Golf: PGA Tour – American Express
Venue: PGA West Stadium Course, California
Dates: Thursday 16th – Sunday 20th January 2020
A stellar field descends on La Quinta once more for the 2020 American Express and with over $6.5 million in the prize pot, plenty of big names will be hoping to get into the winners’ enclosure come Sunday afternoon. Formerly known as the Desert Classic, the American Express is one of the flagship events of the early season on the PGA Tour with players often returning to the fold following the off-season. The event has been on the calendar since 1960 and with Arnold Palmer, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson as part of their winning alumni, the reputation of the event speaks for itself. With Ryder Cup points to play for and the absence of much of the world’s top 10 in the field, it promises to be a fascinating week in California.
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:-
Rickie Fowler has enjoyed back to back top 10 finishes at his last two events and he justifiably starts as the favourite here on a course that should suit his game.
Young South Korean Sungjae Im looks to have the world at his feet following an incredible run of form in 2019 and he has climbed up to number 32 on the PGA money list.
Big hitting American Tony Finau couldn’t string together the run of wins many expected of him in 2019 but he has a game that is well suited to most courses and he looks overpriced here.
Billy Horschel is making his first appearance of 2020 at La Quinta and he will be hoping to start the season in style with Ryder Cup points and places up for grabs.
Kevin Kisner looked in fine form at the Sony Open last time out, finishing inside the top 5 and having been a consistent performer on the PGA Tour for a number of years he will be looking to kick on 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.
Mexican superstar Abraham Ancer has an electrifying game and he will be hoping to get off to a flying start in California this week.
The experienced Kevin Na sits inside the top 30 in the PGA Tour money list and despite no real form to speak of, he could go well here in California this week.
Top 10 Finish
With so many quality players assembled here in California, getting into the winning enclosure could be tough but there are plenty of candidates to finish in the top ten come Sunday:-
Englishman Paul Casey hasn’t been displaying his best form since the turn of the year but he is a strong character and he could play his way back into form this week.
The form that saw the Italian win the Open Championship in 2018 looks a long way off but Francesco Molinari is a proven performer at this level and probably won’t be too far away.
Two-time Desert Classic champion Phil Mickelson endured a tough 2019 but he looks refreshed in 2020 and this could be one of his best chances to go deep in a big event.
BetXChange Best Bets:
Outright Winner: Rickie Fowler – 15.00
Top Ten Finish: Francesco Molinari- 3.50