Hosted by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village, the Memorial is now an elevated event that features an elite 120-player field. This season, 23 of the world’s top 50 golfers are in attendance, including each of the most recent champions in Patrick Cantlay (x2), Billy Horschel and Jon Rahm. Some names who are skipping this week include Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau and Max Homa.
Despite extensive renovations to the course after 2020, the venue still played tough in 2021 with just a 13-under winning score. Last season, only one player was able to reach double digits in terms of under-par scoring (Horschel -13). There are plenty of players returning to action after taking last week off, and as of now, the only early withdraws from the event have been Maverick McNealy and Taylor Moore.
Despite the reduced field, the cut aligns with the standard PGA TOUR rules, as only the top 65 and ties make the cut after Friday’s round.
Muirfield Village — Dublin, Ohio
Par 72, 7,533 yards, Greens: Bentgrass (some poa)
Muirfield Village is a true championship course. It was built in 1972 and named after Jack Nicklaus’ favorite Open Championship venue (Muirfield); it also shares some design similarities with Augusta National. Like Augusta, Muirfield Village is a par 72 and carries four par 5s that are quite reachable in two by many of the players, with the longest being only 567 yards. These four holes played as the four easiest on the course in 2021, which was also the standard for Muirfield every season before the 2020 renovations. The par 5s contrast greatly with the par 3s, which don’t measure that long but challenge players with awkwardly shaped greens and almost always play as some of the toughest holes for the week.
Muirfield Village was played twice on the PGA TOUR (in back-to-back weeks) in 2020, but it has since undergone massive renovations, which include a complete reconstruction of the bentgrass greens. Length was added to the course, and it can now play close to 7,600 yards. In addition to the added length, lots of trees were added to make some of the tee shots more challenging.
With the changes, the last two seasons have seen an added emphasis on around-the-green play — each of the past two winners have gained over 4.0 strokes around the greens for the week. With seven par 4s measuring over 450 yards, there aren’t a ton of birdie chances available, making bogey avoidance more of a key stat. Last year’s winner, Billy Horschel, led the field in this stat by a wide margin while 2021 winner Patrick Cantlay was second in this stat in the year of his win.
Approach play is still the most vital stat to focus on this week — especially when looking for potential spike candidates down the salary ranges — but good around-the-green play can make a huge difference due to the smaller greens and low GIR percentages. It’s a good week to emphasize recent form and look for some continuation from players who were in the mix in the tough conditions at the year’s second major two weeks ago.
2023 outlook: After a couple of weeks with more difficult weather, this week finally gives us a nice reprieve from looking at weather updates. Highs are expected to be in the 85 degrees Fahrenheit range every day, with little to no chance of rain. That’s good news, as this event has seen thunderstorms wreak havoc with the schedule in the past. The wind is also expected to be nearly non-existent the first two days with Friday afternoon having slightly more wind than Thursday afternoon, but only by one to two mph. The course will likely play fast and dry, which will almost certainly put a big emphasis on solid around-the-green play once again.
Last 5 winners
Bill Horschel (-13 over Aaron Wise -9)
Patrick Cantlay (-13 over Collin Morikawa playoff)
Jon Rahm (-9 over Ryan Palmer -6)
Patrick Cantlay (-19 over Adam Scott -17)
Bryson DeChambeau (-15 over Byeong Hun An playoff)
- Thirteen of the last 14 winners had a T5 finish or better on the PGA TOUR in the year of their victory before winning at the Memorial.
- Course History: Seven of the past eight winners of the Memorial had made the cut at Muirfield Village in their previous appearance at this event.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2022 Winner: Billy Horschel (13-under par)
2022 lead-in form (MC-T68-21-43-2)
- The top four finishers at this event from 2020 all ranked inside the top five in bogey avoidance. Cantlay was tied for second in bogey avoidance, as well, in 2021 and Horschel led the field in bogey avoidance in 2022.
- The most popular grouping of approach shots here over time has been from 175-200 yards, but 150-175 yards is also very popular. Two of the par 3s also fall in this shorter range.
- Muirfield Village now has seven par 4s that range between 450-500 yards, making par 4 efficiencies from 450-500 yards worth looking at.
- The course features wide fairways, so driving accuracy numbers are surprisingly higher than the PGA TOUR average, with cut-makers at Muirfield hitting around 68% of fairways.
- Greens are smaller than normal, so they’re difficult to hold. The average cut-maker at this event has hit 61% of GIR vs. 65% at other PGA TOUR stops. As mentioned above, this has enhanced the need for sharp around-the-green play.
- Solid approach stats and around-the-green play should be emphasized the most — the last four winners of this event have all gained over 4.0 strokes ATG for the week.
- The last three winner/runner-up combos have also gained at least 5.0 strokes on their approaches.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Patrick Cantlay ($10,500; best finishes: win-2019 +2021, fourth-2018): Cantlay will be making his eighth career start at Muirfield Village this week. The 29-year-old is a two-time winner of this event and has now landed five top-10 finishes at this venue. He leads the field in SG: Total stats at Muirfield over the last five seasons by a huge margin.
2. Si Woo Kim ($8,000; best finishes: T9-2021, T13-2022): Kim ranks out second in strokes gained total stats at Muirfield Village over the last five seasons. He’s now finished top 20 at this event in each of the past three seasons and hasn’t missed the cut here over that span. With solid ball-striking stats over his last few starts, Kim is a solid value at $8,000.
