Fantasy Insider: Memorial TournamentMay 28, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM fantasy columnist
There's a common misunderstanding about my Power Rankings. Just because a guy didn't crack that feature (or this one for that matter) doesn't mean that I don't endorse him or find relative value in a fantasy format. The Power Rankings go 15 or 20 deep for most events. The cutoff isn't arbitrary. It's designed to give you a foundation from which to build, not to mention expect on a weekly basis.
In deeper fields like the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance and in the heart of the season, gamers needing to gain ground will find their relative value in guys that were omitted from the Power Rankings but appear below in some capacity, even in "Not So Fast." Toss in Dustin Johnson, who is returning from a back injury, and you're more than equipped to make a run at front-runners that may be leaning on the chalk in the Power Rankings.
Worst case, if you're stuck or confused, I'm always available via email and Twitter. Write anytime.
Look for my choices for PGATOUR.COM's fantasy game in Expert Picks. My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in the TOUR Report on Wednesday.
On a Roll
Zach Johnson ... Admitted on CBS last week that his form was off early in the year, thus confirming that we don't need to read into it any further. In his last two starts, however, he finished T19 at THE PLAYERS and solo third at Colonial, signing for seven scores under par following those eight rounds. Ranked T5 in greens hit in Fort Worth. Co-runner-up at the 2006 Memorial. In seven appearances, the only time he didn't make the cut was in 2007 when he withdrew during his opening round due to strep throat.
Charley Hoffman ... Doesn't possess the most sparkling record at Muirfield Village -- 5-for-6 with zero top 40s -- but you cannot deny his recent form. In his last six starts, he's logged three top 10s and a T18 at Colonial. He's also scored under par in 21 of his last 26 rounds. His game is sound throughout his bag, too, as he's fifth on TOUR in the all-around.
Scott Stallings ... Ended a four-month drought without a top 25 with a share of fourth at Colonial where he placed eighth in ball-striking and fourth in proximity to the hole. Held the outright lead after 18 holes of last year's Memorial en route to a T25. Finished T20 in his debut in 2011.
Charles Howell III ... Sits 11th in FedExCup points thanks to five top 10s and another three top 25s. Only Keegan Bradley (ninth) ranks higher among non-winners. Howell tied for 17th in his last start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Shared 22nd place in his last visit to Muirfield Village in 2011. Currently 49th on TOUR in greens hit, 17th in strokes gained-putting, 18th in adjusted scoring, fourth in scrambling and T4 in par-4 scoring.
Brendon de Jonge ... Picked off his eighth top 25 of the season with a T22 at Colonial. Ranks 17th in greens hit, 23rd in adjusted scoring, 26th in scrambling and inside the top 25 in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring. Fourth start at the Memorial where he's yet to miss a cut.
Marc Leishman ... Finally cooled at Colonial where he closed 72-73 to finish T46. The Aussie had put together three top 10s and a T12 since the Masters. He's 3-for-4 at Muirfield Village but hasn't placed inside the top 55. Ranks 30th in adjusted scoring.
David Lingmerth ... Didn't let the close call at TPC Sawgrass deter his progress. Tied for 18th at Colonial last week where he submitted bogey-free scores of 64 and 65 in the second and final rounds, respectively. His propensity to split fairways (24th on TOUR) won't matter much this week, but he's T18 in proximity to the hole and 25th in scrambling.
Jordan Spieth ... His T7 at Colonial is his fourth top 10 in 11 starts this year. If he were a member of the PGA TOUR, he'd rank 57th in FedExCup points. Currently 20th in adjusted scoring and T9 in par-4 scoring average. While he's a shoe-in to earn his 2013-14 TOUR card, after the Memorial, he'll be two starts away from officially qualifying as a rookie this season.
Horses for Courses
Bo Van Pelt ... While he finally picked off his first top 10 of the season at Quail Hollow in early May, he's failed to back it up with another top 30. The last golfer cut from this week's Power Rankings has finished T13 in the last two editions of the Memorial. Those were preceded by a T3 in 2010.
Stewart Cink ... He's fully exempt through 2013-14, but he's been playing as if this is a "contract year" as I like to say. Two top 10s and another three top 25s this season; sits 72nd in FedExCup points. He's missed his last two cuts, but has survived the cut at Muirfield Village in every edition since 1998. It's a run that included six top 10s. Tied for 25th last year.
Martin Laird ... While he's just 1-for-2 with a T60 in 2010 at this tournament, his skillset lands him here. Ranks inside the top 60 on TOUR in both distance off the tee and greens in regulation. And while cynics would label that as a weak endorsement at best, he's a recent winner at TPC San Antonio and tied for fifth at TPC Sawgrass, so he cannot be ruled out on form. He tied for 54th at Colonial, but went 59-for-61 from seven feet and in.
Jonathan Byrd ... He didn't do himself any favors returning to competition during a stretch that annually features some of the most difficult tracks on the schedule. He's just 2-for-7 this year, but he's posted top 10s in his last two starts (and three of his last four) at Muirfield Village.
Not So Fast
Bubba Watson ... A rare inclusion here, but he's yet to post a top 20 in seven appearances at Muirfield Village. As horses-for-courses go, he isn't one, but this makes him all the more dangerous if you need to roll the dice since he's been a top-25 machine for a couple of years now.
Bill Haas ... Since closing out a T24 at Harbour Town with a 5-over 76, he's missed two straight cuts. Best finish among five cuts made in seven appearances at the Memorial is a T30 in 2008.
Nick Watney ... A two-month climb back into regular contention came to a halt with a missed cut at THE PLAYERS. That wouldn't normally be enough to fade him, but he's also missed the cut in his last two trips to Muirfield Village (2010, 2012).
Hunter Mahan ... A relative fade given recent form. He's turned it around a bit but hasn't broken par in a final round since the Northern Trust Open. Top 20s in three of his last four trips to Muirfield Village, however.
John Senden ... As compared to 2012, he's shorter and less accurate both off the tee and with his irons. The results support it. Still hasn't recorded better than a T20 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship this season.
Aaron Baddeley ... With a pair of T9s at Muirfield Village, including last year, course history buffs may be quick to the trigger. However, he arrives having missed three straight cuts and ranks 181st in greens in regulation.
Brendan Steele ... Riding an 0-for-3 skid and hasn't posted a top 30 in his last 10 starts. He's survived the cut in both starts at the Memorial but hasn't cracked a top 50.
Johnson Wagner ... Something will give this week. Since a T18 at the RBC Heritage, he's missed four straight cuts, but he's 4-for-4 at Muirfield Village. His best finish is a T30 in 2008.
Nicholas Thompson ... He's missed the cut in each of the last five tournaments and hasn't broken par in his second round in 10 consecutive starts. He's also gone 11 straight without a top-45 finish.
Back in the Saddle
Dustin Johnson ... An injury in his lower back has prevented him from competing since it knocked him out of THE PLAYERS before his second round. He had strung together three top 15s prior to that. The kneejerk approach is to sidestep him, but he's 5-for-5 with three top 20s at Muirfield Village. He sets up as a potential catalyst for PGATOUR.COM gamers in need of a spark.
Pat Perez ... Had to walk off Colonial during his opening round due to injury. Later in the day, he wrote the following on Twitter: "Strained nerve under collarbone. Could be a while. Damn." As of midday Tuesday, he hadn't provided an update.