Power Rankings: The American Express
3 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
The 2022 edition of The American Express has put the fun back in function.
After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, amateurs are again in play in La Quinta, California. La Quinta Country Club also returns after giving way to the PGA WEST’s Stadium Course and Nicklaus Tournament Courses in last year’s adjustment.
For other details of the format, the tracks and other information, continue reading beneath the projected contenders.
Tournament host Phil Mickelson, defending champion Si Woo Kim, Sony Open in Hawaii runner-up Russell Henley and Rickie Fowler will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider.
Back at full strength across the board in the Coachella Valley, The American Express hosts its usual 156 golfers on three courses. Every entrant gets one loop around each before the 54-hole cut of low 65 and ties. All who survive are treated to a second spin on the Stadium Course in the final round.
Save an 11-yard increase on the par-4 10th hole on the Stadium Course and a reduction of 34 yards on the par-4 first hole on the Nicklaus Tournament Course, the triumvirate of stock par 72s tests the same as the last time each was prepared for the tournament, and that comes with a reminder.
Because amateurs were omitted from last year’s edition, a logical consideration was that both courses at PGA WEST could be set up to be more challenging than how they are presented customarily. In terms of scoring, that’s how it shook out as the Stadium Course (70.809) was nearly a half-stroke harder than its average in 2020, while “Nick Tourney” (70.949) checked in more than one-and-a-half strokes higher. While both have landed at similar scoring averages in recent years and Si Woo Kim’s 23-under 265 was in line with tradition, the field could be in store for a regularly tougher Nick Tourney from now on.
The 2021 staging was devoid the easiest par 72 of the previous four PGA TOUR seasons as La Quinta CC is the pushover of the trio. It had been followed closely by Nick Tourney, but the latter figures to remain more difficult because this is the second year since its greens were enlarged significantly and replaced with TifEagle bermuda. So, it again could challenge the Stadium Course as the toughest even though the host annually ranks as the hardest of the set, and that includes final rounds that haven’t spiked scoring.
All greens are prepped to run no longer than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. As usual, to retain fairness, hole locations for the second and third rounds will remain in close proximity to positions in the first. ShotLink is used only on the Stadium Course, so all Strokes Gained data and measurements apply only to it.
The proverbial dome of the desert is forecast to remain closed except for Saturday when winds out of the north will persist.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
SUNDAY: Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Rookie Ranking
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.