The American Express has been played in the Palm Springs area since 1960. Once known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, it was a 90-hole event until changing to the traditional 72-hole format in 2012. Ordinarily, the tournament is contested over three courses and includes a three-day pro-am that concludes on Saturday.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, only the PGA West Stadium course will be used this year. Also, the pro-am portion of the event was canceled, and no spectators will be allowed. The course is a par 72, 7,128-yard layout designed by famed golf course architect Pete Dye.
The two other courses that won’t be played this year are the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club. There are 156 players in the field, including defending champion Andrew Landry and last week’s Sony Tournament in Hawaii winner Kevin Na.
Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, carries odds of +2000 in The American Express and is currently ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings, the third-highest of any player in the field.
Jon Rahm, the 2018 American Express Winner and second-ranked player in the world, is the odds favorite at +650. He followed up the victory with a sixth-place finish in 2019 but skipped the tournament in 2020. Rahm had a terrific 2020 season, capturing two tournaments, with six other top-ten finishes and coming in fourth in the final FedEx Cup standings.
He’s played sparingly in the 2021 season, with only five starts so far. Rahm has finished in the top ten in his last three starts, including a tie for second at the ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood. He tied for seventh at the Masters and had the same result at the Sentry Tournament of Champions after a two-month layoff. Rahm, a five-time winner on Tour, is always a threat to win whenever he tees it up.
Matthew Wolff won in only his fourth start on the PGA TOUR at the 2019 3M Open. His game fell off a bit in 2020 with only two top-ten finishes and a ranking of 35th in the FedEx Cup point standings. Wolff is a talented young player who has already equaled his top ten finishes from last season.
He came in second to Bryson DeChambeau in the U.S. Open after faltering to a 75 in the final round. Wolff followed that up with a tie for second at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. He hasn’t played in an official event since missing the cut at the Masters and has odds of +2000 at The American Express.
Patrick Reed, 2014 The American Express champion and eight-time winner on Tour, has been playing consistently but infrequently in the 2021 season. He’s gotten off to some strong starts but hasn’t been able to finish well on the weekends. Reed’s best finish is a tie for tenth at the Masters after failing to break 70 in the last two rounds.
He hasn’t played in The American Express since missing the cut in 2018, but the lack of amateurs might be an advantage for Reed. The 2018 Masters champion carries odds of +2000 and is currently ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings, the third-highest of any player in the field.