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The Hawaiian swing has concluded and the PGA Tour returns to the contiguous United States. A number of prime gamers make a journey to Palm Desert for The American Express at PGA West, so it’s time to your The American Express Playing Preview.
Right here’s every little thing to know concerning the event earlier than inserting a single wager.
The American Express Subject
This event is face to face with a premier European Tour occasion, which has drawn many large names over to Dubai. Whereas there are some sturdy names on this area, general the entry record is a slightly weak one.
Headlining the sector is Jon Rahm, the winner of this occasion in 2018. Jon Rahm beat Andrew Landry in a playoff after an exquisite method shot on the 18th to safe his second profession win on the PGA Tour. Rahm had an enormous 2020 and appears to select up the place he left off at PGA West.
One other notable within the area is Brooks Koepka, who makes his first begin in 2021. Accidents hampered Koepka in 2020, and he went winless for the primary time in his profession. Koepka remains to be within the prime of his profession, however he wants to point out he’s wholesome for bettors to belief him once more.
Different notables within the area embrace Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Sungjae Im, Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Matthew Wolff, and Gary Woodland.
For the total area, click on right here.
The Golf Programs
In regular instances, this event is a Professional-Am and is performed throughout three golf programs. As a result of COVID pandemic, nevertheless, the occasion won’t see amateurs tee it up. As well as, the standard three golf course rotation has been scaled again to be performed on solely two. This 12 months’s American Express will see the primary two rounds performed throughout the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Event course at PGA West. The ultimate two rounds are on the Stadium Course. The third golf course of the rotation, La Quinta Nation Membership, won’t be performed on this 12 months.
The TPC Stadium Course at PGA West was designed in 1986 by legendary architect Pete Dye, who handed away final 12 months on the age of 94. Pete Dye is the best fashionable golf architect and is answerable for dozens of progressive golf programs. Dye wished a participant to suppose their approach round a golf course. He additionally cherished to play thoughts methods on them. Dye as soon as stated “Golf is not a fair game, so why should I build a fair golf course”, and constructed them with this adage in thoughts. He was an inspiration for a lot of of at the moment’s designers.
TPC Stadium Course was constructed as a “sequel” TPC Sawgrass. The course first performed host to the Bob Hope Traditional in 1987, however the professionals complained that it was approach too onerous. On the finish of the day the PGA Tour is run by the gamers, and the tour catered to their complaints by eradicating the Stadium Course from the event after just one 12 months.
After a pair redesigns, the event got here again to the Stadium Course in 2016 and is the toughest of the 2 golf programs this 12 months. The Stadium Course traditionally performs effectively over a stroke tougher than the Nicklaus Event Course.
When scouting the structure of the Stadium Course, you’ll be able to see Pete Dye’s fingerprints throughout it. A number of holes borrows template holes from TPC Sawgrass and different Dye designs. Listed here are a couple of holes on the Stadium Course which are very a lot impressed its sister on the East Coast:
fifth Gap – TPC Sawgrass vs. ninth Gap – TPC Stadium Course
Each holes make use of elongated bunkers off the appropriate facet of the green. On the left, a water hazard eagerly awaits extraordinarily offline tee photographs. The greens are angled at about 2:00 off the green. Additionally they characteristic massive bunkers quick proper and lengthy left. The ninth on the Stadium Course additionally provides a big bunker again proper to punish gamers who fly the inexperienced.
10th Gap – TPC Sawgrass vs. 12th Gap – TPC Stadium Course
The 12th on the Stadium Course is a smaller model of the 10th at TPC Sawgrass however possesses related options. Each have Dye’s trademark elongated bunkers hugging the left facet of the green. The 10th at TPC Sawgrass has a horseshoe-shaped bunker that doesn’t come into play in any respect for knowledgeable, so it seems Pete Dye relocated it to wrap itself across the left facet of the 12th inexperienced on the Stadium Course to present them one thing to fret about.
17th Gap – TPC Sawgrass vs. 17th Gap – TPC Stadium Course
Probably the most blatant rip off on the Stadium Course is the 17th. It’s a Par three that includes an island inexperienced and an virtually photocopy of one of the well-known holes in golf – the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. For probably the most half, I’m high-quality with attempting to create TPC Sawgrass West, however right here ends my heaping reward of the late nice Pete Dye. This gap is symbolic of my greatest problem with the Stadium Course (apart from the ridiculous canyon bunker off the 16th inexperienced). The Stadium Course is extra Disneyland to TPC Sawgrass’s Disney World. The RC Cola to Sawgrass’s Traditional Coke. Positive you’ll be able to see the penmanship of a TPC Sawgrass at this golf course, nevertheless it rings a tad soulless, has a peculiar aftertaste and makes you yearn for the true factor.
