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Horses for Courses: The American Express

7 Min Read

Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses: The American Express

    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    Golf is Hard | 18-foot MONSTER bunker edition at PGA West

    And just like that we're into week No. 3 of the 2022 portion of the PGATOUR schedule!

    The TOUR returns to the mainland this week as 156 players return to the Coachella Valley for the 63rd time. The California desert will return to the party atmosphere this season as a full pro-am, three course rotation and regular crowds are expected.

    RELATED:Power Rankings | Five Things to Know: PGA West's Stadium Course | Expert Picks

    The 2021 edition featured only Pete Dye's Stadium Course (3 rounds) and Jack Nicklaus' Tournament Course (1 round) because of health and safety measures. La Quinta Country Club returns to the rotation this season in historic fashion. It will make its 50th appearance breaking a tie with neighboring Bermuda Dunes. Phil Mickelson serves again as tournament host and all is right in the world again in Palm Springs.

    The three course standard rotation from 2016 to 2002 returns again in 2022. The Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club will all be used once during the first 54 holes. The top 65 and ties after 54 holes will play the Stadium Course again on Sunday to determine the winner.

    Remember: Historical ShotLink data from this event ONLY comes from the Stadium Course. It is the ONLY track that uses the laser measurement annually.

    The three course rotation is similar yet different. La Quinta and the Nicklaus Tournament course are annually in the five easiest on TOUR. Neither course touches 7,200 yards on the scorecard yet both come with four Par-5 holes, minimal rough and perfect Bermuda putting surfaces that aren't difficult to find in regulation. Keep the ball out of the desert and scoring should follow.

    The Stadium Course provides the biggest challenge of the three but played easier than the Nicklaus course last season. Patrick Cantlay eviscerated the previous course record (63) by two shots on Sunday as he racked up 11 birdies (no bogeys) to post 61. Dye's mind tricks, routing and railroad ties are all on display but if the desert is quiet and windless, it won't matter for these guys. Of the three tracks the Stadium Course has the smallest of targets to hit as the greens average just 5,000 square feet.

    The highest winning score since moving to this rotation is 20-under set in overcast, chilly conditions in 2017 by Hudson Swafford. Last season, with three of the four rounds, including both on the weekend, on the more difficult Stadium Course, Si Woo Kim still posted 23-under. Since the event is a pro-am there's no point in having tucked pins, slick greens, thick rough or six hour rounds so expect scoring to be in this neighborhood again.

    The first event of the season featuring 156 players will compete for a purse of $7.6 million with the winner taking home $1.368 million plus adding 500 FedExCup points.

    Recent Event Winners Stats

    WinnerSi Woo KimAndrew LandryAdam Long
    First Round CourseStadium CourseStadium CourseNicklaus Tournament
    GIRT1 T7T41
    Putting: Birdie or Better %1315
    Birdies23 (T5)31 (1st)24 (T11)
    Eagles1 (T3)03 (T1)
    Putting Average1111
    3 Putts011
    Par-3 ScoringT2T23T8
    Par-4 ScoringT101T2
    Par-5 ScoringT1 T3T4

    Recent Winners

    2021 - Si Woo Kim (-23, 265)

    Bogey-free 64 Sunday locked up his third TOUR win in 164th start at age 25. ... Became just the sixth international winner but second in the last four events. ... 64 Sunday tied the second best round of the day. ... Played the Stadium Course bogey free for the week. ... Only two bogeys came on NT in Round 2. ... One of three to lead after 54 holes (Finau, Homa). ... Sat one off the 36 hole lead. ... Stadium Course ONLY (66-67-64; -19) would have been good for T4. ... 23 birdies, 1 eagle against just two bogeys. ... Of the last six winners he joins five in top four of Par-5 scoring. ... Only winner in six to land outside the top five in Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage. ... T1 GIR. ... T9 2016 debut. ... WD 2020 after 87 in Round 1. ... Of his three wins two have come on Pete Dye tracks, TPC Sawgrass and the Stadium Course at PGA West. ... Also won a shootout (-21) at Wyndham in 2016. ... T25 Sony week prior. ... Only top 10 in his previous five was in the Las Vegas desert at Shriners (T8).

