Fantasy Golf Picks: The Memorial Sleepers, Preview & Starts
Defending Champ: David Lingmerth
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The Memorial On-Demand: Rory | Kuchar | Hideki/Fowler | Day | Kisner | Chappell/Lee | Spieth/Reed | Knox | Charl
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The Memorial Field
120 Players | Top 70 & Ties Make The Cut | First Tee Time 7:20 am EST
After a few weeks of middling fields, The Memorial has managed to gather one of the year’s strongest group of golfers outside of a Major/WGC. The top five players in the world ranking will be in Ohio: Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and Rickie Fowler, and overall, 29 of the world’s Top 50 will be on the links at Murfield Village. In what has to be a first, THEE BIG THREE (Rory, Day and Spieth) are all coming in off a win. Day claimed the biggest payday in golf at THE PLAYERS two weeks ago, Rory won in Ireland, and Spieth eviserated the back nine in Dallas Sunday claiming the SEO-Kryptonite DEAN & DELUCA (ALL CAPPPPSSSSSS!!!!!!!) Invitational.
On top of hosting The Memorial every year, Jack’s course has also played host to a bevy of large tournaments: 1986 US Junior Amateur, 1987 Ryder Cup, 1992 US Amateur, 1998 Solhiem Cup, and 2013 Presidents Cup. Murfield Village is the only course to welcome the Solhiem, Ryder, and Presidents Cups. Since most of those are from way back, the 2013 Presidents Cup is really the only event that will have relevance for players’ experience with this iteration of the layout. From that event, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson, and Spieth are all in the field, along with the USA captain Davis Love III. From the international squad, Day, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Hideki Matsuyama, Angel Cabrera, Marc Leishman, Brendon de Jonge, and Graeme DeLaet will be in action this week.
There are 11 players who competed in the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth last week who’ve made the trip across the ocean without a rest. Additionally, Ethan Tracy, defending champion David Lingmerth’s old roommate, is playing on a sponsors exemption. And, Justin Rose has already pulled out with a bad back. Keep an eye on his progress with the US Open rapidly approaching. Rose has been replaced by Mark Hubbard.
The Memorial Key Stats
Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green
Par 5 Scoring
Par 3 Scoring 175-200 Yards
Sand Save Percentage
The Memorial Course Details
Muirfiled Village | Par 72 | 7,392 Yards
In retrospect, we all should have seen last year’s David Lingmerth triumph coming. Although, almost none of us did, certainly not me, but it makes a lot of logical sense looking back at it. Muirfield Village is one of the few courses that tests the players’ complete game. Now, Lingmerth isn’t one of the world’s elite in any one skill, however he is above average at almost everything; he’s essentially 70-percent Spieth. He just happened to make every critical par putt coming down the stretch, that was the difference in 2015. Projecting to this season, it’s again unlikely a single-skill golfer is going to collect the novelty check come Sunday. There’s simply too much difficulty to navigate without a balanced skill-set. The rough is borderline US Open thick, likely why so many of the top names are using this for an Oakmont tune-up. There are 79 bunkers, including some of the most difficult (in terms of proximity) green-side traps in world. The closer the players get to the hole, the more difficult Muirfield Village becomes. Jack decided to toss in 13 water hazards too, just for kicks. There’s even a Par 3 which looks exactly No. 12 at Augusta, which is guaranteed to trigger Speith’s PTSD.
If you’re searching for corollary courses, all the Nicklaus layouts will provide a piece of the puzzle: PGA West (CareerBuilder), Montreux G&CC (Barracuda Championship), and Glen Abbey GC (Canadian Open), but it’s The Masters that has the biggest crossover in performance. Think of Muirfield Village as Augusta, if Augusta wasn’t completely tailored to lefties.
The Memorial Picks
Jason Day - It’s nary impossible to bet against the world’s best player at an event that’s typically been dominated by the who’s who of the golfing world. At any course where a completely balanced game is required to win, always have Day in your lineup.
Jordan Spieth - Again, when a course gets more difficult the closer you get to the hole, that tends to compliment Speith’s game pretty well. Coming off a win, Spieth will look to improve on his fourth best scoring average (Minimum 10 rounds) of any player in the field at Muirfield Village.
Kevin Kisner - After a few months of piss-poor golf, I’m willing to reinvest in Kisner before he gets hot. Sure, I worry that he’s not terrific scrambling around the greens ( 108th), but he’s a form player who scores equally as well on Par 4 and Par 5s. And remaining 11th in birdie or better conversion rate is impressive in light of his struggles. Kisner back-doored a T10 last week in Dallas, and if he can keep his putter hot, he’ll lurk all weekend.
Patrick Reed - Reed just can’t put four rounds together. It’s maddening. Still, he’s second best of any player in SG: Around-The-Green, 19th Tee-to-Green, and has only missed two cuts (with eight T10s) in 16 starts this season.
Hideki Matsuyama - Hideki has shot under-par in each of his eight rounds at Muirfield Village (70-67-69-69-64-71-71-70). Results in those two appearances? 1st and T5.
Kevin Chappell - After devastating the Fantasy Golf community by shanking a two-foot putt on No. 18 Friday to miss the cut on the number, Chappell is going to be dead to most people. Not me. His form remains en fuego - four T10s in his last seven starts - and he does have a T2 at The Memorial in the past (2013). Problem is, guy just can’t putt. When you look at where he’s gaining strokes on the field, it’s everywhere but the greens: SG: Off-the-Tee (55th), SG: Approach (6th), SG: Tee-To-Green (9th), SG: Aroung-The-Green (52nd), SG: Putt (174th). Fortunately, putting has the highest variance of any golf skill, and can normalize any given week. With Chappell’s form right now, I’m willing to give him a mulligan after last week.
Matt Kuchar - There’s no bigger lock (on paper) coming into The Memorial than Kuch. Does that means he’s going to dominate? Not a chance, this is golf, weird shit happens all the time. He is in great position to post his fourth consecutive Top 10, though. Beyond is hot recent form, Kuch has dominated at Muirfield Village over the years, claiming victory in 2013, never missing a cut in eight starts with seven Top 15s and no result worse than T26.
Marc Leishman - The two strengths of the Aussie’s game? YOU GUESSED IT, the closer you get to the green, the better is performs. Leishman sits 20th in SG: ATG and 21st in SG: Putt. He’s Top 20 in both Par 3 and 4 scoring, while remaining Top 50 in Par 5 birdies or better. Add in his exemplarily performance from the key Par 3 range (Top 15 in the field) and you have a player that should almost certainly make his sixth cut in a row at this event.
The Pat Mayo Hour covers the entire scope of the Fantasy sports landscape from Football to Reality TV, daily and yearly leagues and everything in between. You can watch the Pat Mayo Hour every weekday at 3:00pm EST, 8:00pm EST and Midnight on the FNTSY Sports Network Television channel or on your Apple TV, Xbox, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. If you have a Fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at PatMayoHour@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show
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