Last week hurt, I’m not going to lie to you. Russell Henley, who was not just on the card for a top 20 but an outright victory, led Hideki Matsuyama by five strokes on the turn. Five. But the Masters champion came back strong, eventually beating the Bulldog in a one-hole playoff after netting a 3-wood from 276 yards from around three feet.
Hard pill to swallow.
Either way, it’s time to move on. This week it’s the American Express, and after COVID-19 forced the tournament through numerous changes in 2021, it’s back in full force this year. The tournament’s three-course rotation returns, along with a pro-am. For the first three rounds, the pros will be paired with a group of amateurs before a 54-hole cut is made and the remaining professionals will play their final round at the Stadium Course.
It’s also the first week we get a glimpse of the new ESPN+ PGA Tour live service (we had it in Hawaii but in limited capacity). Oh, and the field is loaded.
PGA West (Stadium): Par 72, 7,113 yards
LaQuinta Country Club: Par 72, 7,060 yards
PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course): Par 72, 7,159 yards
Top 5 of last year
- If Woo Kim
- Patrick Canlay
- Cam Davis
- Tony Finau
- Abraham Ancer, Doug Ghim, Michael Thompson
|Day||Terms||Percent chance of rain||Wind direction|
|Tuesday||Sunny||2 percent||8 MPH (NO)|
|Wednesday||Sunny||2 percent||4 mph (WNW)|
|Thursday||Sunny||0 percent||7 MPH (NO)|
|Friday||Sunny||0 percent||6 mph (NNW)|
|Saturday||Sunny||0 percent||12 MPH (NNW)|
|Sunday||Sunny||0 percent||7 MPH (NO)|
It is difficult to know what is important at this event. It is played on three courses and only one of them records ShotLink data (Stadium). Course history and recent form will play a big part in the picks this week. However, Data Golf notes that driving distance is an important aspect when playing Stadium Course – something to keep in mind.
Data Golf Information
Price adjustment (compares golf courses based on the extent to which different golfer attributes – such as driving distance – to predict who performs well on each course – DataGolf): 1. Accordia Golf Narashino CC, 2. TPC Louisiana, 3. Caves Valley Golf Club
Percentage chance of winning (based on price history, fit, trends, etc.): 1. Jon Rahm (13.1%), 2. Patrick Cantlay (9.2%), 3. Scottie Scheffler (4.6 %)
Last episode of Twilight 9
Betting card for American Express 2022 (& Abu Dhabi HSBC)
Last week results (Sony Open)
Corey Conners – Top 20: Cash, +130
Charles Howell III – Top 20: Miss
Kevin Kisner – Top 20: Cash, +162
Russell Henley – Top 20: Cash, +162
+354 (+3.54 units) at Waialae
+4.49 units in 2022.
Rory McIlroy—Top 10 (PAIR)
Rors has played in this event since 2014 – he finished no worse than T-3. Good enough.
He’s also my guy, so I have to have him on the map somewhere.
Matthew Wolff—Top 20 (+155)
Wolffy hasn’t played since the Houston Open, but he’s off to a great start to the season. In four events so far, he has finished T-17 (Sanderson Farms), 2 (Shriners), T-5 (Mayakoba) and T-11 (Houston Open).
He hasn’t finished in the top 40 here yet, but it’s impossible to ignore this guy at an event that requires you to do an immense amount of birding. He is 11th on the circuit in birdie average and first in scoring average.
Scottie Scheffler—Top 10 (+210)
Scheffler wasn’t around for the weekend a year ago, but in 2020 the Texan landed a third solo in the desert. He has played in six events so far this season, three of which have finished in the top 4 (two runners-up).
The Ryder Cupper ranks in the top 15 in average birdies on the Tour, which again will help around these tracks.
Talor Gooch—Top 20 (+125)
Gooch holds the second-highest overall score at the American Express over the past three seasons. He also didn’t finish worse than T-21 in those appearances highlighted by a solo fourth-place finish in 2019.
He just had a good two weeks in Hawaii, turning in the 60s seven of his eight rounds.