This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
WORKDAY CHARITY OPEN
Winner's Share: $1.116M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Dublin, Ohio
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
We have reached the fifth week of the PGA Tour's reboot. And there's an interesting scenario upon us. The Workday Charity Open was added to the schedule for this year only, to fill the void left by the John Deere Classic, which was canceled in late May and will return next year. The Workday Classic will be played at Muirfield Village just one week before the Memorial, which also will be played at...Muirfield Village. It's not unprecedented to see two tournaments at the same course in one season, though not in consecutive weeks. It was only last year that Pebble Beach played host to its regular Tour stop in February and then the U.S. Open in June. The playing conditions at Pebble were far different each time, because of both weather and course setup.
Over the next two weeks, the Muirfield setups will be different, and the golfers will start with things a bit easier than the traditional tough test that is the Memorial. The Golf Channel reported last month that players got a memo from the Tour saying that there will be different tee boxes this week, as well as shorter rough and slightly slower greens that will allow for different (read: easier) pin positions on the smallish bentgrass/poa annua greens. The memo said the rough will grow from 3.5 inches for the Workday event to 4 inches for the Memorial. The Stimpmeter will be 11ish this week vs. 13ish next week – a huge difference.
As for the field, this one will be an over-max 157. So, who's in and who's out? Tiger Woods is still out, as is world No. 1 Rory McIlroy. The two hottest players since the restart – Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau – are also taking a breather. That will leave us with five of the top 10 in the world rankings: Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay and, returning after taking a break out of caution, Brooks Koepka. Some players who previously tested positive for COVID-19 are back – Nick Watney, Denny McCarthy, Dylan Frittelli and Brandon Wu. Two others who pulled out of events for precautionary reasons, Graeme McDowell and Bud Cauley, are also entered. Chase Koepka, who piggy-backed out of Hartford when his brother withdrew, was graciously granted a sponsor's exemption this week. All in all, there are 14 of the top 25 in the OWGR and 23 of the top 50.
Okay, onto the course. The Jack Nicklaus design demands that the golfers use every club in the bag – or at least it used to before they started hitting it 350. One of the beauties of the course is that everything gets harder later. The holes get harder closer to the green. The back nine is harder than the front, with the five hardest holes all coming after the turn. Nos. 16, 17 and 18 don't have one of those cutesy animal nicknames, but they all were among those five hardest holes on the course, with No. 18 the hardest of them all a year ago. Isn't that just perfect? Overall, Muirfield Village was among the harder tracks on Tour last season, ranking 13th. Mind you, that was with a setup harder than we'll see this week. But that's what we have to go by.
Another interesting caveat at Muirfield is the difficult collection of par-3s. All exceed 180 yards, and three of them (Nos. 4, 12 and 16) were among the seven hardest holes on the course last year. No. 16 is usually the toughest, a 201-yarder to a narrow green alongside a large pond. Oh, that's another thing – there is water on more than half the holes, not to mention close to six dozen bunkers. The greens have undulations, but they won't be as super-fast as they will be next week. The four par-5s are all short and all gettable, and numerous recent champions have destroyed them. We'll take a close look in the Champion's Profile below.
Weather-wise, high temperatures will be around 90 every day, the wind will be light and it'll be humid, with a chance of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. So you may want to check an updated forecast closer to the lineup lock to see whether its advantageous to avoid late Friday tee times.
Key Stats to Winning at Muirfield Village
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key stats" follow in importance.
