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Power Rankings: The American Express

2 Min Read

Power Rankings


    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    Golf under a retractable roof. Roll with it. It’s the 21st century after all.

    The PGA TOUR’s migration to the mainland descends in the Coachella Valley for The American Express this week. The full field of 156 will be treated to scoring conditions even the Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t script, with or without metaphorical cover.

    Continue reading beneath the projected contenders for brief breakdowns of the three courses, an explanation of the format and more.

    If The Open Championship sits on one end of the spectrum when it concerns, uh, concerns about the weather, The American Express occupies the other.

    Mid-January in La Quinta, California, consists of calm and primarily sunny skies with daytime highs in the low 70s, and it will again this week. Sorry, that should’ve been prefaced with a trigger warning if you’re sheltering from the deep freeze that’s blanketed much of the Lower 48. If it helps you relate, there’s the slightest chance of rain on Sunday.

    Then again, glorious imagery is even more reason to connect with the coverage of the action. Another guarantee is that you’ll be surrounded by red numbers. Lots of ’em.

    The triumvirate of tracks sharing the stage annually are among the most scorable of the season. That’s as much of a direct outcome of the kind of weather that attracts snowbirds as it is the fact that all are stock par 72s that stretch no longer than 7,187 yards. That’s the max on Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA WEST, the primary host of the tournament. Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST (“Nick Tourney”) and La Quinta Country Club share duties for the first three rounds. The over hits if any round on any course averages higher than 70.

    Significant upgrades to Nick Tourney and La Quinta CC in recent years haven’t swelled scoring beyond the predictable as new Bermudagrass greens mature. The latest occurred on the latter when that project wrapped last summer. Stimpmeter readings across all 54 holes will be governed to 11½ feet. The gnarliest rough found shouldn’t be taller than 2 inches. Gentlemen, start your engines.

    Each of the 156 entrants will rotate through the courses with an amateur for the first three rounds. After 54 holes, the low 65 and ties will play the finale only on the Stadium Course. Amateurs will not peg it on Sunday.

    ShotLink is utilized only on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA WEST.


    MONDAY: Power Rankings
    TUESDAY*: Sleepers
    WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider
    SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle

    *Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

    Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

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