The American Express: Preview, Odds & Best Bets

The PGA Tour’s “West Coast Swing” gets underway with The American Express, which begins Thursday in La Quinta, Calif.

After being played on only two courses last year for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event returns to a full 72-hole pro-am played across three courses this year. Each professional will be grouped with amateurs for the first three rounds before the low 70 professionals and ties play the final round at PGA West’s Stadium Course.


THE AMERICAN EXPRESS

  • La Quinta, Calif., Jan. 20-23
  • Courses
    • PGA West, Stadium (Par 72, 7,113 yards)
    • La Quinta Country Club (Par 72, 7,060 yards)
    • PGA West, Nicklaus (Par 72, 7,159 yards)
  • Purse: $7.6M (Winner: $1.368M)
  • Defending Champion: Si Woo Kim
  • FedEx Cup Leader: Hideki Matsuyama

HOW TO WATCH

  • TV: Thursday-Sunday, 3-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)
  • PGA Tour Live: Four live feeds per day on ESPN+
  • Social Media: @TheAmexGolf (Twitter)
Jon Rahm
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NOTES

  • Phil Mickelson serves as the tournament host. He won the event in 2002 and 2004.
  • Reigning rookie of the year Will Zalatoris will tee it up for the first time in 2022.
  • Sponsor’s exemptions include T.J Vogel, Chan Kim, James Hart du Preez and college star John Pak. Du Perez will make his PGA Tour debut after leading the Sunshine Tour in driving distance (379.1 yards) last year.
  • Cameron Champ is set to return after being forced to withdraw from the Tournament of Champions due to a positive COVID-19 test.
  • The American Express has been decided by two shots or fewer in every edition since it became a 72-hole event in 2012.



BEST BETS

  • Jon Rahm (+600 at BetMGM) won the event in 2018 and is coming off a runner-up finish at the Tournament of Champions. He’s the first No. 1 to enter the event since Justin Rose in 2019 and leads the tour in Greens in Regulation at 81.48 percent. Rahm also leads the sportsbook with 11.9 percent of the outright winner money backing him.
  • Reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay (+900) set a course record with a final round 61 last year, finishing one shot behind Kim. He is being backed by 9.4 percent of the money, third-most at BetMGM.
  • Scottie Scheffler (+2000) is still chasing his first tour win. Has three top-four finishes in his past four starts and is second at BetMGM with 6.8 percent of the total tickets backing him.
  • Abraham Ancer (+2500) has been the biggest mover at BetMGM after opening at +3300. The 20th-ranked Ancer is one of the few in the field playing for the third consecutive week after a T35 at the Tournament of Champions and a missed cut last week. He has gone T5 and runner-up at The American Express the past two years and has drawn 7.2 percent of the total bets, making him the book’s biggest liability.
Abraham Ancer
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tony Finau (+2500) has gone the other way after opening at +2200. He opened 2022 with a T19 at Kapalua and has finished fourth and T14 in this event the past two years. Backed by 8.3 percent of the money, he’s the book’s second biggest liability.
  • Matthew Wolff (+2800) leads the tour in adjusted scoring after four made cuts in the fall swing, including a runner-up at the Shriners and a T5 at Mayakoba.
  • Patrick Reed (+3500) holds the tournament scoring record for 260 set in 2014.
  • Kim (+5000) is attempting to become the first player to successfully defend his title since Johnny Miller in 1975-76.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)