It additionally doesn’t assist that the golf course appears to be like AWFUL on tv. Massive swaths to dormant, brown Bermuda tough encompass the luxurious, overseeded inexperienced fairways and placing surfaces. Bermuda grass takes some time to get well from cooler winter temperatures, and the still-dormant Bermuda tough makes the telecast look particularly bland. It’s visually lackluster after spending the final two weeks in Hawaii watching surfers and whales crash by the vibrantly blue Pacific Ocean. It brings down the enjoyment of the viewing expertise general.
The opposite course this week is the Nicklaus Event Course. It performs a lot simpler than its PGA West counterpart:
The Nicklaus Event Course appears to be like like several golf course in Florida or the Southwest. Not a variety of creativity or technique is required because it weaves its approach by retirement communities. It’s meant to function an pleasant, laid again spherical of golf. Most hassle off the tee could be very simply avoidable by the professionals due to generously huge fairways and their capability to hit over most fairway hazards. This course will play a lot simpler than the Stadium Course this weekend.
The American Express Playing Methods
Bettors often have a couple of challenges when handicapping this occasion. For starters, the profitable rating on the occasion is usually within the low 20’s underneath par. The golf programs general yield a variety of birdies and low scores. Nonetheless, occasions like this usually flip right into a placing contest and permit poorer, much less constant ball strikers to compete with premium ones. Tournaments like these generally are like Russian roulette.
One other problem is that solely the Stadium Course has strokes gained information captured throughout play. Neither the Nicklaus Course nor La Quinta featured ShotLink information to decipher rating finest there. This problem is alleviated a bit with three of the 4 rounds held on the Stadium Course this 12 months. Bettors can primarily concentrate on that golf course to handicap the sector.
Because the major focus is on the Stadium Course, right here’s a skillset chart displaying what forms of attributes are most typical amongst these on the prime of the leaderboard:
The attributes that the majority stand out right here is driving distance and placing. These two are most likely mutually unique of one another and aren’t a requirement for a participant to have each. Distance is a bonus totally on the Par 5’s on the Stadium Course. , lengthy drive on every provides an extended participant an iron into the inexperienced. Shorter hitters could have a much less correct fairway steel into the Par 5’s. Additionally they may decide to put up and have a wedge in for his or her third. So far as placing, a shorter participant could make up a tee-to-green deficit to the longer gamers by sinking extra putts.
Whereas a number of the Par 4’s enable a participant to be aggressive, most of them are less-than-driver holes as a result of bottlenecked fairways and strategically positioned bunkers. Lengthy and quick hitters usually hit from about the identical distance to the pin on a lot of the Par 4’s. As well as, not one of the Par 4’s play over 450 yards and 4 of them play underneath 400 yards. Gamers will pull quick irons and wedges for many of their method photographs. The flexibility to dial of their quick irons for attractiveness for birdies is significant on the Stadium Course.
Bettors will even have to remember the grass varieties on the Stadium Course. Overseeded Bermuda implies that the golf course is not Bermudagrass. The fairways and greens are overseeded with perennial ryegrasses. They play extra like a conventional Bentgrass golf course. Bettors ought to look extra in the direction of how gamers carry out on Bentgrass placing surfaces or at different overseededed golf programs. Different overseededed golf programs on the PGA Tour embrace TPC Scottsdale, TPC Summerlin, the 2019 Gamers Championship, the 2019 Valero Texas Open, and all Houston Opens on the Golf Membership of Houston previous to 2018.
There’s additionally an angle to take with the adjustments to the construction of this 12 months’s event. The Stadium Course is a way more demanding golf course tee-to-green. As well as, event administrators are inclined to set simpler pin placements for the amateurs on the golf course to hurry up play. With out amateurs and three of the 4 rounds on the Stadium Course, the event may not be as a lot of a placing contest because it often is. Ball putting may be extra of a figuring out issue in the direction of who contends as a substitute of who can sink probably the most putts.
Lastly, gamers who’ve gained greater than a stroke per spherical on the Stadium Course (minimal of 12 rounds) embrace the next:
- Jon Rahm – +2.51
- Adam Hadwin – +2.47
- Andrew Landry – +2.25
- Phil Mickelson – +1.48
- Talor Gooch – +1.42
- Invoice Haas – +1.25
- Lucas Glover – +1.22
- Keegan Bradley – +1.33
- Patrick Reed – +1.09
- Zach Johnson – +1.02
- Keivn Streelman – +1.00
There’s a variety of gamers in right here, from shorter ones (Andrew Landry) to large bombers (Jon Rahm) to those that perform a little little bit of every little thing effectively (Patrick Reed).
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