Each week, “Chalk…or not?” looks at exclusive Tour Level Data and past trends to create a model that projects DraftKings ownership. The golfers with our highest projected ownership percentages and some other potentially low-owned golfers are then analyzed for you to give you a true ownership edge on the competition.
As always, get your week started correctly by reading the most comprehensive course breakdown in the industry: The First Cut by James Miles. Plus, Tour Level’s two unique cheat sheets for your statistical needs: Check out The Pin Sheet and The Form Generator. If it’s cash you want, it’s cash you’ll get with Scott McAfee (who had a huge week last week) in our Making The Cut piece. Jason Rouslin gives you some high level game theory in Against The Grain for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
An amazing field that includes seven of the top-10 ranked golfers in the world tee it up at Jack’s Place for the Memorial this week. With so many studs in the field and very strange DK pricing of some golfers below $7,000, ownership should be pretty wild this week.
Jordan Spieth ($11,000, 12.8 percent projected ownership): Spieth seemed to get some of his slightly annoying swag back with his T2 finish last week at the DEAN and DELUCA Invitational. Per our Form Generator, Spieth ranked 26th and 25th last week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Putting so he’s trending in the right direction. Spieth has two top-20 finishes here at the Memorial the past three years including a third-place finish in 2015, and you can likely roster him at well below 15 percent ownership this week.
Adam Scott ($9,800, 13.7 percent ownership): Scott is No. 10 in the world, he’s priced below $10,000, and he’s likely to be owned at less than 15 percent. Sign me up. Scott hasn’t played at the Memorial in two years but the last time he was here, he finished fourth. Scott has played somewhat sparingly this season but he does have two top-10 finishes in his last three tournaments.
Dustin Johnson ($12,000, 25.2 percent projected ownership): DJ deserves the 20-plus percent ownership he commands every week and he’s played well in this event recently with 13th- and third-place finishes at the Memorial in the last two years. He ranks first in the field with his 24.0 Recent Form rating in the Pin Sheet. If you think DJ is going to win this tournament — and he clearly could — then you should roster him. But as the most expensive golfer in the field with the highest projected ownership, you could create a unique tournament roster by choosing to go Against The Grain.
Jon Rahm ($11,100, 25.0 percent ownership): Oh, he’ll be chalk all right and for good reason: RahmGOAT is a mother-freaking stud. He seemingly scores 90 DK points every week so I’m all for playing him regardless of how chalky he is but you if you’re looking to get an ownership edge in GPPs, this isn’t the dude to get it with. Similarly to DJ, if you think hes going to win the tournament, play him… if not, consider others.
Tony Finau ($7,900, 23.5 percent ownership): Finau’s 39.8 Course History rating ranks him 13th on the Pin Sheet: He’s finished eighth and 11th in two trips here. FInau ranks fourth overall in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee year to date (YTD) and according to our Form Generator, his recent four-week average has been even better. The DFS community loves them some Finau and he will be very highly owned this week. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record: With DK’s goofy pricing this week, there are countless ways to fade the chalk in tournaments at the Memorial.
Byeong-Hun An ($6,900, 17.0 percent ownership): All An does is make cuts and he finished T11 here at the Memorial last year. His 26.78 Recent Form rating ranks him second overall in our Pin Sheet. With the highest projected ownership of golfers priced below $7,000, there are some potentially lower-owned players like Pat Perez or Brendan Steele you could pivot to in GPPs.
Kevin Tway ($6,500, 15.5 percent projected ownership): Let me preface this by saying I freaking love Kevin Tway. The dude is an absolute stud-in-the-making. However, I don’t love him this week. With so many options under $7,000, there’s reason to stay away from projected value-chalk in tournaments. Even during this amazing run Tway has been on in his last five tournaments, he’s still shown a tendency to spray the ball off the tee. Word from the course is the rough at Muirfield Village is more penal this week than in years past and missing the fairway is not something the golfers want to do. Tway’s 53.37 Driving Accuracy percentage ranks him 188th on tour.
Hump’s Hole Out
Rickie Fowler ($8,900, 12.0 percent projected ownership): Fowler has been accurate off the tee — his 66.18 Driving Accuracy percentage ranks 28th on Tour, he ranks ninth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and he’s 16th in Bogey Avoidance this season. So despite his three-straight missed cuts at the Memorial, he sets up well for this course. Before a disappointing finish at THE PLAYERS, Fowler had ripped off six-straight finishes of 16th or better, including a win at the Honda Classic.
Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!
A two-time PGA Tour Winner, Steven Bowditch, brings you the edge every week with what he calls “fliers from the semi-cut”. We here at TourLevel call them “Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!” These are players on the bottom end of both the ownership and salary spectrum that Bowdo thinks have the potential to surprise if everything comes together.
This week, Bowdo likes Russell Knox ($6,300) who is “ranked 35th in the world and he’s priced $100 less than me when I’m like 900th! There’s something wrong there.” Obviously Knox hasn’t played well this season, with six missed cuts in eight events since the Tour left Hawaii, but Bowdo pointed out the Knox changed up his caddy and thinks his game fits this course well. Knox has historically kept the ball in the fairway and hit a bunch of greens in regulation, which should help him succeed this week.
Matthew Griffin ($6,300). Who? That’s right, Austrailia’s Matthew Griffin, who was 75th at the WGC: Mexico Championship earlier this year when he scored a whopping 31.5 DK points. According to Bowdo, Griffin is a “short but straight driver who won’t miss a lot of fairways and he’s a good putter”. If you’re looking to get chalky up top, Griffin is a surefire way to ensure you have differentiated your roster.
Bowdo also likes Jamie Lovemark ($6,300) who was 18th at the Byron Nelson his last time out and placed 52nd here at the Memorial in his debut last year. Per our Form Generator, Lovemark’s 2.08 Strokes Gained: Ball Striking differential two weeks ago ranked sixth in the field.
“Give me some HV3”. Harold Varner III ($6,300) is showing some excellent four week differentials in the Form Generator: He’s tied for third overall all with his 1.0 Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and his 1.51 Strokes Gained: Around the Green leads the field this week. Plus, Bowdo got to play with him and said “He drove it really good”.
Some other names that Bowdo mentioned: Michael Kim ($6,400) — for all the same reasons as last week, David Hearn ($6,200) — who has four top-30 finishes here in the last five years, and Hudson Swafford ($6,600).
Good luck this week!