Yahoo Fantasy Golf Contest Tournament Preview- The Memorial Tournament

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 20, 2015 19:56

Welcome Yahoo Contest players, we are excited because of the deep field of players The Memorial Tournament is featuring this week, which allows for more choices and chances for differentiation. Even the A-List this week is featuring multiple choices, which is different than the last couple of weeks. This should be a lot of fun.

This week the PGA Tour takes us to Dublin, Ohio and Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Built by Jack Nicklaus and opened in May 1974, Muirfield Village is always ranked as one of the Top courses in America. It is a Par 72 and measures 7,392 yards long (150 yards longer than the average course on tour). The course is lined with tons of trees and has water hazards on nearly every hole.

An important aspect to note this week is that the size of the field is only 120 players. This is because The Memorial Tournament is one of five tournaments that has been given invitational status, which means they have more freedom than full-field open tournaments in determining which players are eligible to participate in their event, as invitational tournaments are not required to fill their fields using the PGA Tour Priority Ranking System. What this means to us fantasy golf players is that it will be easier for players to make the cut as the cutline remains with the Top 70 golfers.

Year after year Jack’s tournament brings out the best players in the world and this year is no different. Fifteen of the Top 25 players in the world rankings are in the field including defending champ Hideki Matsuyama, world #2 Jordan Spieth, and The Players champ Rickie Fowler. Tiger Woods will also be making one of his few appearances this season at Muirfield. Last year Matsuyama earned his first PGA Tour victory by forcing a playoff with a birdie at the 18th hole and defeating Kevin Na with a par on the first extra hole. Na had completed his round nearly two hours earlier. The two hour break obviously affected Na as he found the creek left of the 18th fairway in the playoff.

Every week we look first and foremost at the Strokes Gained Statistic, with the emphasis on Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green as it has proven the most predictive of success of all the statistics. If you have not read our articles written about the Strokes Gained statistic and how valuable it is in predicting success, check them out here: Do Statistics Really Matter in Fantasy Golf. In analyzing past years results at The Memorial Tournament it is clear that greens in regulation is a very important statistic that needs to be considered. Actually in 2012 the winner Tiger Woods ranked first in greens in regulation. In 2013, champion Matt Kuchar also ranked first in greens in regulation. Last year Matsuyama ranked 22nd in greens in regulation, and four guys ranking in the Top 7 in greens in regulation finished Top 10 in the final standings. The other two areas we are going to look at is Par 4 and Par 5 scoring. All of the Par 5s are reachable in two which will give the long hitters an advantage, but we need to be careful because bombing away with no regard to accuracy does not work here.

One of the most important factors that needs to be analyzed this week at The Memorial Tournament is tournament history. A few of the guys who stand out as having great tournament history include Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel, and Jim Furyk. For a complete tournament history for every player at The Memorial, check out our tournament history page.

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Make Note that Charley Hoffman withdrew from The Memorial on Monday.

A-List:

The favorites:
Jim Furyk
Steve Stricker
Tiger Woods
Bill Haas
Ben Martin

Unlike the last few weeks the A-List is full of great options, even Tiger Woods looks to be a possibility for people to choose. Bill Haas might be overlooked this week, well just because he is Bill Haas and he is often overlooked. He has had two Top 10s the last two years here at Muirfield and The Memorial. That plus he has had three Top 20s in his last five events this year (T4 at The Players, T17 at WGC Match Play, and T12 at The Masters). He is also ranked 44th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. We think he will produce a real nice finish this week. The guy who we really like as maybe an under the radar type play in Yahoo this week is Brooks Koepka. Last week he finished T16 at the Byron Nelson. He won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier in the year and added a T17 at WGC Cadillac and T33 at The Masters. He did suffer for a while with a nagging rib injury and his results were not up to his ability, but he appears to be 100% now. He currently ranks 9th in driving distance, 149th in driving accuracy, 71st in greens in regulation, 35th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 15th in Strokes Gained Putting, 7th in Par 5 scoring, and 12th in Total Strokes Gained. Jim Furyk is of course old reliable. In his last six appearances at The Memorial he has a 19th, 21st, 13th, MC, 10th, and 2nd. About what you would expect from him. His current form is actually similar recording a MC at Wells Fargo, T56 at The Players, semifinal in WGC Match Play, and a win at RBC Heritage. We like Furyk’s chances this week. Although a popular selection will be Tiger Woods this week we are going to avoid him. Yes he did have a T17 at The Masters, but then he reverted back to his crappy play of the past year with a T69 at The Players. People just need to face the facts that this is a different Tiger Woods than we remember from the glory days. He might occasionally put up a Top 10 here and there (maybe), but dominate he never will. Also, don’t sleep on Jason Dufner. He has put together a few decent performances lately with a T8 last week at the Byron Nelson, T43 at Crowne Plaza, and T37 at RBC Heritage. Fat Dufner had a 19th at Muirfield last year but we wouldn’t be surprised if Skinny Dufner could match that performance this year.

