Out of the Rough: The Memorial Tournament
Boy, have we been on one recently. After having our most successful week yet two weeks ago at the PGA Championship we may have topped that at the Charles Schwab Challenge. We may not have hit any of our outright bets (I limited it to winners only this week,) but we doubled our money and then some on both of our DFS lineups. That may be the single best DFS week we’ve ever had here on the Out of the Rough series. We had both the winner in Sam Burns and second place Scottie Scheffler who Burns defeated in a playoff. Who would have thought that our one missed cut in one of our lineups would be the PGA Championship winner himself, Justin Thomas. Scheffler in that $10,000-plus spot would have been fantastic. Not listed was my Luke Donald play at the minimum $6,000 DraftKings price who went on to make the cut and place T40th. I’ll take that every day of the week. We’re onto one of the larger non-major tournaments of the year in The Memorial Tournament.
Justin Thomas (+3) - MC
Sam Burns (-9) - 1st
Mito Pereira (-5) - T7th
Harold Varner III (E) - T27th
Matthias Schwab (+5) - T57th
Scottie Scheffler (-9) - 2nd
Sungjae Im (-3) - T15th
Kevin Na (-5) - T7th
Gary Woodland (+4) - MC
Rory Sabbatini (+4) - T52nd
Muirfield Village has been the host of the Memorial Tournament since its inception in 1972. The Ohio course annually plays as one of the most challenging tracks on tour. Last year, Muirfield Village played as the second toughest course on the entire tour.
It’s described as a “true championship course” due to its many challenges it presents to golfers throughout the round.
Jack Nicklaus designed the course after his favorite Open Championship course (Muirfield) and it plays much like that of a major. It shares many similarities to Augusta National actually.
In recent times, Muirfield Village has undergone extensive reconstructions of its Bentgrass greens. Length was also added to the course to get it closer to 7,600 yards. Additionally, trees were added to add even more challenges to tee shots.
The field is star filled with 32 of the world’s top 50 golfers featured in the 120 man field. Not quite like The Players but The Memorial is one of the larger non-majors of the season.
Weather shouldn’t be a factor this year as the chance of rain Friday through Sunday is next to nil. We could see a bit of rain Thursday morning but besides that, conditions are ideal.
Per usual with the PGA tour, Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP) is one of the more important statistics to watch throughout the week. Golfers will see a lot of approach shots from 175-200 yards but 150-175 yards will equally be as popular. Both Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay gained six strokes on the field via approach shots last year in route to -13 tournaments.
Additionally, Strokes Gained: Around the Green (scrambling) (SG:ATG (scrambling)) will be important as well, just as it is with any challenging course. Both Morikawa and Cantlay gained twice strokes around the green last year.
Other important statistics to pay attention to include Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG,) bogey avoidance and par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards.
Trends to pay attention to include the fact that 12-of-the-last-13 winners have had a T5 or better on the PGA Tour on the season leading up to The Memorial and six-of-the-past-seven winners made the cut in their previous appearance at Muirfield.
I’m at the point where I look forward to this article each week with the recent run of success I’m on, so let’s start talking about The Memorial. First off, we’ll lead off with Xander Schauffele ($10,200.) Schauffele is the cheapest in this price range and that works out well for us in creating our lineup. He’s top 20 in each of the statistical categories we’ve talked about already. He’s fourth in bogey avoidance, eighth in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards, ninth in SG: TTG, 16th in SG: APP and 10th in SG: ATG (scrambling.) Schauffele finished T11th at four under a year ago at The Memorial. He’s missed two cuts all season. In just his last three events he has a T13th at the PGA Championship, T5th at the AT&T Byron Nelson and a win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Also consider Rory McIlroy ($10,900.) Rory finished T18th at least year’s event at Muirfield. He’s also one of the hottest golfers on tour and doing it all so quietly. In his last three events he’s placed eighth at the PGA Championship, fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship and second at The Masters. He’s third on tour in SG: TTG, which I’m treating as the most important statistic this week. He’s top 50 in every other statistical category as well.
My favorite this week just so happens to be the cheapest in this price range. I’m riding my man Shane Lowry ($9,000) some more! He won me a bunch of money at The Masters and we’ll hope to repeat that success. Lowry is best on tour in bogey avoidance and SG: ATG (scrambling.) He’s also second in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards and eighth in SG: APP. He’s 23rd in SG: TTG as well. What I’m saying is that he fits this course extremely well and I will be playing him heavily in DFS and putting multiple props on him as well. He finished T6th at the event a year ago, just three strokes off the winner (Cantlay.) Lowry hasn’t missed a cut since February when he began his run with a 2nd at the Honda Classic. Since then he has two T3rds at The Masters and the RBC Heritage. Along with that he had three top 15’s in that same time span. It’s his time to win this season. Also consider Jordan Spieth ($9,700.) Spieth is seventh on tour in SG: TTG and ninth in SG: ATG (scrambling.) He’s also 13th in bogey avoidance and 15th in SG: APP. Finally, he’s 30th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards. Spieth finished T18th at the event a year ago. Spieth too is one of the hottest golfers on tour across his last four outings. In his previous four events he’s gone T7th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T34th at the PGA Championship, second at the Byron Nelson and a win at the RBC Heritage. I’ll be investing heavily in this price range to say the lease.
