Formerly known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, The American Express, played as a pro-am event alongside the individual tournament, returns to California this week with Phil Mickelson as host.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: American Adam Long claimed his maiden PGA Tour title here last year in just his fifth start on the world’s biggest stage, defeating Mickelson and a Adam Hadwin by a solitary stroke.
COURSE: The Stadium Course at PGA West shares hosting duties with the same venue’s Nicklaus Course and La Quinta Country Club over the first three days, before the final round is played at the late Pete Dye’s diabolical design. Consistently ranked among the toughest courses in America, the Stadium Course was opened in 1986 and features an island green par-3 17th hole like Dye’s most famous design TPC Sawgrass, the hole with its green surrounded by rocks and water nicknamed ‘Alcatraz’.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Two-time winner PHIL MICKELSON makes his first start of 2020 in the unfamiliar role of tournament host. The American turns 50 in the middle of this year, so it will be interesting to see how he balances his schedule between the main Tour and the over 50s Champions circuit throughout the year. Despite slipping outside the top-50 on the world rankings late last year for the first time in over 20 years, ‘Lefty’ still managed a PGA Tour win in another pro-am in 2019 at Pebble Beach and seems determined to remain competitive well into his 50s.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI makes his first start of the year as well, the Italian looking to recapture the form that saw him become a fixture in the top-10 of the world rankings after his 2018 Open Championship victory. Renowned as an extremely accurate and precise ball striker, the major winner’s added length will serve him well here as he looks to add a fifth PGA Tour win to his resume with new caddie Mark Fulcher, Justin Rose’s former looper, on the bag for the first time.
It feels like something special is right around the corner for New South Welshman CAMERON DAVIS. The former Australian Open champion was T9 last week in Hawaii and T3 to close out 2019 at the Australian PGA Championship. Davis will be better for the tough experience of his debut year on the PGA Tour last year and a win is not out of the question during the early part of the season.
72-HOLE RECORD: Patrick Reed secured his third PGA Tour win in 2014, needing just 260 shots (28-under).
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Bruce Devlin (1970).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Cameron Davis, Rhein Gibson, Cameron Percy and John Senden.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 7am – 11am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 7am – 11am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 7am – 11:15am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 7am – 11am)
*AEDT, check local guides