3. Rickie Fowler ($8,500; best finishes: T2-2017, T8-2018): Even when he’s struggled, Muirfield Village has always been a bit of a safe haven for Fowler, who finished T11 at this event in 2021, gaining over 3.0 strokes Around the Green and Putting. Fowler has four top-20 finishes at Muirfield over the past six seasons and comes in off a top-10 finish last week in Texas.
4. Adam Scott ($8,000; best finishes: second-2019, 4th-2014): Scott has come close to grabbing a win at this event on numerous occasions. While he only managed a T67 here last season, he hasn’t missed the cut at the Memorial in his past seven appearances and has gained strokes around the greens in four of his past six visits, as well.
5. Xander Schauffele ($10,200; best finishes: T18-2022, T11-2021): Schauffele ranks third in strokes gained total stats at this event over the last five years, all despite never posting a top 10. He’s finished top 20 at Muirfield in each of the past four seasons and has been a solid DFS roster despite never actually challenging for the win.
1. Scottie Scheffler ($11,300; T3-T2-T5): Scheffler has been absolutely on fire of late and gained over 15.0 strokes tee to green for the second week in a row at Colonial last week. He’s in top form as we head into the summer.
2. Viktor Hovland ($9,700; T7-T3-T17): Hovland followed up his second-place finish at the PGA Championship with a T16 last week. It was more of a putter-based finish from Hovland, who has posted top 10s at the first two major championships.
3. Tyrrell Hatton ($9,300; T15-T5-T3): Hatton has been in top form of late and comes into this week having posted top-15 finishes in each of his last three starts — including a T15 at the PGA Championship.
4. Adam Scott ($8,000; T29-T8-T5): Scott is coming off a solid T29 at the PGA Championship, where he gained over 6.0 strokes ball-striking. He hasn’t missed a cut on the PGA TOUR in over a year now.
5. Austin Eckroat ($6,600; T16-T2-T49): Eckroat has been playing some great golf of late. He posted a T16 last week and has gained multiple strokes on approach in three straight starts.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Matsuyama and Lowry excellent core plays
Shane Lowry ($8,100) and Hideki Matsuyama ($8,700) are two players who excelled in the tough conditions at the PGA Championship and come in with excellent course history. Lowry finished sixth here in 2021 and has been in great form with his long game all season. He’s gained multiple strokes around the greens at Muirfield the last two seasons, which is a great sign for his chances this week. Matsuyama has looked great since coming back from injury and gained over 10.0 strokes tee to green at the PGA Championship. Both men have easy-to-fit-in salaries and make for great cash game plays. Other potential targets for this format include Tyrrell Hatton ($9,300), Si Woo Kim ($8,000), Keegan Bradley ($7,800) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($7,200).
Tournaments: Morikawa still has plenty of appeal
Despite a wonky putting stroke that caused him to lose multiple strokes on the greens again last week, Collin Morikawa ($9,900) is still a name to consider in larger-field GPPs. He has been searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR since his 2021 Open Championship triumph for some time now and enters this week having gained 3.0 or more strokes on approach in five straight events. He gained over 5.0 strokes putting on these greens in 2021. Joining him as a decent GPP target is Justin Suh ($6,900), who also has a fantastic approach game and has shown some signs of life with his putter over the last two weeks. Suh has played this venue once prior and comes in off two solid starts. Other names to consider for this format include Patrick Rodgers ($7,100), Ryan Fox ($7,100), Adam Svensson ($6,900), and Matthew NeSmith ($6,500).
MY PICK: Rory McIlroy ($10,600)
This will be the 12th time that McIlroy has played Muirfield Village on the PGA TOUR. For all his accolades, he still comes into this week searching for his first-ever win at Jack Nicklaus’ signature event. Despite never winning this event, McIlroy is no stranger to Nicklaus designs, as he grabbed a win at PGA National way back in 2012 and has posted four top-10 finishes at Muirfield over his career, as well.
The season has not been kind to McIlroy, but he posted a T7 at the PGA Championship and endured the tough conditions there far better than many of his peers. The +7.3 strokes he gained on approach alone is a good indication that whatever was ailing him at the Masters, swing-wise, has been resolved, and he’s more than ready to excel in the back half of the season.
Assuming we get any semblance of the ball-striking we saw at the PGA Championship, a decent week with the putter may be all that is standing between him and another win right now, as his around-the-green game has also been solid in each of his last two starts. He’s unlikely to carry heavy rostership in DFS (making him ideal to build around in big field GPPs), and at +1200 on DraftKings Sportsbook, he has some general appeal as an outright target, as well.
MY SLEEPER: David Lipsky ($6,400)
This event has produced some massive surprise finishes in the past, with 2015 and 2016 featuring two unlikely winners in William McGirt and David Lingmerth. While the elevated field in 2023 may make another shocking winner nearly impossible to find, there is still plenty of room for a player like Lipsky to make his mark this week with a higher-end finish. He has had a spotty season but came to life last week in Texas where he finished T16, gaining multiple strokes on approach, around the green and putting.
The approach game for Lipsky is solid most weeks, so seeing the rest of his game take some form is encouraging going forward, and he’ll be coming to a venue this week in Muirfield Village where he’s found success before. Lipsky finished T48 here on debut back in 2019 (when he wasn’t even a PGA TOUR member) and managed to better that finish last season on the newly renovated course with a T37.
At $6,400, we’re not asking Lipsky to do much to pay off for us in DFS, and he’s proven more than capable of outperforming his salary in these spots, posting six top-20 finishes on the PGA TOUR since the start of 2022. For betting, his improved play and course history also makes him a solid top 40 target at +240 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600 (ONT), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY; 19+ ONT). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/ONT/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions. DraftKings operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. Please play responsibly.