Dublin, Ohio is the next stop for the PGA TOUR as we continue on for the third straight week of challenging conditions, where bogey avoidance prevails over pure birdie-making ability. The 2022 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village tees off this Thursday. Below we’ll look at Memorial picks and dig in deep as we look for sleepers.
Jack’s Place has produced scintillating drama over its 40+ year history hosting the Memorial, and while we’ve seen outliers like David Lingmerth, William McGirt, and Jason Dufner pick up victories against this strong, limited invitational field, history has shown us that this is an event where the cream will rise to the top. That’s not a great sign when it comes to identifying longshots for the betting card, but it does make it paramount to land on the correct salary savers in DFS in order to fit in multiple elite contenders.
Without any further delay, let’s get to our Memorial picks with a look at longshots and sleepers for your DFS lineups and betting cards using odds from DraftKings among other online sportsbooks.
MEMORIAL PICKS | DFS VALUE PLAYS & BETTING LONGSHOTS FOR MUIRFIELD VILLAGE
After seeing four rounds play out post-renovation in 2021, it would seem – in broad strokes – that the same profile of player is going to continue to consistently rise to the top here. Muirfield Village is fairly generous off the tee with above-average fairways in width, but its tight, firm, and fast greens will put a premium on approach and short game, similar to what we’ve typically seen across Major venues. Course History has proven to be sticky at Jack’s Place, so from a value perspective, I’m looking to buy low on players who may enter in inconsistent form, but have shown proven results in this event historically.
From a golf betting perspective, I’m going all in on a tight card with Jon Rahm at the helm, as his last seven rounds at Muirfield Village are the most dominant seven rounds we’ve seen at the same course in successive years over the past decade. Before the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, there was a similar atmosphere in the air during tournament week with Rahm walking into a comfort course in good form – meaning trouble for the rest of the field. Rahm has no Player of the Year aspirations in 2022, so he may not seem as imposing this time around, but it’s hard to look at his game and not get excited about his prospects at Muirfield Village each year. With that in mind, a Rahm betting card does still leave room for a couple of longshots below to squeeze in.
In terms of DFS, we tend to see more appealing options in the low-$6K range when it comes to these limited 120-man field invitationals. That, and the higher expected 6/6 percentage in DFS lineups has me leaning towards a more stars & scrubs lineup construction, if we can count on the names below to free up some salary relief.
Below is a look at my favorite value leverage plays and longshots for the 2022 Memorial Tournament!
*Betting odds & DFS pricing from DraftKings are subject to change after writing. Stats pulled across Last 36 Rounds unless otherwise noted.
Si Woo Kim (+10000, $7,600)
Si Woo Kim continues to build on one of the most consistent seasons of his career, having gained strokes tee to green in 11 of his last 12 starts going back to the Sony Open in January. He ranks a solid 25th in this field in SG: T2G entering this week, which is a crucial baseline for a $7K player entering one of the more demanding tee to green tests on the regular TOUR schedule. He also ranks top-25 in the key stats of Comp Course History, SG: OTT, SG: ARG, and Par-5 Scoring, good enough for 24th overall in my model this week.
Looking at the results at Muirfield Village thus far in his career, that profile has seemed to check out, as Kim has never missed the cut in five career appearances at the Memorial. He’s continued to improve here year over year, with a T18 finish in 2020, followed by a T9 last year. While the putter’s gone cold over the last month, it’s encouraging to see he’s found repeated success on these greens, gaining at least 1.8 strokes putting in each of his last appearances at the Memorial. With the tee to green game continuing to look steady, Si Woo is poised for a high finish this week if his Memorial putting trend continues. I’ve already got him locked in on my betting card.
Ryan Palmer (+12500, $6,900)
Ryan Palmer continues to thrive on longer, more forgiving courses off the tee that allow slight misses to still catch the fairway while capitalizing on his distance advantage (no. 39 in Driving Distance). Two of Palmer’s best finishes in 2022 have come at the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Byron Nelson, which each allow longer hitters to swing more freely off the tee, and not have to worry as much about positional layups. Looking more long term, we’ve seen Palmer’s best results come on courses like Kapalua and PGA National, which also share the same characteristics.
