Preview: The American Express

One of the most difficult events annually to handicap. The only angle that is etched in stone is a shootout will take place and going low is a requirement.

Also, with two easy tracks, pros will get healthy quickly. Pete Dye on Sunday will have the final say but last year two pros tied the course record with 63.

Hang on with both hands and take a few chances!

The American Express

Stadium Club at PGA West (host)

Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course

La Quinta, California

Yards (per official scorecard):7,147
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:TifDwarf Bermuda.
Stimpmeter:11.5..
Rough:TifGreen Bermuda at 2.25 inches.
Bunkers/Water HazardsMore than 90/In play on 7 holes.
Architects:Pete Dye (1986).
Course Record:63; Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns (2020).
Post-2015 Tournament Record:262; Andrew Landry, Adam Long last two seasons.
Defending Champion:Andrew Landry (-26).
Fact of the Week:Only five international winners in 61 previous events.
Fact of the Week II:New rotation began in 2016; New rotation this year ONLY as La Quinta has been dropped (no pro-am).

Notes:

  • Field of 156
  • Top 65 and ties play the weekend.
  • No Pro-Am, No La Quinta CC.

2020-2021  Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners: *Playoff

YearWinner Comment
2020Andrew Landry-26Co-led after 54 and won by two.
2019Adam Long-26Birdied the last to win by a shot over Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin. First time at the event.
2018Jon Rahm*-22Needed a four hole playoff to defeat Andrew Landry to win in his second visit.
2017Hudson Swafford-20Sat two back of Hadwin after 54 before winning by a shot.
2016Jason Dufner*-25Defeated David Lingmerth in a playoff.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – Last YearStadium Course: 63 – Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns; 64 Grayson Murray. Nicklaus Tournament : 62 – Tony Finau; 63 – Charley Hoffman, Max Homa.
Defending Champion(s) Event:Johnny Miller is the only one in history.
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Phil Mickelson (2002, 2004), Bill Haas (2010, 2015).
Oldest  Winner:42; Brian Gay (2013).
Youngest Winner:23; Justin Thomas (2017).
First Time – TOUR:Plenty, including Long and Swafford since 2016.
First Time – EventJhonattan Vegas (2011), Adam Long (2019) this decade.
Odd Facts:The last three years NT was the second easiest course on TOUR. The last two years the Stadium Course ranked in the top 10 of easiest courses.

Quick Thoughts

From island golf to desert golf! No more wind or surf but perfect conditions for racking up birdies and eagles.

Andrew Landry needed 31 birdies last year. Jason Dufner circled 30 of them in 2016 and still needed a playoff.

Form isn’t required this week as the pristine conditions will cure what has been ailing. Lack of heavy rough and pure putting surfaces minus wind should push us comfortably into the 20-under and better range.

There’s no La Quinta this week so maybe #59Watch is off the board.

With the NT course being regrassed, I would assume that’s going to be the case. New TifEagle greens will be firm and will possibly add a new pin placement. It’s not going to slow down the avalanche but it’s not going to threaten any records for my money.

Stadium Course addition of yardage off the tee on a few holes still doesn’t tip over 7,200 yards.

Both courses are Par-72 and the bigger greens are at NT. Stadium Course are slightly undersized at 5,000 square feet.

Second week in a row on Bermuda greens  and second week in a row with light Bermuda rough. Shit gets real at Torrey Pines next week.

No amateurs so no six hour rounds haha.

Chalk – Betting Favorites

Patrick Cantlay (+1200): I don’t love the price but there’s a reason for that. He contends annually at the other desert event, TPC Summerlin, and has a recent win under his belt in California.

Patrick Reed (+1600): Smashing form came with a rust buster at Kapalua (T21) so that helps. Have short game, will travel. First appearance in three years so he’s not in love with the place minus his 2014 win.

Scottie Scheffler (+1600): Not bad for a guy who has never won and finished behind Abraham Ancer (+2500).

Brooks Koepka (+1800):Doesn’t show up unless he thinks he will contend. He should if he’s healthy.

Tony Finau (+2000): Can he make enough putts to keep up? He’ll have enough chances but I’m waiting for Torrey Pines where his length is a proper advantage.

Sungjae Im (+2000): He plays every week and is one of the most difficult to handicap. And he’s only 22.

Matthew Wolff (+2200): Should have won at Shriners but Laird’s escape act was one for the history books. Didn’t fire in his last three events and hasn’t played since Augusta.

Abraham Ancer (+2500): Best aggregate on SC last year including tying the course record on Sunday. Trending well here and form is solid (MC last week was 3-under). Rust is busted too. Move him up.

Russell Henley (+2800): Loved in most circles this week but he’s 0-4 here in his last four trips. Hard to square that circle for that price.

Kevin Na (+3000): Name the last player to win Sony and win here. Yeah.

My Long Shots and Others 33-1 or worse

(If you don’t see your player on here, you’ve answered the question you were going to ask me)

Cameron Champ (+3500): Feasted on a short Sherwood and T19 at Masters. T31 at Kapalua for the warm up act.

Adam Long (+5000): Quietly goes about his VERY steady business and should be filled with positive vibes in his third trip here. Plenty of low ones on NT and SC.

Zach Johnson (+5000): Top 20 but I’m not diving any deeper. Like the steady nine cuts on the bounce.

Si Woo Kim (+5000): Shot 87 here last year before WD but his form and Dye mastery deserves a look.

Patton Kizzire (+6000): Loved him last week and he cashed T7. T32 or better with four in the top 24 in his last five. Stick him in.

Adam Hadwin (+6000): THE course horse of the new rotation, minus the win. Top 10.

Talor Gooch (+6600): Plenty of good ones at NT and SC and a pair of top five finishes on TOUR in his last five.

Sepp Straka (+7000): Give it a knock, big fella. T4 last year and 6 straight on TOUR. Yep.

Brendan Steele (+7000): Home game. Cashes annually and cashing on TOUR. Good combo. Burned last week by a bad back nine on Sunday.

Doc Redman (+9000): Ok, bring the ball striking and enjoy the easy greens.

Others:

Michael Thompson

Kramer Hickok

Martin Laird

Chesson Hadley

KH Lee

Grayson Murray

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter (@mikeglasscott) or email me: mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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