    Notables in the field this week:

    Patrick Cantlay (2nd) closed 65-61 and circled the most birdies, 29. ... Tony Finau (4th) played from the final group and had 27 birdies. ... Abraham Ancer (T5) backed up his solo second from 2020 with another top five. ... Doug Ghim (T5) finished T1 GIR in his second appearance. ... Michael Thompson (T5) closed with NINE birdies and a triple for 66 on Sunday. ... Brian Harman (T8) posted his fifth T21 or better in six years. ... Francesco Molinari (T8) cashes T12 or better for the third time in five starts. ... Only Cantlay and Finau made more birdies than Rory Sabbatini (T12) and his 24. ... Sungjae Im (T12) held the solo lead after 36 holes. ... Brandon Hagy (T21) led after Round 1 after 64 on NT. ... Andrew Landry (T64) couldn't join Johnny Miller in the ranks of champions to defend. ... 35 bogey free rounds. ... Cut was 4-under. ... Top 3 were 20-under or better. ... Top 36 10-under or better. ... No pro-am.

    2020 - Andrew Landry (26-under, 262)

    Birdie-birdie finish to win by two. ... Picks up his second win in 80th start at age 32. ... Tied tournament scoring record for this rotation of courses. ... Tied with three to play after leading by six with six to play. ... Only needed 99 putts. ... Led the field with 31 birdies. ... Only player in the top five thru 36 holes who played SC. ... Posted 66-67 on SC for the week. ... Co-54 hole leader by four shots. ... Sat two off the first round lead and one off the 36 hole lead. ... Opened with 66 on SC. ... Lost in a playoff to Jon Rahm in 2018. ... 63-under his last three events here. ... Made only one of eight cuts entering.

    Notables in the field this week:

    Abraham Ancer (2nd) led the field in GIR and made 16 birdies on SC the final two days. ... Scottie Scheffler (3rd) played in the final group and shot 70. ... Sepp Straka (T4) was T6 Fairways and T2 GIR. ... Tom Hoge (T6) posted 66-67 on SC. ... Ryan Moore (T6) T2 GIR. ... Rickie Fowler (T10) shared the 36 hole lead with Scheffler. ... Sungjae Im (T10) made 24 birdies in 2020 and 23 in 2021. ... Andrew Putnam (T10) 65-69 weekend on SC and was T4 Putting. ... Tony Finau (T14) posted 62 at NT in Round 2. ... Only Landry made more birdies than Talor Gooch (T17) and his 26. ... Defending champ Adam Long MC. ... 61 bogey free rounds. ... 54 hole cut NINE-UNDER. ... Top five players 20-under or better. ... Top 60 players 10-under or better.

    2019 - Adam Long (26-under, 262)

    Holed a 14 foot birdie on the last to win by a shot. ... First victory on TOUR in just his sixth start at age 31. ... Tournament scoring record for this rotation. ... Needed just 98 putts, led the field. ... Sat three off the 54 hole lead. ... Closed with 65, T2 round of the day. ... 24 birdies and 3 eagles against 2 bogeys and a double bogey. ... Sat seven off the 36 hole lead. ... Closed 63-65. ... Opened with 63 on NT. ... First time at the event. ... MC in five of his previous six starts on TOUR.

    Notables in the field this week:

    Adam Hadwin (T2) picks up his fourth consecutive T6 or better and has the course record 59 at La Quinta. ... Two time champ Phil Mickelson (T2) opened with 60 at La Quinta and led by two after 36 and 54 holes. ... Talor Gooch (4th) posted the round of the day Sunday with 64. ... Defending champion Jon Rahm (6th) circled 26 more birdies in a very noble defense. ... JT Poston (T7) first and only top 10 here. ... Patrick Cantlay (T9) T2 GIR. ... Michael Thompson (T9) signed for 25 birdies and an eagle. ... Roger Sloan (T12) racked up 29 birdies, most of the week. ... 68 bogey free rounds. ... Cut was NINE-UNDER AGAIN. ... Top six players 20-under or better. ... Top 66 players 10-under or better.