Our Picks: Haas, Koepka, Furyk, Martin, Stricker

Sleeper picks: Dufner

 

B-List:

The favorites:
Jordan Spieth
Dustin Johnson
Justin Rose
Jason Day
Matt Kuchar

We are used to seeing a stacked B-List, but this week is juicy. We realize that we have recommended Spieth a lot so this would be a good week to not select him because there are so many other great options. One of those great options is Dustin Johnson. If not for a horrific quadruple bogey, Johnson could have been hoisting the hardware last week at the Byron Nelson. His ball striking was amazing as always and like we usually say, when he can put just average, he can win any event he plays. A runner-up finish at the Northern Trust, T4 at AT&T Pebble Beach, T6 at Valero, T6, at The Masters, and a win at The WGC Cadilllac are his highlights so far this season. He is the longest of long ball hitters, ranking 1st in driving distance, and ranks 9th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 5th in Par 5 scoring and 9th in Total Strokes Gained. As we mentioned his only downfall has been putting, where he ranks 147th in Strokes Gained Putting. At The Memorial he has had mixed results placing 46th last year, missing the cut in 2013, 19th in 2012, 4th in 2011, 33rd in 2010, and 14th in 2009. We think he is going to continue with his excellent play and score on the par 5s where he will often be there in two shots and deliver a Top 5 finish. Hideki Matsuyama has been playing really well and really consistent golf this season with seven straight Top 25s including a T17 at The Players, T5 at The Masters and T4 at The Northern Trust. His last appearance resulted in a T20 at Wells Fargo. Statistically he is doing a lot of things well ranking 34th in driving distance, 11th in Par 5 scoring, 1st in Total eagles, 49th in driving accuracy, 9th in greens in regulation, 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 6th in Total Strokes Gained. The only deficiency in Matsuyama’s game has been putting, where he ranks 131st. Matt Kuchar obviously has an outstanding tournament history with a 15th, win, 2nd, 8th, 5th, and 10th. Yes you read that right. That history would obviously be a good reason to select him, but his current form has us worried. A T39 last week at the Byron Nelson, MC at The Players, T34 at WGC Match Play, T46 at The Masters, and 70th at Shell have us concerned. His only good performance was at RBC Heritage where he always plays well and he had a 5th. We are going to lay off him this week and see if he shows better play before we pick him again. We are not sure what to think of Jason Day. He withdrew from the Byron Nelson last week sighting dizziness, which we think is probably b.s. and he just did not want to deal with the crappy weather. At any rate, he has not been playing well lately anyway so why take a chance. Plenty of other options. If you are in the mood for a sleeper on this list, look no further than Daniel Berger. Berger is an explosive player who has the ability to make a bid to win any tournament he enters. Berger has shown this ability early in his rookie season with a runner up finish in the Honda Classic, T10 at Waste Management, and T6 at Zurich. Last week Berger surged Friday-Sunday all the way up to T10. If it were not for a brutal first round 72, he might have had a chance to win the tournament. Berger does have the propensity to miss cuts however as he has missed 7 cuts in 20 events played this season. He has an excellent all-around game ranking 12th in driving distance, 17th in greens in regulation, 25th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, T16 in Par 5 scoring, and 34th in Total Strokes Gained. Might be worth a shot to differentiate.

