Golf: PGA Tour – The American Express (Desert Classic)
Venue: PGA West Course, La Quinta, California
Dates: Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th January 2021
The PGA Tour continues to get up to speed in 2021 with the American Express Desert Classic in California. Having first been competed in 1960, the event has become a staple on the tour and its status as a star-studded Pro-Am has grown over the past 60 odd years. The 2022 edition promises to be very different, with a reduced celebrity field – but the level of golf shouldn’t alter one bit. Previous winners of the event include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson – testament to the prestige in which the event is held in. With a winner’s purse of $6.7 million to play for too, it promises to be a hotly contested weekend of golf in the Californian sunshine.
The American Express has attracted a very strong field to La Quinta and there will be plenty of household names wanting to take home the spoils:-
Jon Rahm broke his major tournament duck in 2021 and his overall performances week on week make him a serious candidate from the off here in California.
World number 4 Patrick Cantlay finished strongly in Hawaii last time out and he will be looking to get into the winner’s circle as quickly as possible in 2022.
Big hitting American Tony Finau couldn’t string together the run of wins many expected of him in 2021 but he has a game that is well suited to most courses, and he looks overpriced here.
Mexican Abraham Ancer finished runner up at this event in 2020 and he has enjoyed an incredible couple of years since, putting him in contention to go one better this season.
2014 American Express champion Patrick Reed has grown into one of the most notorious competitors on the PGA Tour and he could be one to watch in favourable conditions this week.
1st Round Leader
Getting off to a flyer in the Californian sun could be essential this week and there are plenty of big names that will be hoping to do just that:-
Former amateur sensation Matthew Wolff has emerged as a major player on the PGA Tour in recent times and his streaky game could be well suited to a fast start here in La Quinta.
Seasoned campaigner Chris Kirk has had a quiet few months on the PGA Tour but should be in a good place with his game here in California.
Top 10 Finish
With so many quality players assembled here in La Quinta, getting into the winning enclosure could be tough but there are plenty of candidates to finish in the top ten come Sunday:-
Young Korean Sungjae Im enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2021 and he is sitting pretty in the world’s top 20 – making him a serious candidate here in California this week.
Englishman Justin Rose is always in the mix in any event he plays, and he should arrive in California refreshed and ready to challenge from the outset.
Two-time American Express runner up Adam Hadwin tends to play his very best golf at this event and he could be a value to finish in the top 10 come Sunday afternoon.
The American Express 2022 betxchange.com Best Bets:
Outright Winner: Jon Rahm – 13/2
Top Ten Finish: Sungjae Im – 2/1