• Greens in regulation/Strokes Gained: Approach/ Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Scrambling/Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
• Putting average/Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par-5 efficiency 500-550
The Memorial winning score was either 13- or 15-under for five years running until Patrick Cantlay won at 19-under last year, two strokes better than Adam Scott. Cantlay's win also followed up Bryson DeChambeau's title in 2018, after years of mostly of 30-somethings winning. Cantlay and DeChambeau may be ushering in a new era on a different front. Traditionally, driving distance did not hold a strong correlation to winning, but both of them ranked fourth in the field in distance off the tee. But they also both brought all facets of their game: DeChambeau ranked 12th in the field in GIR, first in scrambling and sixth in SG: Putting. As for Cantlay, he was 11th in GIR, fifth in scrambling, seventh in putting. As we mentioned, the par-5s are easy, and taking advantage of those 16 holes is key to taking home the title. Cantlay was 12-under on them last year, as were runner-up Scott and solo third Martin Kaymer. DeChambeau was only 7-under on the par-5s in his playoff win, but Kyle Stanley was 11-under and Byeong Hun An was 9-under as runners-up. In 2017, Jason Dufner gained all but three strokes of his winning 13-under total on the par-5s. Two of the par-5s are around 520 yards and the other two are in the 560s. All of them are short, so we're focusing on the 500-550 efficiency category in the Key Stats. All that said, there's no one way to win at Muirfield. We've seen some big names, we've seen some surprises. You rarely can go wrong with guys possessing a strong iron game.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Patrick Cantlay - $10,600 (Winning odds at golfodds.com: 14-1)
A case can be made for Justin Thomas at $11,100 and maybe Jon Rahm at $10,900, but we're going to bypass the top two guys on the DK board and go in search of a little more value. After playing the Memorial for the first time in 2017, Cantlay finished top-5 in 2018 and then won it last year. His game is perfectly suited to contend here on a annual basis. He's ranked fourth on Tour in greens in regulation and SG: Tee-to-Green. Cantlay has played only once since the restart, but he finished for 11th at the Travelers Championship, so no concerns there.
Brooks Koepka - $10,400 (16-1)
When we last saw Koepka, he was firing darts all over Harbour Town. He looked more like Brooks Koepka than he had in close to a year. But then his caddie tested positive before the Travelers Championship, and he pulled out, even though he didn't test positive himself. He's played Muirfield only twice, lastly in 2017, when he tied for 31st.
Hideki Matsuyama - $10,000 (16-1)
Matsuyama had had a good stretch going before play was shut down in March. Then he missed the cut in his first start back at the Heritage. But his game looked on point last week in Detroit, where he tied for 21st. His track record at the Memorial is as good as almost anyone, having won in 2014, finishing fifth the following year and sixth last year.
Justin Rose - $9,700 (25-1)
Rose may be the only golfer in the field with a better Muirfield course history than Matsuyama. In the past decade, he has a win (2010), a runner-up (2015) and three other top-10s. He tied for 13th a year ago, but now he's back with his beloved TaylorMade clubs. Rose began the restart with a T3 at Colonial and a T14 at Harbour Town.
Tier 2 Values
Rickie Fowler - $9,000 (30-1)
Fowler made this decision a little easier by posting a tie for 12th last week at the Rocket Mortgage. Otherwise, the conflict would've been very good course history vs. very poor recent form. One week does not erase a long period of so-so play, so proceed with caution here. But Fowler was runner-up at The Memorial for the second time in 2017, following it up with a tie for eighth and then a tie for 14th last year.
Marc Leishman - $8,700 (40-1)
The concern with Leishman is not that he's played poorly in his two tournaments since the restart, but potentially why that's been happening. His wife is high risk at this time, and we frankly were a bit surprised to see him at Colonial the first week back. Leishman missed the cut there and then tied for 58th at the Travelers. That said, he's finished top-15 four of the past five years at The Memorial, including a tie for fifth a year ago. Leishman is ranked fourth on Tour in par-5 500-550.