Our Picks: D. Johnson, Matsuyama, Rose, Kirk, Kuchar

Sleeper picks: George Mcneill and Daniel Berger

 

C-List:

The Favorites:
Patrick Reed
Kevin Na
Keegan Bradley
Ryan Moore
Justin Thomas
Brendon Todd

This week we think the play is to go under the radar with your selections. Take a shot with a guy other than Reed or Na. Although we like Na this week, we like some others that will be owned by less people. Kevin Na has been one of the best players on the PGA Tour over the last two months including a T10 at Crowne Plaza, T6 at The Players, T12 at The Masters, T20 at Valero, T6 at Arnold Palmer, T10 Valspar, T9 WGC at Cadillac. He is not a long ball hitter like some of the guys playing this week however. Statistically, Na does not do much special, other than scrambling, as he ranks 123rd in greens in regulation, 21st in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 58th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 18th in Total Strokes Gained. Last year Na finished runner-up as he lost to Matsuyama in a playoff. Before that he missed the cut in 2012, 34th in 2009, and 66th in 2008. The guy who’s game we really like this week is Justin Thomas. His last five appearances have produced a T55 last week at The Byron Nelson, T7 at Wells Fargo, T24 at The Players, T12 at Zurich, and T11 at RBC Heritage. He is a long ball hitter as he ranks 19th in driving distance, but can sometimes be a bit inaccurate off the tee as he ranks 157th in driving accuracy. His approach game is solid and ranks 55th in greens in regulation, 32nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and 28th in Total Strokes Gained. Another important factor is that Thomas ranks 2nd in Par 5 scoring and third in Par five birdie or better average, which is key at Muirfield. We expect Thomas to improve on his T55 finish last week and get back into the Top 15 with a chance to contend. Another sneaky type play might be Shawn Stefani. He has been playing very good, consistent golf this season. He has made 14 cuts in 17 events played with an outstanding 9 Top 25s and three Top 10s. In his last two events he took T19 at Crowne Plaza and T9 at Wells Fargo. He is a long hitter ranking 30th in driving distance and also hits a lot of greens ranking 33rd in greens in regulation. Stefani ranks 54th in Strokes Gained-Tee-To-Green, 34th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 33rd in Total Strokes Gained. This will be his first appearance at The Memorial, but Matsuyama won it last year in his first appearance. Pat Perez is another good option as he has a really nice combination of current form, tournament history, and great statistical outlook. Over the last month and a half, he has been lights out recording a T5 at Crowne Plaza, T20 at Wells Fargo, T17 at The Players, T26 at RBC Heritage, T11 at Shell Houston, and T20 at Valero. His tournament history has produced a 69th last year, 8th in 2013, 25th in 2012, 30th in 2011, 19th in 2010, and 26th in 2008. Statistically he is 31st in driving accuracy, 71st in greens in regulation, 76th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 41st in Strokes Gained Putting, and 49th in Total Strokes Gained. Normally lack of consistency and missing cuts become part of the concern with Perez, but this season he has bucked that trend only missing 3 cuts in 17 events played with 7 Top 25s. This week we think Perez continues his current great run in a tournament he likes and has had success in for many years. I know we might be giving you too many names in this list, but we can’t help ourselves as this group is so intriguing. Russell Henley is the final person we will mention. He has now made 14 of 15 cuts, including seven Top 25s, and three Top 10. Last week he had a T22 at the Byron Nelson and before that he had a T24 at The Players, missed cut at RBC Heritage, 4th at Shell, T49 at Arnold Palmer, T56 at WGC Cadillac, and T44 at the Honda Classic. Statistically he looks good as he hits the ball long, but not at the expense of accuracy. Henley ranks 40th in driving distance, 73rd in driving accuracy, 85th in greens in regulation, 84th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 9th in Strokes Gained Putting, an 33rd in Total Strokes Gained. Henley has been an extremely consistent player and one we like this week at The Memorial.
Our Picks: Thomas, Stefani, Perez, Henley, Na (its not that we don’t like him, we just are looking at a few other guys that might differentiate and outproduce)

Sleeper Picks: Morgan Hoffman and Russell Knox

 

As always best of luck to you in the Yahoo contest and we hope to see you atop the standings!

-Fantasy Golf Insider

 

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 20, 2015 19:56

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