The American Express 2021: Form stats for this re-shaped California tournament

PGA West's Stadium layout has been the host course of The American Express since 2016
PGA West: A well-watered green oasis within the deserts of California

The PGA Tour has arrived in California for this week's event in hot and arid Palm Springs. Andy Swales supplies our course and current form stats...

"It will be interesting to see whether organisers, in the absence of amateurs, will decide to toughen up the two courses which traditionally have less rough and easier putting surfaces than other PGA Tour events."

After two events in Hawaii, the players have travelled more than two-and-a-half thousand miles to touch down in California for this week's tournament in Palm Springs.

However, for the 2021 edition of this long-standing event, the pro-am segment has been cancelled.

Earlier this month the PGA Tour announced that, due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Riverside County, the American Express-sponsored tournament will be a professionals-only event.

First staged in 1960, when it was called the Palm Springs Desert Classic and contested over 90 holes, this will be the first time in its history it will not include a pro-am section.

Between 1965 and 2011, the tournament was known as the Bob Hope Classic - after the London-born actor, singer and comedian.

But the following year the five-day competition was reduced to four and played over the traditional 72 holes. Since 2012, three venues have been used with the opening three rounds incorporating a pro-am team event.

For this week's outing, just two courses will be needed, meaning La Quinta Country Club will take a one-year sabbatical, having been part of the tournament rota 48 times since 1964.

In 2021, PGA West's Stadium Course remains as host venue, and will be joined by PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament Course for company.

Both of these layouts have been part of the event since 2016, with the pros playing one round on each course on Thursday and Friday, before the Stadium Course takes centre stage over the weekend.

Tournament stats

Over the past five years, this event has been the only one on the PGA Tour to regularly have a tournament Putting Average (GiR) of below 1.70 (see stats below).

Between 2016 and 2020, for those completing at least 54 holes, the field average has been 1.664. The next lowest average is El Camaleon (1.714).

It will be interesting to see whether organisers, in the absence of amateurs, will decide to toughen up the two courses which traditionally have less rough and easier putting surfaces than other PGA Tour events. If this happens, then tournament averages may change. Both PGA West courses have reasonably undulating greens.

On the tee

Although this tournament remains popular with golf's TV public, the quality of field is not as strong as it was decades ago. However, there has been an upsurge this week with six golfers from the world's top-20 taking part.

Check out the latest betting ahead of this week's American Express-sponsored tournament

These include major winners Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed. Koepka not only makes his first start of 2021, he is also making his tournament debut.

As for Reed, he currently leads the Tour's Birdie Conversion table - a category in which he finished fifth for the 2020 season. (This table calculates the percentage of times a player makes birdie or better after hitting the green in regulation.)

This could prove to be vital if the greens remain as amiable to the pros, as they have been for amateurs in the past.

The two top-10 ranked pros in the field are No 2 Jon Rahm - winner here in 2018 - and No 10 Patrick Cantlay.

The latter will hope his form in the neighbouring state of Nevada - where he has an astonishing record over the desert layout at TPC Summerlin - will travel successfully across the border to another hot and arid venue that is PGA West.

Cantlay's only previous start in this event yielded a tie-for-ninth in 2019.

Further down the food chain is Adam Hadwin who has a remarkably consistent history over these two courses. In four previous visits, the world No 79 from Canada has never finished lower than sixth, and has stood on the podium three times.

And Korea's 22-year-old Sung-Jae Im continues his impressive rise up the World Ranking to No 18, highlighted by his runner-up finish at Augusta National last November.

His only two appearances at PGA West have both yielded top-12 finishes.

Courses details

The Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, which made its debut in this event as long ago as 1987, wasn't used again for 29 years. Water is a prominent greenside feature of the course, coming into play on nine holes.

The Nicklaus-designed Tournament Course, which was also opened during the mid-1980s, is the most recent new addition to the tournament rota.

Over the years as many as 13 courses have been used for this desert offering.

Course Comparisons (2016-20)


Driving Accuracy (%)
73.88: Sea Island (RSM Classic) (1/29)
63.60: PGA West (host) (American Express) (12/29)
52.24: Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance) (29/29)

Greens in Regulation (%)
75.98: Sedgefield (Wyndham) (1/29)
70.85: PGA West (host) (American Express) (6/29)
58.99: Innisbrook (Valspar) (29/29)

Putting (GiR)
1.664: PGA West (host) (American Express) (1/29)
1.714: El Camaleon (Mayakoba Classic) (2/29)
2.668: Augusta National (Masters) (29/29)

Key: Above stats are for all 29 courses which staged four or more PGA Tour events between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2020. To qualify for a ranking (between 1 & 29), tournaments must have a minimum of 50 players competing over the final two rounds of the event. Averages do not include players who failed to complete at least 54 holes.

