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The American Express: Expert Picks

We leave Hawaii and travel to California

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Tournament Information

The American Express
Date: January 21st – 24th
Course: PGA West Stadium
Purse: $6.7MM ($1.2MM to winner)
2020 Winner: Andrew Landry (-26)
OWGR Points: 46

Course

PGA West Stadium Course — This 7,300 yard course 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. This is a tougher course with a course rating of 76.1 and a slope rating of 150, accuracy is important.

The American Express - Round Three Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

My Starting 4

Andrew Landry (first selection this year) — Landry finished in the top 30 each of the last three years at Stadium Course. Landry has struggled a bit this season with three missed cuts and two other finishes 50th or worse. He has just one top 25 finish but I see a second one coming this weekend.

Abraham Ancer (third selection this year) — Ancer’s last three years have shown continued improvement: 76th, then 18th then second. After eight consecutive made cuts to start the season, he missed the cut last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Ancer does have a tendency to have back to back missed cuts but I think he rebounds strong here given the strength across all parts of his game. He’s seventh in driving accuracy, 75th in strokes gained putting, and 87th in total strokes gained.

Brendan Steele (second selection this year) — Steele’s solid in driving accuracy, greens in regulation and approaching the green. He’s finished in the top 60 each of the last four years here. He comes into this tournament fresh off a fourth place finish last week at Sony Open in Hawaii.

Chez Reavie (third selection this year) — Reavie finished among the top 40 here in 2017-2019 before a decent round (-8) but not good enough had him miss the cut last year. I believe he’s still a solid play here and his shots gained tee to green (42nd) and approaching the green (21st) good indicators. His drives are real short but he’s quite accurate (something needed for it’s 17th hole).

My Bench 2

Andrew Putnam (second selection this year) — Putnam has been a top 35 finisher each of the last three years here. Putnam is strong approaching the green (86th in strokes gained) and putting (62nd) but he’s not getting enough distance off his drives. He has also missed the cut in four of the last five tournaments.

Sean O’Hair (first selection this year) — O’Hair finished 9th here in 2017 and 2019. He did not participate here last year. He was out much of 2019 with a torn oblique before returning in early 2020 for a handful of tournaments before taking the remainder of the 2020 season off. This season he started rusty missing the cut in three of the first four tournaments. Since then, he’s finished 66th, 59th, and most recently second at the QBE Shootout. I think he’s looking better and could be a top 25 golfer at a course where is his historically comfortable.

Fun Fact: This tournament used to be played across 5 days instead of the regular 4 until 2012.


2020-2021 Stats
Starting 4: avg finish 36th (29th percent)
Bench 2: avg finish 49th (40th percent)