    Key stat leaders

    Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

    Par-5 ScoringPlayer
    3Jon Rahm
    7Patrick Cantlay
    11Will Zalatoris
    13Brian Harman
    21Scottie Scheffler
    21Carlos Ortiz
    21Anirban Lahiri
    21Luke List
    28Hank Lebioda
    30Sungjae Im
    30Patton Kizzire
    30Vince Whaley
    35Talor Gooch
    35Tony Finau
    35Patrick Reed
    35Kevin Tway
    35Cameron Tringale
    42Sepp Straka
    42Si Woo Kim
    42Charles Howell III
    42Seamus Power
    42Matthew Wolff
    42Brandt Snedeker
    Greens in RegulationPlayer
    2Jon Rahm
    3Emiliano Grillo
    4Matthew NeSmith
    8Russell Knox
    10Patrick Cantlay
    13Corey Conners
    16Doug Ghim
    17Will Zalatoris
    18Russell Henley
    22Abraham Ancer
    23Kevin Streelman
    25Henrik Norlander
    26Hank Lebioda
    27Sungjae Im
    28Joseph Bramlett
    30Jhonattan Vegas
    30James Hahn
    32Roger Sloan
    36Luke List
    37Bronson Burgoon
    38Chris Kirk
    40Seamus Power
    40Scott Stallings
    Birdie-or-Better PercentagePlayer
    8Patrick Reed
    10Harry Higgs
    12Scottie Scheffler
    13Jon Rahm
    18Patton Kizzire
    19Anirban Lahiri
    23Tom Hoge
    26Sebastian Munoz
    27Tony Finau
    28Patrick Cantlay
    31Peter Malnati
    32Rory Sabbatini
    34Abraham Ancer
    36Cameron Tringale
    37Justin Rose
    38Matthew Wolff
    40Brian Harman
    40Sepp Straka
    44Sungjae Im
    46Cameron Champ
    47Jhonattan Vegas
    48JT Poston
    50Si Woo Kim

    Horses for Courses

    Player (Starts/cuts made since 2016 event)Top 10sTop 25Most Recent (season)Notes
    Si Woo Kim (3/4)22Win (2021)3 best rounds on SC (67-66-64); T9 2016 debut
    Patrick Cantlay (2/3)222nd (2021)Closed 65-61 last year; 61 on SC Round 4 course record
    Tony Finau (3/4)124th (2021)Co-54 hole leader; T14 2020 with 62 NT
    Michael Thompson (4/6)22T5 (2021)T9 2019
    Abraham Ancer (4/5)23T5 (2021)2nd 2020; T18 2019; 66-63-66 Sunday last 3 years
    Doug Ghim (1/2)11T5 (2021)MC 2020
    Brian Harman (7/9)25T8 (2021)T21 is his worst in 5 of 6 new rotation
    Francesco Molinari (4/5)23T8 (2021)3 of 4 T12 or better since 2015
    Andrew Landry (4/5)22Win (2020)P2 2018 to Rahm; 4 straight paydays
    Sepp Straka (1/3)114 (2020)MC before and after
    Ryan Moore (4/9)33T6 (2020)MC 2021; DNS 2016-2019
    Tom Hoge (2/6)11T6 (2020)T57 is the other
    Sungjae Im (3/3)13T10 (2020)T12 before, T12 after
    Rickie Fowler (3/4)12T10 (2020)T21 2021; 29-under last 2 years
    Adam Long (2/3)11Win (2019)MC defense; T69 2021
    Phil Mickelson (13/18)610T2 (2019)T3 2016; Winner 2004, 2002
    Adam Hadwin (6/6)44T2 (2019)T3 2018, 2nd 2017, T6 2016; 59 La Quinta
    Talor Gooch (4/4)134 (2019)Followed with T17, T21 last year
    Jon Rahm (3/3)226th (2019)2018 playoff winner; 43 under last 2 visits
    JT Poston (3/5)11T7 (2019)T34 is next best
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