Joaquin Niemann - $8,400 (50-1)
Niemann is 3-for-3 in cuts since the reboot. That's far better than the way he entered the stoppage, going 0-for-3. He had that nice run at the Heritage to finish T5, but other than that he's been an afterthought on the weekends. Niemann debuted with a tie for sixth at The Memorial two years ago and followed it up with a decent T27 last year. His short game is wanting, but he's ranked 21st in GIR and 22nd in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Adam Hadwin - $8,200 (50-1)
We said last week that Hadwin had been playing better than he was scoring, and he wound up with a top-5 at the Rocket Mortgage. Like last week, this course is not especially long, so his shortness with his driver won't be such a detriment. His accuracy is fantastic – 22nd off the tee, 10th in GIR. When you throw in a top-25-ranked putter, it's a recipe for another good week. Hadwin has not done much at The Memorial other than a T11 four years ago, but this week should putt more emphasis on putting.
Tier 3 Values
Kevin Streelman - $7,800 (80-1)
On a week when all the focus in golf was centered on the behemoth Bryson DeChambeau, a 41-year-old golfer who stands 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds quietly crept back into the top-50 in the world rankings. Streelman added a second runner-up this season at the Travelers, but he's also missed more cuts than he's made amid a crazy feast-or-famine season. The thing is, he delivers time and again at Muirfield Village, including T4 a year ago. Streelman simply knows how to play this track.
Cameron Champ - $7,700 (80-1)
The Tour said Champ tested positive; he said he tested negative. Regardless, he cashed a second straight top-15 at Detroit last week. Champ now has seven top-10s among his 10 made cuts. With DeChambeau not in the field, Champ likely will lead in driving distance. In fact, he's ranked first in SG: Off-the-Tee. When you add in a ranking of 30th in GIR, Champ should get plenty of birdie looks this week (making them could be another story).
Joel Dahmen - $7,700 (100-1)
Week after week, there's a good chance Dahmen will appear on your TV screen. He had top-25s in half of his 16 starts, and half of those were top-10s. Since the reboot, Dahmen has top-20s in two of his three starts. He's not flashy, but he's really good at getting the ball from Point A to Point B, ranking 21st in SG: Off-the-Tee and 13th in both SG: Approach and SG: T2G.
Maverick McNealy - $7,500 (100-1)
McNealy has not been in-your-face great like a bunch of the young 20-somethings on Tour. He's been more quiet-good. The 24-year-old notched his second top-10 and fifth top-25 of the season last week. McNealy is not especially strong tee to green, but he's ranked 11th in scrambling and 14th in SG: Putting heading into his Muirfield Village debut.
Richy Werenski - $6,800 (200-1)
Werenski has quietly improved every week he's played since the restart. He finished T58 at the Charles Schwab, T46 at the Travelers and then T21 last week at the Rocket Mortgage. That was his fourth top-25 in only 11 starts this season. He's kind of average off the tee and with his irons – he's ranked 89th in GIR – but he's 21st in SG: Putting. With the greens a bit easier than usual at Muirfield this week, the golfers are gonna have to make some more putts.
Matthew NeSmith - $6,800 (200-1)
NeSmith is another guy who, to us, should be scoring better based on his stats. He's top-20 in GIR, top-25 in SG: Approach, top-60 in SG: Putting and, impressively, top-50 in SG: Total. NeSmith has five top-25s, yet only one top-10. He's made 2-of-3 cuts since the restart.
Adam Long - $6,600 (200-1)
Long has been a favorite long shot of ours for much of the season. He misses some cuts – six, in fact – but in the 12 times he has reached the weekend he's landed eight top-25s. We're not sure how that adds up to $6,600. Long did miss the cut in his first two events after the stoppage, but he followed that up with a tie for 24th at the Travelers event. He's ranked 32nd in SG: Approach and top-70 in both SG: Putting and SG: T2G.
Brandon Wu - $6,500 (200-1)
Wu is on the Korn Ferry Tour, but he has made four starts on the PGA Tour this season and hasn't missed a cut. Wu tested positive for COVID-19 last week and had to bow out of the KF event in Colorado – don't ask us how he's back so soon – but he's here on a sponsor's invite. This will be his first start anywhere since Pebble Beach back in February, but at this price, we'll happily take a flyer on him.