The First Look: The American Express
January 10, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Adam Long wins first TOUR title
New for 2020, Phil Mickelson will not only be playing in The American Express but he will also be serving as tournament host and his charity, The Mickelson Foundation, will be the host organization.
The long-time celebrity pro-am will once again be played across three California courses.
Adam Long returns to defend and will have to top an international field that includes Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Matthew Wolff, and Paul Casey.
FIELD NOTES: Rickie Fowler returns to the California desert for the first time since 2014. He notched a T5 in his last start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions… Francesco Molinari is making his 2020 debut, and will play The American Express for the first time since 2017… Matthew Wolff makes his debut in the desert… American Presidents Cup team member Tony Finau will return to the PGA TOUR for the first time since the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November… International Presidents Cup team members Byeong Hun An, Abraham Ancer, and Sungjae Im are also teeing it up… 17-year-old Akshay Bhatia is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption, while newly-minted pro (and member of Stanford’s 2019 NCAA championship-winning team) Isaiah Salinda also received an exemption… Seven past champions are in the field.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points
COURSE: Stadium Course at PGA West, 7,113 yards, par 72. This is the fifth year as host course. The 1986 design is a Pete Dye product. Dye passed away on January 9th. The event’s pro-am is also played on PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament course (7,159/72) and La Quinta CC (7,060/72) in the first three rounds. This is year No. 11 for La Quinta CC, and year No. 5 for the Nicklaus course.
STORYLINES: This is the first year for Phil Mickelson to play official tournament host, although he was an ambassador for the event in the past. Mickelson is back in action for the first time since the WGC-HSBC Champions event in November. Mickelson turns 50 in June… Adam Hadwin, whose wife Jessica just had a baby (the couple’s first) will not tee it up this year. Hadwin would have been a popular pick this week, as he’s finished second two of the last three years and of course, shot a 59 in 2017… Only five non-Americans have ever won The American Express since its inception in 1960… American Express was announced as the new title sponsor in September… The pro-am format puts two amateurs with two pros in a foursome. The amateurs switch courses and professional playing partners for three days.
72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Patrick Reed (2014).
18-HOLE RECORD: 59, David Duval (5th round, 1999 at PGA West/Palmer), Adam Hadwin (3rd round, 2017 at La Quinta CC). Stadium Course record: 63, Jonathan Fricke (2nd round, 2008 Qualifying Finals*), Whee Kim (2nd round, 2012 Qualifying Finals*). Nicklaus Tournament record: 59, Harrison Frazar (4th round, 2008 Qualifying Finals*). Note: Q-School does not count as an official PGA TOUR event.
LAST TIME: A Sunday charge from Adam Long resulted in the rookie winning The American Express in just his fifth TOUR start. Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson finished T2 at 25-under. Long was 175 yards from the hole on the par-4 18th closer when he knocked an iron to just 13 feet. Hadwin and Mickelson were both approximately 40 feet away and neither could convert their birdie tries. That opened the door for Long to notch his maiden TOUR victory. Talor Gooch finished fourth, Dominic Bozzelli finished fifth, and 2018 winner Jon Rahm finished sixth.
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