American Express betting tips & predictions – the American Express, formerly known as the Desert Classic,CareerBuilder Challenge, Humana Challenge and Bob Hope Classic, is played each January in California. The tournament forms part of the early season West Coast Swing and is well known for its celebrity pro-am.
In 2012 the tournament changed its format from having five rounds to a traditional four round tournament. The event is played over three different courses. The TPC Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West will serve as two of the three courses. Long-time tournament mainstay La Quinta Country Club completes the course rota for the tournament.
The Par 72 Pete Dye-designed TPC Stadium Course will serve as the host course. It’s infamous 17th hole is known as “Alcatraz” and has an island green that was inspired by the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
The Pro-Am format is played for the first 54 holes. Each of the professionals will play with a different amateur partner each day on different courses for the first three days. On Sunday, the low 70 professionals and ties will play the final round at the TPC Stadium Course.
Historically, courses used in the American Express rank among the easiest annually on the PGA Tour. As with previous editions, those players who wish to contend will need to be aggressive with their approach play, hit the ball close to target and drain plenty putts. Key statistics this week will be Proximity to Hole, Strokes Gained Putting and Birdie Average.
In last year’s tournament, Adam Long captured the title in only his sixth start on Tour. He shot a final round -7 (65) on the Stadium Course to beat playing partners Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson by a solitary stroke. Mickelson began the day with a two shot lead and looked odds on to be the wire-to-wire winner, but his putter let him down on the final day.
“It was a huge thrill to play with Phil, I looked up to him my whole life and big fan of his and he couldn’t have been greater to me out there and he was awesome to play with, a lot of fun”
Long’s victory earned the PGA Tour rookie $1,062,000 and a two year exemption. Three-quarters of Long’s strokes gained on the field came from the flat-stick. He finished 9th in SG:Putting gaining 3.184 shots on the field average. Other stats for the week include T12 for Driving Accuracy, 28th in Driving Distance, T41 in GIR and 1st in Putts per GIR.
In 2018, Jon Rahm beat Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of a playoff to win his second PGA Tour title. He closed with a final round -5 (67) on the Stadium Course to finish on -22 (266).
The Spaniard’s play from the tee and on approach laid the foundation for his victory. He gained almost 6 strokes over the two rounds on the Stadium Course over the field average. He finished T28 for Driving Accuracy, 5th in Driving Distance, T20 in GIR and 8th in Putts per GIR.
In 2017, Hudson Swafford won his first PGA Tour tournament at the American Express beating Adam Hadwin by one shot. On his way to victory Swafford was 1st in Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee and 5th in Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green. Combined these stats yielded a gain of 7.48 strokes over the field average for the two rounds on the host course. He finished the week T61 in Driving Accuracy, 5th in Driving Distance, T1 in GIR and 24th in Putts per GIR.
In 2016, Jason Dufner prevailed in a playoff with David Lingmerth after shooting -25(263) in regulation play. Lady luck played her part in Dufner’s win with an incredible up-and-down in regulation play at the aforementioned “Alcatraz”.
Dufner finished the week T49 for Driving Distance, T5 for Driving Accuracy, T15 for GIR, 14th in Strokes Gained Putting. He was also T18 in Proximity to the Hole and T40 for Scrambling.
This week is a crapshoot and definitely one to approach with caution. Best advice is to keep bets small or have a bet in running after 36 | 54 holes are completed.
American Express Betting Tips 2020