EDITOR’S NOTE: Justin Rose and Ian Poulter have withdrawn. Jason Gore and Mark Hubbard draw in.
D&D RECAP and MEMORIAL COURSE NOTES
To recap the Dean&DeLuca picks from last week, six of the 18 golfers listed as plays missed the cut for a 67% success rate. As expected the cut was above par, finishing at +1 with a late push away from +2. 6/6 got through in 30% of cash lineups and 15% of GPP lineups. The top performing golfer recommended was Patrick Reed with a disappointing T15, and with Jordan Spieth being the 2015 version of Jordan Spieth and making some outrageous putts and chips on the back 9 on Sunday, he walked away the Dean & DeLuca champion.
Just as a note, the weather factor was being stressed here as having a big impact to kick off the week, and sure enough on Thursday morning when the wind hadn`t kicked up as much, scores averaged 69.82. In the afternoon when the wind hit up to 22mph, scores jumped to an average of 71.43.
A NOTE ON PUTTING:
Over the last three weeks, the biggest blind-spot in the projections has been putting – see Luke List, Adam Scott, etc. Even on courses where Strokes Gained: Putting plays a large role, putting has been generally weighted lower in final rankings because of the randomness of it – the elite putters will generally always be elite putters, and bad putters bad, but the middling players can get hot or cold at the drop of a ball marker. It’s the least repeatable variable, so diminishing its importance in the projection model seemed to make sense.
That being said, based on the results so far this season, the projections for Memorial have been adjusted slightly to account for SG:P at a higher level than normal – keep that in mind while looking at them this week.
Also included in this week’s projection update: the projected DK points! Was a mistake leaving them off last week, apologies.
Looking ahead at Memorial, here are some notes to get you get started on your research for the week.
Memorial at Muirfield is a 7392 yard par-72. There are four par-3s between 184 and 201 yards, and four par 5s – gaining strokes on the par 5s will be important, as there aren’t a lot of birdie holes at the course the Golden Bear built. The fairways are fairly wide open save for a handful of holes, but creeks and bunkers abound, and the rough will be rather thick with fine fescue. Bentgrass on the fairways and Bentgrass on the greens.
Much like last week the field is again a smaller one due to it being an Invitational, just 120 people. Also like last week at Colonial, because of all the traps on the course, accuracy will be paramount off the tee. The greens are sloped and fast, they play a little tougher than average, so strokes gained putting compared to the field will be important. Memorial is the 6th hardest course on tour, with an average cut line of 2.52. Compare this to Colonial from last week which is the 8th hardest course, and you’ll see Memorial’s cut line is a full 1.21 average strokes tougher.
Last year’s winner is David Lingmerth who won in a 3-hole playoff over Justin Rose, and he shot 15 under to take it all home. Lingmerth is a good prototype of the golfer you’ll want in lineups this weekend: he’s middling to short off the tee but accurate and good at making GIR, and decent at par-5 scoring & bogey avoidance. Combine that with a hot putter, and you’ve found the 2016 winner.
Weather was a big factor to kick off Colonial, but luckily that won`t be of any importance this week (if you believe forecasts this far out). Winds maxing out at 7mph, possibility of thunderstorms, but nothing to affect play beyond the possibility of some weather delays.
The field this week will be smaller, but the best field since the Masters – all the big names are playing here as the summer schedule really starts to kick off with the US Open only two weeks away. Seven of the top 10 World ranked golfers are playing, which will make roster construction tough. Memorial sets up well to see a lot of stars & scrubs lineups, because the field is so competitive up top and there will only be a maximum of 50 golfers missing the cut, taking shots at the cheap end to get 6/6 will be a popular strategy.
Look for Memorial picks & write-ups later this week, check out the PGA projections with a membership, and PGA members can join me for a live chat every Wednesday evening. Seriously, keep me company and talk golf. Follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey