The American Express Golf Tournament Betting Tips & Handicapping Free Plays

by Earl Campbell | January 14, 2020 |

This week, we head back to the mainland as the pro’s stop off in La Quinta, California for the newly named tournament, The American Express.  Many of you may be scratching your head and wondering why you’ve never heard of this tournament. Well, I’m sure you have just under a different name.

Last year, the tournament was referred to as The Desert Classic.  The year before, it was referred to as the CareerBuilder Challenge and in the past, has also held the names as the Bob Hope Classic, Palm Springs Golf Classic, the Chrysler Challenge and the Humana Challenge.

La Quinta Golf Club Course Details

The American Express Golf Tournament is played at La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, California.  The course itself is split between the PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club. Golfers that make it through the first three rounds will play once again on the Stadium Course on Sunday.  

The Stadium Course was designed by Pete Dye. The course was ranked the 4th hardest in the United States and throughout time, golfers have complained that the course was too difficult to play on and obtain a fair score.  That being said, changes were made to the course to make it somewhat easier and has hosted the tournament since 2016.

The Stadium Course measure 7,266 yards and plays as a Par 72.  The course has some of the deepest bunkers that the pro’s will see this year and also has lots of water hazards.  

The Tournament Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is the second most difficult course to play on.  The course is much more forgiving off the tee and they will find wide open fairways that will allow them to put a little more power behind their tee shots.  

The difference between the Tournament Course and the Stadium Course is when it comes to the greens. There are plenty of undulations here and they are much more tricky than those that they will see on the Stadium Course.  The Tournament Course measures 7,204 yards and plays as a Par 72.

And last but not least is the La Quinta Country Club, which is the easiest of the three.  There were some additions and changes made 2 years ago, prior to the CareerBuilder Challenge, by way of added trees, hazards and bunkers but overall, the course is still fairly easy, and definitely the easiest of the three. The course measures 7,060 yards and plays as a Par 72.   

One of, if not the most important attribute this week is Putting.  The past 2 years, the entire Top 5 ranked inside the Top 25 in Putting. The bottom line, all three courses benefit those with a strong putting game.  

American Express Golf Tournament Cut Info

With most PGA Tournaments, the cut is made after 36 holes but this particular tournament is a pro/am tournament that uses three different golf courses and therefore, the cut will not be made until after the 54th hole, which will be on Saturday.  This will mean that all golfers will get at least one shot at each of the golf courses this week, with those making the cut playing the final day on the Stadium Course on Sunday.   

American Express System Attributes

This is one of those unique weeks where we really don’t put as much emphasis in specific statistical data as in other weeks, mainly because we aren’t talking about one specific golf course, we are working with three different courses and each one is unique in it of itself.  

We could focus on just one course but that would leave out the other two and we have found that it’s just better to focus on overall items such as some scoring categories, recent history at this event and recent form.   

The only other attribute that I will look at this week is Greens In Reg and here is why….when you look at all three of these courses, you will notice there are a significant amount of bunkers and hazards around the greens and I think GIR allows you an overall measurement of whether a golfer is staying out of trouble or if they are inaccurate in their approach.  

One more thing, when you do your course history on this tournament, make sure you are taking into consideration that in the past, this was a 5 round tournament and the stadium course is relatively new, only dating back to 2016.  For my research, I will only be using the information gathered from 2016 and forward.

  • Recent Form
  • Course History
  • Birdie or Better
  • Greens in Reg

American Express Golf Tournament Golfers

One thing I want to mention before we give out our golfers for this week, the weather can and probably will play a major factor this week as La Quinta, California received a ton of rain on Sunday and Monday, and are expecting rain again on Thursday Morning.  The weather for the beginning of the week does not provide the capability to dry out the course so we can expect a wet course at least on Thursday and Friday.

Sung-Jae Im 16/1 – My first golfer this week is Sun-Jae Im. His odds aren’t the greatest but we are only playing 3 golfers so you can afford to play more than one unit on him. Im played here last year and ended up with a 12th place finish.  Im finished in 21st place last week but he could have finished a lot higher, had he not had an off day on Sunday. Prior to that, he finished in 11th place at the WGC-HSBC Champions and 3rd place at the ZoZo Championship. Im is our top choice this week!

Phil Mickelson 33/1 – I looked back through the past 4 years and this is the first time that I am giving out Phil Mickelson.  Strange but he ranks decent this week in numbers and I like his chances. I really like the way he played here last year and I think he is going to have a decent year.  Let’s go Phil!!!

Charles Howell III 30/1 – My final golfer this week for The American Express is Charles Howell III.  Howell has very good course history at La Quinta, finishing as high as 2nd place in 2013.  Howell is coming off a 12th place finish last week and should play very well this week. At 30/1, he is a very strong option! 

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