I guess I’m constantly living in the bottom of these price ranges as Mito Pereira ($8,000) too is the cheapest in his price range just as Schauffele and Lowry. This is the third week in a row I’m playing Pereira and I’m not ashamed of it by any means. He burst onto the scene two weeks back with his T3rd at the PGA Championship. He then went on to place T7th at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Prior to that, he hadn’t missed a cut dating back to March. In that span of six tournaments he recorded two top 10’s, two top 20’s and two top 30’s. He is making his Memorial Tournament debut this season, but we have seen him excel at his debuts throughout this season. He’s seventh on tour in bogey avoidance, ninth in SG: APP, 11th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards, 16th in SG: TTG and 17th in SG: ATG (scrambling.) Also consider Sungjae Im ($8,900.) We played Im last week and he finished T15th at the Charles Schwab. Now Im did miss the cut at the Memorial last year which goes against the trends we are following but everything else is there. He does have a top five on the season with a win at the Shriners Children's Open in October. Im is second on tour in bogey avoidance, fourth in SG: ATG (scrambling,) tenth in SG: TTG and 18th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards. On top of that he’s top 75 in SG: APP.
Leading off this all-so-important price range is Tom Hoge ($7,400.) Hoge is seventh on tour in both SG: APP and SG: ATG (scrambling.) On top of that he’s 15th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards, 18th in bogey avoidance and 26th in SG: TTG. Like Im, Hoge missed the cut at this event a year ago. However, Hoge has multiple top five’s on the season, including his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He also finished second at the American Express and T4th at the RSM Classic. Hoge is someone that has been featured in this series multiple times leading up to this event. Also consider Aaron Wise ($7,500.) Wise is one of my favorite golfers on tour, mainly due to the money he won me at The Masters a few years back. Anyhow, anytime I can include him in this series, I get excited. He’s top 60 in all five statistical categories we have highlighted thus far. He’s 25th in SG: TTG, 26th in SG: APP, 28th in bogey avoidance, 35th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards and 59th in SG: ATG (scrambling.) Wise took T9th at this event a year ago. Wise has a top five on the season, placing T5th at the CJ Cup back in October and has a T6th a few weeks back at the Mexico Open. He also has just one missed cut in his last seven events.
Both our golfers in this price range made the cut last week and our Donald play at $6,000 too made the cut. Let’s get into this price range this week. Leading the way is a familiar name in this price range with Adam Hadwin ($6,800.) The Canadian is top 40 in four-of-the-five categories we’ve highlighted and top 100th in all of them. He’s 17th in bogey avoidance, 31st in SG: APP, 34th in SG: ATG (scrambling) and 39th in SG: TTG. Hadwin did miss the cut at the Memorial a year ago but does have a top five this season with a T4th at the Valero Texas Open in April. Actually, between The Players and the Valero Texas Open, Hadwin placed T9th at The Players, T7th at the Valspar Championship and then T4th at the Valero. Let's see if he can regain that form. Also consider Martin Laird ($6,300.) Laird is actually top 54 in all five statistical categories we’ve talked about in this article. He’s 31st in SG: ATG (scrambling,) 38th in SG: TTG, 46th in SG: APP, 47th in bogey avoidance and 43th in par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards. Laird made the cut at The Memorial a year ago as well but doesn’t have a top five on the season. We’ll hope this gamble pays off!
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, we will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week Lenny went with Tom Hoge for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Hoge missed the cut at plus-four.
This week he’s going with Mackenzie Hughes. Hughes played his college golf at Kent State, just two hours north of Dublin, Ohio.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
The Zurich Classic - Jay and Billy Haas (E) - T59th
The Mexico Open - Carlos Ortiz (-5) - T51st
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Harry Higgs (-4) - MC
The PGA Championship - Talor Gooch (+1) - T20th
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Tom Hoge (+4) - MC
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
Last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge we went with Mito Pereira who finished T7th. Not bad at all. We’ll hope to capitalize on our Thomas pick at the PGA Championship and a T7th by Pereira. At The Memorial Tournament we’ll go with Xander Schauffele.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)
The Zurich Classic - Marc Lesihman ($24,111.50)
The Mexico Open - Gary Woodland ($60,955)
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Sam Burns ($0)
The PGA Championship - Justin Thomas ($2,700,000)
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Mito Pereira ($246,540)