2023 the Memorial Tournament Value Picks: Cameron Young, Hideki Matsuyama & Si Woo Kim
Via Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Young of the United States plays his shot from the 15th tee during the second round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 19, 2023 in Rochester, New York.
Sportsbooks seem to be masking their overall exposure in almost all sectors of the market in the PGA Tour's designated events so far in 2023.
Outright bets have created this watered-down structure near the top that will reduce a long-term edge in most situations. Head-to-head wagers have a plethora of choices in that star-versus-star format that I typically like to ignore. And while I do believe the placement market is actually the most conducive to long-term success since we can find some deeper shots at reasonably enticing prices, I haven't been able to get down as much exposure as I would like for these cards because of the lack of options.
That is something that I hope will change as more states become legalized in the form of sports betting. Competitive offerings for all bettors (not just losing gamblers) is the ideal outcome to uphold this as an industry that can serve everyone and keep with the circle of life that we have had in years past.
Below I have included three underrated players who have value in a variety of different markets this week, and I have bet them all to win outright as well.
If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
2023 Memorial Tournament Picks
Hideki Matsuyama +4000
It has been a volatile season for Hideki Matsuyama, who seems to be in the news for his injury concerns more often than his play to begin 2023. That is never ideal from a projected success standpoint, although that narrative has been quite overblown when we dive into the quality play he has demonstrated recently.
Matsuyama has generated six consecutive top-31 finishes since THE PLAYERS Championship in March, and there is a convincing argument to be made that Muirfield Village might be the best stylistic fit during this span for him to take advantage of his immaculate ball-striking returns.
The Japanese sensation graded second in my model for expected tee-to-green production when mimicking the numbers to fit a course-specific answer (landing behind only Scottie Scheffler), and a fast Bentgrass surface has always been conducive to creating high-end finishes throughout his career.
I believe this is one of those spots where public perception has too negatively affected the long-term data, which is why Matusyama might be one of the savvier plays to consider in all facets of the market.
Si Woo Kim +6000
Si Woo Kim is garnering some buzz throughout the space, so I don't want to make it sound like we are entering the week with crickets chirping in the background. Nonetheless, I am surprised at the vast disparity between sharp and square money on wagers involving Kim since the general public typically loves quality course history.
My model has tracked the most significant "sharp" moves of any golfer in this event regarding the 27-year-old, an answer that is told when we look at his opening outright odds of 80/1 getting pushed down into the 50s at most shops.
I talked about this idea a day ago on the Links + Locks podcast that I do here at Action Network, as I believed Kim should have been correctly priced in the 50s. The argument now will be where does the value begin to dissipate, but I have noticed some head-to-head wagers throughout the industry that have been too slow to move to account for Kim's complete profile.
Cameron Young +4000
Markets hate Cameron Young this week. Whether it is him drifting down the board for an outright or landing as an underdog to most opponents as a head-to-head wager, sharp and square bettors alike have decided they want nothing to do with the big-hitting American at Muirfield Village.
I can understand that sentiment when you hear the words "accuracy" and "course history" being thrown around by most in the space. That isn't necessarily ideal for obvious reasons, but there are some extremely simple counterpoints that will begin to change the picture when we run the data slightly differently.
For starters, Young's 60th-place finish here last season is a fugazi situation. The 26-year-old held the first-round lead and entered Sunday just outside the top 10 before crashing and burning in the fourth round with a tumultuous 84. That isn't ideal because it shows his blow-up potential on this track, but this just as quickly could have landed inside the top five and presented an entirely different output expectation.
The other position here comes down to the accuracy question. Sure, Young's erratic nature is worth diving into deeper, but I noticed a complete transformation in his data when I looked only at venues that featured easy-to-hit fairways that had thick rough. That catapulted Young into being the top expected total driver for me with my course-specific data and accentuated his other features of scoring on challenging tracks and weighted proximity.
The current form is not going to look great. I understand that entirely. Still, the built-in answer that Young has been battling an illness that caused him to drop a ton of weight shifts the portrayal of what we have seen and begins to spotlight the all-important factor of value. In my opinion, there is too much to bypass here in all upside markets.