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The American Express: Expert Picks

Charles Howell continues to be great

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Tournament Information

The American Express
Date: January 16th – 19th
Course: PGA West Stadium Course
Purse: $6.7MM ($1MM to winner)
FedEx points: 500 to winner(s)
2019 Winner: Adam Long (-26)


PGA West Stadium Course. This 7,300 yard course has was created by Pete Dye. It is largely barren outside of the fairways which I find helpful at keeping a bifurcation of greens vs. rough but the golfers might think otherwise when they land in both the rough and the very deep bunkers. It’s largely built for a long straight hitter and rewards the solid putters in the process. Hole 4 has a bunker that competes with the best of them. It’s well known for the 17th “island” hole which is equal parts lethal for golfers and breathtaking to look at.

PGA: CareerBuilder Challenge - Final Round Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

My Starting 4

Chez Reavie (2nd selection this year) — I’m going with Chez again, he has a strong record at this tournament with top 40 finishes each of the last three years here. His strength has never been elite but his accuracy is among the best in the sport these days.

Andrew Putnam (1st selection this year) — He has top 35 finishes each of the last two years here. Andrew is making cuts but it’s a mix of 20th place and 50thplace lately for him. Andrew had three top 10s last season and is among the best putters on tour right now.

Charles Howell III (2nd selection this year) — Two Tournaments into my picks and I’ve already selected Charles twice. He did not disappoint last week at Waialae and he comes to PGA West where he finished in the top 35 each of the last three seasons. Charles is looking to start another strong season.

Lucas Glover (1st selection this year) — Lucas has been in the top 45 each of the last three years here and in the top 30 the last two years. Last year he was 12th, he just keeps improving and getting more comfortable here. He is also fresh of four consecutive made cuts. Lucas shines tee to green where he is quite accurate and makes up strokes with his woods and irons.

My Bench 2

Brendan Steele (1st selection this year) — He has made the cut each of the last three years but he is trending in the wrong direction going from 6th here in 2017 to 57th last year. Steele was one playoff hole away from a win last week. Brendan will sink or swim with his driver, once the putter comes out there is inherit risk.

Nick Taylor (1st selection this year) — Top 40 finishes for Nick each of the last three years here. He comes in fresh off a 32nd place finish last week. Nick is on the opposite side of Steele, he will make or break this with his putter. He’s top 40 on the tour in strokes gained there.

2019 Stats (after one tournament)

Starting 4: Avg finish 55th (38th percentile)
Bench 2: Avg finish 82nd (56th percentile)