked sixth in GIR conversion at 70.3 percent, first in strokes gained tee-to-green, and third in strokes gained approaching the green. A powerful driver is a cherry on top for rostering Zalatoris, averaging 312 yards per attempt this season. Seven players are more expensive than Zalatoris, and a massive value is plugging him into DraftKings lineups at a mere $9,400 salary. So chase the value and the momentum here and insert the budding superstar into your lineups.

Max Homa ($8,700)
The number of discounted, high-caliber players available to roster on DraftKings is quite astounding. Max Homa certainly falls under this classification. The 31-year-old Californian has quietly pieced together two solo wins this season, including a recent win at Avenel Farm at the Wells Fargo Championship a few weeks ago. Homa is ranked 13th in total strokes gained and averages over four birdies per round. Birdies are fantasy gold based on the scoring system, as a birdie is +3 compared to +0.5 for a par. Homa has demonstrated time and time again that he is a force to be reckoned with on most courses this season. A T6 finish at Muirfield in 2021 adds even more appeal. Inserting Homa into lineups at just $8,700 is a phenomenal way to get a rare salary-saving prospect with a massive ceiling and a healthy floor.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Jon Rahm ($11,900)
As creative as I wanted to get with these prospects, fading Jon Rahm is ill-advised. The 27-year-old Spaniard has been in the spotlight of elite golfers since breaking out in 2020 and is currently ranked 11th in the FedExCup and second in OWGR. A win eluded him for quite a while until Rahm could produce -17-under-par at the inaugural Mexico Open at Vidanta a month ago. In 12 events, Rahm has eight top 25 finishes and five inside the top ten this season. He won at Muirfield in 2020 during its last year before Nicklaus’ renovations were made, going nine-under-par in a decisive three-stroke victory. Rahm has tons of tantalizing statistics to analyze but being ranked first in greens in regulation percentage at 72 percent is the one that stands out the most. A powerful driver justifies the expensive salary, combined with accurate irons and a 4.24 birdie average. Plug Rahm in to flood your lineup with points.

Matt Fitzpatrick ($10,500)
If you’re ever in doubt about a player’s outlook, investing in a strong iron game is always appropriate. 27-year-old Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick has been dominant with his irons all season, leading the PGA Tour in total strokes gained. Upon closer inspection, Fitzpatrick may have the best six metrics tracked for strokes gained purposes, including putting (10th), tee-to-green (10th), and around-the-green (11th), to make him an incredible value at $10,500 on FanDuel. A weak driver is a mild concern in comparison, while his surprisingly lower greens in regulation conversion rate (65 percent) keeps his salary down at this level. A missed cut in 2021 obscured the third-place finish Fitzpatrick managed at Muirfield in 2020. Plug Fitzpatrick into FanDuel lineups as a top-tier player available to roster at a considerable discount.

Davis Riley ($9,800)
Don’t look now, but Davis Riley is on a tear. The 25-year-old Mississippian has been producing top 25 finishes and top ten finishes across the last five weeks, totaling five consecutive finishes inside the top 25 since a missed cut at RBC Heritage back in mid-April. Riley does all of the essential things right but doesn’t necessarily pop with any particular statistic. His putter is 43rd in strokes gained putting, so he certainly will hold an edge against plenty of poor putters on the slower Bentgrass greens at Muirfield this weekend. A powerful driver is another great asset to possess heading into The Memorial Tournament, which Riley can also check off the list with a 306.3-yard average. The 4.38 birdies averaged per round makes me intrigued and excited about landing Riley at under $10,000 on FanDuel. With a $60,000 salary, you can still add a pairing of Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, or any other blue-chip prospect with a high salary. Davis could be the difference-maker between cashing out or falling outside of the green.

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Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  — to learn more.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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