The American Express Preview
January 17, 2020
Two weeks into 2020 PGA Tour season and we have already seen two playoffs. We were treated to another primetime viewing of what was a stacked. Congratulations to Cameron Smith on winning his second PGA Tour event (first as an individual). I thought my pick Sungjae Im was going to comeback on Sunday until making a triple bogey on 16. We can’t always pick winners so let’s try again with this week’s The American Express in La Quinta, California.
We are treated to three courses this week before the final round heads to the Stadium course. Even though we will only see 1 player, Tony Finau, inside the OWGR top 15 tee it up this week, expect some household names to be scattered around the leaderboard. The defending champion, Adam Long, returns and runner-up Phil Mickelson will be teeing it up for the first time in 2020.
Not only do we have a full field, but we are treated to PGA Tour Live for the first time in 2020. Featured Groups for Thursday will have four pairings: Phil Mickelson/Tony Finau, Jimmy Walker/Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner/Max Homa, and Rickie Fowler/Francisco Molinari.
The players will be competing for 500 FedEx Cup Points and a take of the $6.7 million purse. For the pairings and leaderboard this week click here.
While we mourn the loss of the legendary course designer, Pete Dye, we will be treated to one of his courses at the PGA West Stadium Course. Similar to the AT&T Pro-Am, we will see golfers competing on three courses before moving over to the Stadium Course for the final round.
The weather looks to allow scoring so don’t be surprised to see a lot of low numbers this week.
Predictions and Players to Watch
We talked about Sungjae Im last week, but I am still waiting to see when (not if) him or Tony Finau will pick up their first tour win. Both are coming off successful President’s Cup campaigns and look to keep the momentum going. Speaking of President’s Cup, we will get to see Abraham Ancer compete this week.
Will this week be the week one of the PGA Tour Rookies breaks through? We will again see Doug Ghim, Robbie Shelton, Matthew NeSmith, and Scottie Scheffler this week. Another name I am really interested in is Akshay Bhatia. The 17 year old turned pro last year after an incredible run as a junior but has yet to make a cut at a PGA Tour event. He did finish T-42 at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship.
We have seen the past 5 winners average 23 under par and with weather being favorable this week we will again see a winner in the 20s. Everyone is picking Rickie this week and as much as I want to, I am going with Matthew Wolff to pick up his second win. You need to make a lot of birdies this week and Matthew Wolff can do that. As for the score he will need to shoot to win, I like 26 under.
Comment below with you picks this week.