The PGA Tour heads back to California on Friday as the new and improved American Express tees off from PGA West in La Quinta.
Last week’s Sony Open has provided the perfect backdrop for this event and the reduced 36-hole cut should bring equal drama.
Since 2010, only one player has won the Amex after skipping both tournaments in Hawaii, while this tournament has also seen its fair share of long shots get up in recent years.
Defending champ Andrew Landry and 2019 winner Adam Long both won at triple digits, and there is a case to be made for several outsiders this weekend.
As for the course, PGA West is one of the simplest on Tour. Players that can consistently hit greens and sink putts should be towards the top of the leaderboard on the final day, meaning we should see another birdie-fest for the second week in a row.
With plenty of big names attending, you can find our complete 2021 American Express betting strategy in our preview below.
2021 The American Express Best Bet
Patrick Reed – $15.00
You might not know it, but Reed hasn’t missed a cut since May last year.
He already owns a green jacket, but plenty more is expected from the 30-year-old as he looks to improve on a T21 a fortnight ago at Kapalua.
Reed won this event back in 2014 on the Nicklaus Course, but he also has plenty of experience at PGA West Stadium. Clutch putting is a must on this course, something Reed has had no trouble with recently.
2021 The American Express Best Value
Charles Howell III – $51.00
Howell finished off strongly last week at Waialae with a final round 64 to finish T19.
He’s been around the mark of late finishing Top 30 in his last three tournaments and also ranked 11th last week in Strokes Gained: Putting.
This weekend will mark his sixth straight appearance at this event and I think he’s great value with three Top 20 finishes to his name.
Patton Kizzire – $56.00
Been a while in between drinks for the 34-year-old since he last won the Sony Open back in 2018.
Still, he wasn’t far off the mark last week when T7 at Waialae where he finished 13th in Strokes Gained: Putting.
He’s now finished Top 25 in four of his last five events and might be worth a shout here at odds.
2021 The American Express Best Roughie
Aaron Baddeley – $251
The odds say it all, but don’t forget the Aussie drained a 17 and an 18-foot birdie putt last week at the Sony Open.
He’s played this event in each of the last four years with his best result occurring back in 2019 where he finished T18.
It would take something special, but at least we know the putter is hot.
2021 The American Express Top 10 Finish
Tony Finau – $3.00
Finau is easily one of the top value bets in this tournament.
He hasn’t missed the cut since last year’s Northern Trust and is returning to PGA West after finishing T14 at this event last year.
He’s been a frustrating commodity for a long time now, but he might be worth something small to at least make the Top 10.
Sungjae Im – $3.00
Four solid rounds under 70 still weren’t enough to book Im a spot inside the Top 50 last week at the Sony Open.
Even so, he’s well over the odds at this price considering the Korean has finished Top 15 in both of his appearances at this event.
Finding the green hasn’t been a huge issue for him right now, but putting has been. A win isn’t out of the question, but I feel better about a Top 10 finish.
2021 The American Express Best of the Rest
Patrick Cantlay – $13.00
Fresh from a week off and is sure to be somewhere inside the Top 20 if recent form is any indication.
The 28-year-old won the ZOZO late last year before returning a T13 at the Tournament of Champions where he finished eighth in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Cantlay finished outright ninth at this event last year and probably could have won it if a final round 71 hadn’t got in the way. He’s a California guy and looks poised to strike once again.
Scottie Scheffler – $17.00
Scheffler has unfinished business after co-leading this event at the end of day three last year.
Everything fell apart in the final round on the way to an outright third behind Andrew Landry and Abraham Ancer, but recent form suggests he might pick up his first win on Tour this weekend.
Scheffler sunk 22 birdies enroute to a T13 a fortnight ago at Kapalua, so putting isn’t an issue. If he can find some consistency with the irons, he’s a major player.
Brooks Koepka – $19.00
Returns from a short layoff after missing the cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic last month.
You’d be foolish to write off the world No. 12, but keep in mind this is his first look at PGA West. Might be one to avoid after skipping the two tournaments in Hawaii.
Matthew Wolff – $26.00
Tough to know what to expect from Wolff this week.
He’s well-rested after missing the cut at the Masters, but his hot and cold finishes make me nervous. This easy course is perfect for him to regain some confidence, though.
Abraham Ancer – $29.00
Was far from disgraced last week at Waialae, but two opening rounds under 70 still weren’t enough to avoid missing the cut.
The good news is Ancer finished runner-up here last year behind Andrew Landry and T18 the year before. He’d need to improve with the putter though on a course that calls for consistent birdies.
Kevin Na – $29.00
Could the American go back-to-back?
Na pulled off a well-deserved win last week at the Sony Open and there’s nothing major to suggest he can’t do it again.
To be fair, he isn’t the type of guy that would normally win back-to-back tournaments, but that said, he hasn’t missed a cut in six appearances at the Amex. Two Top 20s also stands out.