FANTASY GOLF THE MEMORIAL (TOP 20)
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
Golf is all about hunting rare birds and this week is maybe the rarest event in all of golf – the back to back weeks of tournament stroke play golf at the same goat track. And it’s not just any course – it’s the Memorial at Muirfiled Village in Ohio. Last week was an appetizer for this week’s event – and even though the course might be set up a little more difficult, the play will also be a little better this week with a much better field overall and a seasoned group of players (most of whom played last week).
I won’t go into the course too much but it’s safe to say that golf is officially back. Tiger returns this week along with many other big names. The rising stars, it seems, have truly taken advantage of the restart in these interesting times. Meanwhile, Daniel Berger quietly returns after a scorching start to his season. As does Bryson Dechambeau, who looks like he ate his former self. Both look unstoppable – and that’s with young confidence right behind them in guys like Morikawa and Thomas who dueled it out here last week.
1. Xander Schauffele –
finished at -10 last week, very quietly T14. That’s a good finishing score here for four rounds. A few more made putts for X will win the Memo. When I think of solid ball strikers who play well on courses where you need to stay below the hole, Xander really comes first to my mind first. If you remember, he started the season with a 3 putt playoff loss. It’s time for redemption.
2. Bryson Dechambeau –
It’s silly not to roster Bryson. I mean, he’s playing absurdly well.
3. Brendon Todd –
This is a player that’s having what could be the best season of his career. When it comes to the approach game, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a top selection on that alone.
4. Collin Morikawa –
Stay with the kid. He’s one of the best iron players out there and his game is pretty sharp. I don’t doubt that he could back to back out there. He’s a strategist and if the greens get quicker, it’ll be harder to make putts. That gives him an edge to make it happen.
5. Tiger Woods –
How will Tiger Woods play with no fans? I don’t think it makes any difference. The only time I really underestimated Tiger in the last year was at the Zozo championship in Japan. I thought the quirky layout and atmosphere might not suit him. Uh, this dude is not like the others. He won. He tends to win here.
6. Abraham Ancer –
This is the type of event where guys can break through. The course is filled with unique little tests, but mostly it encourages the best iron players to keep flagging it and occasionally make some sand saves, maybe make a quick downhill putt. Ancer’s got nerves of steel.
7. Viktor Hovland –
Strong showing here last week to the point that I am almost even more impressed with him in general. I think its really hard to make the argument that Hovland could possibly miss the cut. If he doesn’t, he has a chance to contend. He seems comfortable enough on the greens.
8. Hideki Matsuyama –
Just like last week. Pick Hideki out here, this course suits him and he’s won here.
9. J.T. Poston –
I dont think anyone is more quietly ranked 63rd in the world than J.T. Poston. His only previous Memorial he shot 72-73-71-73. I like the steady numbers. In tougher conditions, I like his chances. Another younger guy due to make his mark.
10. Graeme McDowell –
Maybe my favorite sleeper of the week. Coming off a made cut last week where he played solid and finished at -5 and around 30th, this is an event G-Mac has not made a part of his usual schedule. Make no mistake, this is a world class player who can roll the rock on fast greens. I’m going to roster a bunch of G-Mac here.
11. Charley Hoffman-
Again, just like last week… the course is just a familiar walk in the park. Has a lot of great finishes here. Plays well with the irons. Doesn’t always drive it perfect. This is a Hoffman joint.
12. Rory Mcilroy –
I get the impression that Rors is hot or cold over the past year or so – maybe longer. The issue with him is the putter, typically – and shorter wedge shots. I don’t see him having issues tee to green. In fact, I’d think he’d eat it up. On the greens, however… meh.
13. Matt Kuchar –
Very underrated player but what a great pick… Kuchar has a few very high finishes here in 2 of his last 3 starts. He made the cut last week – and his game is quietly coming back up to the podium.
14. Matt Fitzpatrick –
Coming off quite a strong showing here last week. I think Fitz will not be on anyone’s radar. Again, a guy who plays well on classic layouts like this.
15. Henrik Norlander –
Strong and trending. Easy to overlook but harder to ignore. His play has materialized and made him a fantasy must-consider. I’ll take my chances.
16. Justin Thomas –
he’s coming off a playoff loss and you know he’ll be feisty. Thomas can be hit or miss from week to week. He will either win or miss cuts. I think the key is getting through those first 36 holes and this is a course where he really shouldn’t have a problem.
17. David Lingmerth –
this is a great back pocket selection. Lingmerth has never missed the cut here. He made the cut last week in Texas on the KF. He won here in 2015. He’s been off the grid a bit and inconsistent. This is a home away from home for a journeyman like David and he needs a good check.
18. Rickie Fowler –
A solid performance here last week. Should see the same type of stuff again. I’m sure he would love to have Jack Nicklaus’ trophy at home.
19. Tony Finau –
Good course for Tony. He tends to do well when the greens get quite fast. I think his length off the tee will be a big factor in his performance here. He’s been admittedly struggling. This course will give him some relief versus the field.
20. Jazz Janewattanond –
A guy who is rising in his game and status on a course that plays into his strengths. The dude is quite a personality but we’ve seen him really excite on courses like this and even in a major. Why not?
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