This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club (7,456 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,674,000 and 500 FedExCup points
After a one-off event last week at Muirfield Village to replace the John Deere Classic, the game's best return to the Jack Nicklaus-designed course to do battle all over again. This week will be an invitational event, meaning the winner of the 132-man field receives a three-year Tour exemption. Five-time winner Tiger Woods, who last played the Genesis Invitational back in February, will be making his long-awaited return to competition. Joining him will be nine of the top 10 players in the OWGR. While the course will be the same, the conditions will not be. The greens will be speed up and the rough should be higher this week. Storms are expected throughout the event, so a delay or two would not be surprising.
2019 – Patrick Cantlay
2018 – Bryson DeChambeau
2017 – Jason Dufner
2016 – William McGirt
2015 – David Lingmerth
2014 – Hideki Matsuyama
2013 – Matt Kuchar
2012 – Tiger Woods
2011 – Steve Stricker
2010 – Justin Rose
Key Stats to Victory
As I mentioned last week, Muirfield Village is one of the best second-shot courses on Tour. Your job off the tee is avoiding trouble that can lead to big numbers. There are plenty bunkers some of the big hitters can fly, but the thick rough should mitigate bomb-and-gauge for the most part. Hitting yardage numbers coming into the greens will be even more important this week with speeds on the Stimpmeter expected to exceed 13. Adding to the approach play importance is the fact that Muirfield Village had the lowest scrambling percentage of any course on Tour last season. The rough length around the greens will actually take away some of the advantage that the best short-game players have. The top three finishers last week – Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland – were the three best players in SG: Tee-to-Green, if that tells you anything about what you should be looking for at the Memorial.
FanDuel Value Picks
Rory McIlroy ($11,800)
The World No. 1 is my No. 1 this week. While he didn't get a look at the course last week, McIlroy certainly knows how to play Muirfield Village. In eight career starts, McIlroy owns four top-10s and five top-15 finishes here. As I just got done mentioning, SG: Tee-to-Green is going to be the top stat to consider this week. I'll give you one guess at who's sitting No. 1 in that department this season. McIlroy has had five top-5 finishes worldwide since his last victory in China back in November, so you know he's hungry to get back in the win column.
Collin Morikawa ($11,300)
If you take out the minimum division of 40 events in the OWGR calculations, Morikawa's average points are 7.94, which would put him second behind only Rory McIlroy's 8.75. That's pretty astonishing stuff from a player who – at least statistically – has had as much success through his first 25 professional events as Tiger Woods. His come-from-behind win last week at Muirfield Village, which included nailing a must-make 25-footer on the first playoff hole, will give him an abundance as he proved he can go toe-to-toe with arguably the best player in the world over the last five years in Justin Thomas. Thicker rough and faster greens this week will only add to Morikawa's advantage in the ball-striking department.
Webb Simpson ($11,100)
The fact that there are seven players listed above Simpson this week makes this a pretty easy pick. You rarely see the Wake Forest product ever out of position on a hole, something that is critical at Muirfield Village. Simpson ranks fifth in SG: Approach, 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 20th in driving accuracy and ninth in GIR percentage. On top of all that amazing ball striking, he is also 16th in SG: Putting and ninth in scrambling percentage. This is not statistically Simpson's best course, but this is the best season of his career, so the latter should hold more weight. The 34-year-old does have a pair of top-11 finishes in his last five starts in Dublin, Ohio.
Daniel Berger ($10,200)
Even in a stacked field, just over $10K is a steal for Berger. The Florida State product has a win and a T3 in two starts since the resumption of tournament play. Dating back before the hiatus he has five straight top-10 finishes and just one round higher than 70 in his last 32. Berger ranks top-40 this season in every strokes gained category and is also top-10 in birdie average, scoring average, scrambling and one-putt percentage. His career resurrection has been a sight to behold.
Longer Shots with Value
Abraham Ancer ($9,900)
Ancer has looked excellent since the restart, posting top-15 finishes in all three of his appearances. That includes a runner-up at the RBC Heritage where he had one of the best showings with his irons in recent memory, gaining over 11 strokes approaching the green and hitting 65-of-72 greens in regulation for the week. Ancer ranks top-15 this season in SG: Tee-to-Green, scrambling and scoring average. He's been close so many times that you have to think that first PGA Tour win is coming soon.
Sungjae Im ($9,500)
This is a buy-low pick for me. I can't remember the last time I saw Im down this far, but he's due for a good week soon. The 22-year-old phenom was the hottest player in the world before the shutdown, scoring his first PGA Tour win at the Honda Classic and backing it up with a solo third at Bay Hill. He posted a solid top-10 the first week back at Colonial, but has not had the results since. Im's 63rd-place showing at Muirfield Village last week is not indicative of how well he played due to a final-round 77. Im still ranks top-25 on Tour in SG: Total, birdie average, and scoring average.
Corey Conners ($9,000)
This guy just hits the ball so well. He ranks 15th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 14th in SG: Approach and second in GIR percentage this season. Conners finished T39 last week at Muirfield Village despite a third-round 74, but he was T6 in GIR. The one concern with Conners is the short game, but with rough grown up around the greens this week that should reduce the gap between good and poor short game players. He already has eight top-25's this season, which is more than he has had in any other season.
Lucas Glover ($8,700)
Glover had the best season of his career in 2019 but was unable to carry that into this year. When the tournaments were suspended, the 2009 U.S. Open Champion had just one top-25 finish in 12 starts. Since the restart, however, Glover has top-25s in all four of his starts. The ball striking has been the biggest improvement. Glover ranked inside the top seven in SG: Approach three of those four weeks. His last time out in Detroit was his most impressive showing, as he ranked fourth in SG: Off-the-Tee, T2 in driving accuracy, T3 in GIR and seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green. Glover has made six straight cuts at the Memorial.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
This week's event feels almost like a major. Whether that be the stacked field, Tiger returning, or this being a world class golf course, the juice is certainly there. There are a lot of good options you can find for $500+ cheaper than you could last week at the same course. That should allow you to build a much deeper lineup, although it is a much stronger field the players will have to contend with. The talk of the Tour these days is the transformation made by Bryson DeChambeau, and while he comes into the week as the favorite, I will be looking at other options. The rough is expected to be unlike anything else the players have seen since the restart and his approach play was quite dismal last time out in Detroit despite picking his victory. You will not be able to get away with poor iron play at Muirfield Village. In all honesty, your best bet this week is just going to be to load up on ball strikers and take your chances. Players that rely more on short game and putting to get the ball in the hole will be at more of a disadvantage with the expected setup and conditions.