For a $6.9K player, Palmer’s game is trending very well, having gained strokes off the tee and on approach in three consecutive events, including a T5 at the AT&T Byron Nelson over that span. He’ll be making his second career appearance at the Memorial this week, but his debut was an impressive one, finishing runner up to Jon Rahm in 2020, and gaining over 10 strokes on approach in the process. Palmer enters in better approach form this time around in 2022, so if ownership stays down, he’s got a high ceiling to shoot for compared to other options surrounding him in this pricing range.
Brendan Steele (+15000, $6,600)
It’s hard to ever have conviction in Brendan Steele outside of the Fortinet Championship or Sony Open, but he’s definitely turned some heads and caught the golf community’s attention after gaining 7.4 strokes on approach at the PGA Championship (no. 4 in the field), en route to a T9 finish. Steele’s game was already trending up prior to the PGA Championship, as he’d finished top-50 in each of his four prior starts, and has now gained strokes off the tee in nine consecutive events since the Sony Open. While you could describe Muirfield Village as a glorified second shot course, I still see plenty of value in driving consistency, as players who can avoid this thick rough are going to set themselves up for the most birdie opportunities.
The stats have backed up the results as well recently, as Steele surprisingly finds himself inside the top-10 of this loaded field in terms of SG: T2G and SG: OTT. He also complements those skillsets by ranking inside the top-50 in SG: APP, SG: ARG, Driving Distance, Par 4: 450-500, and Comp Course History, which is good enough for 29th overall in my model this week.
Steele also has plenty of experience around Muirfield Village, as he’ll be making his eleventh career start this week. Over that span, he’s only missed the cut twice, and currently rides a streak of six consecutive made cuts, with two T20s over that span. The combination of recent form, course fit, and course history at a short price isn’t going to catch anyone by surprise from an ownership standpoint, but he makes for a great T20 value from a betting perspective.
Erik van Rooyen (+15000, $6,600)
When the going gets tough, that’s when Erik van Rooyen has historically been at his best, as he’s averaged over 3x more strokes gained in Difficult Conditions over the course of his career when compared to easy or average conditions. Beyond his breakthrough first career win at the 2021 Barracuda Championship, his four best career finishes have come at a WGC, PGA Championship, and back-to-back FedEx Cup Playoff events last year.
Van Rooyen is one of only three players in the field this week to rate out top-50 in terms of SG: APP, SG: OTT, SG: ARG (Difficult, Long Rough Conditions), and SG: P (Bent). With that profile, it’s no surprise he’s been able to hold his own across difficult courses which challenge you from tee to green.
We have just one year of data to go off of with EVR at the Memorial, but it was very solid debut in 2020, finishing T22, and gaining 8.8 strokes T2G in the process. He continues to look volatile with the putter, but at this price and low projected ownership, EVR is an appealing GPP leverage play on DraftKings.
Ryan Moore (+50000, $6,200)
I’m still speculating as to what Ryan Moore’s been up to in the last three months since we saw him at the WMPO. He’s rumored to be dealing with a lingering back injury, but is also down to his last major medical exception, so if it’s the Memorial he’s decided to use it on, and we believe he’s in full health, then we should feel as optimistic as Moore does about his chances this week.
Moore is not a long hitter, but specializes in Driving Accuracy and Approach. Over the last 50 rounds, Moore ranks No. 44 in SG: APP and no. 4 in Driving Accuracy. Avoiding the rough with both driver and iron precision is a safe strategy at Muirfield Village, and easier said than done, but Moore has repeatedly gone to that formula with success at the Memorial. He’s played this event 15 times since 2006 and over that span has picked up six T10s, including a runner-up finish to KJ Choi all the way back in 2007.
You can find some gaudy numbers on Ryan Moore in the placement betting market this week, and if we’re to believe he’s healthy and has held out for the Memorial as his best opportunity to post a high finish and retain TOUR exemption status, then he seems worth a look on the basis of course history alone.