American Express Data (2016-20)
DA: (T10 - 66.04%); (Cat10 - 75.81%)
GiR: (T10 - 73.99%); (Cat10 - 78.94%)
Putts: (T10 - 1.596); (Cat10 - 1.548)
Key: T10 (Average for Top-10 finishers); Cat10 (Average for Top-10 in Category)

Tournament Putting Averages (GiR)
Lowest Six (2016-20)
1.664: American Express
1.714: Mayakoba Classic
1.718: RBC Heritage
1.721: John Deere Classic
1.727: Texas Open
1.728: Memorial Tournament
Note: Field averages for those completing at least 54 holes

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

Note: List Contains Leading Reserves

Note: The two PGA West layouts have been used for this tournament since 2016.

Last 10 Weeks / PGA West Form (2016-20)

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W3 W2 W1 W52 W51 W50 W49 W48 W47 W46
Jon Rahm 7 7
Patrick Cantlay 13 17
Patrick Reed 21 3 10
Brooks Koepka MC 7
Matthew Wolff MC
Sung Jae Im 56 5 14 MC 2
Tony Finau 31 8 38
Abraham Ancer MC 17 12 13
Paul Casey 38
Kevin Na 1 38 13
Scottie Scheffler 13 19
Gary Woodland MC MC
Erik van Rooyen MC 14 Wd
Kevin Streelman 32 54
Lanto Griffin 41 13 MC
Sebastian Munoz 65 17 MC MC 19
Russell Henley 11 MC 30
Rickie Fowler MC 29
Chez Reavie 67 MC MC 29
Adam Long 3 30
Joel Dahmen 20 50
Phil Mickelson 55
Cameron Champ 31 19
JT Poston MC MC MC
Byeong Hun An MC MC
Martin Laird 17 MC
Adam Hadwin MC MC MC
Talor Gooch MC MC
Sung Kang MC 37 MC 29
Doc Redman MC
Brian Harman 56 30 MC
Alexander Noren MC 18
Brandt Snedeker MC MC 59
Jim Herman 32 30
Zach Johnson 62 6 51
Si Woo Kim 25 34
Michael Thompson 25 21
Max Homa 12 MC
Cameron Tringale 3
Andrew Landry MC 38 4 MC
Tom Hoge MC 3 MC
Brendan Steele 4 MC MC
Charles Howell 19 23 30 46
Lucas Glover 5 23 MC
Matt Jones 11 44
Rory Sabbatini MC 40 12
Nate Lashley MC 38 37 MC
Francesco Molinari MC
Aaron Wise 2 MC
Branden Grace MC 8 40 30
Harold Varner 71 MC
Keegan Bradley MC 32 15
Nick Taylor 11 29 MC 29
Scott Piercy MC 40 18
Richy Werenski MC 24 MC
Danny Lee MC
Mark Hubbard 32 59 MC
Sepp Straka 25 52 44
Charley Hoffman 14 46 23
CT Pan MC MC 7
Tyler Duncan 23 MC MC
Wyndham Clark 23
Joo Hyung Kim
Troy Merritt 56 40 MC
Sam Burns
Emiliano Grillo 47 8 18
Henrik Norlander MC MC
Maverick McNealy 12 MC
Peter Malnati 14 MC 48
Chris Kirk 2 46 18
Ryan Moore
Hudson Swafford 25 35 MC
Robby Shelton 25 MC MC
Kristoffer Ventura MC MC
Austin Cook 47 63 MC
Luke List MC MC MC
Brian Gay 72 29
Vaughn Taylor 25 MC 30
Xin Jun Zhang MC 63 MC
Brian Stuard 47 MC 50
Matthew NeSmith MC 15
Andrew Putnam MC MC 37 MC
Denny McCarthy MC MC
Pat Perez 32 52 MC
Charl Schwartzel MC 25
Will Gordon MC MC MC
Russell Knox MC 23 MC
Cameron Davis 31 MC
Patrick Rodgers 17 MC
Patton Kizzire 7 32 10
Kyle Stanley MC 46 6
Ryan Armour 32 MC MC
Adam Schenk MC MC 48
Scott Brown 47 MC
Scott Stallings 63
James Hahn 41 MC
Chesson Hadley MC 23
Chase Seiffert MC 59 MC
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 19 59 MC
Brice Garnett 32 32 MC
Tyler McCumber MC MC
Joseph Bramlett MC MC
Beau Hossler MC MC
Fabian Gomez MC MC MC
Bo Hoag MC 23 30
Sam Ryder MC MC MC
Hank Lebioda MC 38 MC
Scott Harrington MC MC
Bronson Burgoon MC MC 15
Josh Teater 54
Cameron Percy Wd MC
Jason Dufner 52 MC
Roger Sloan MC MC 23
Nick Watney MC MC MC
Kevin Tway MC MC
John Huh 20 12
Kramer Hickok 19
Doug Ghim MC 46 18
Chris Stroud
Satoshi Kodaira 56 40 MC
Brandon Hagy MC 40 MC
Camilo Villegas 32 6
Harry Hall
Sebastian Cappelen MC 57
Jimmy Walker MC 60
Aaron Baddeley 41 MC 57
Chris Baker 56 30 MC
Anirban Lahiri 62
Ryan Brehm 59 63
Ted Potter MC MC
Michael Gligic MC MC MC
Rob Oppenheim MC MC 59
David Hearn MC MC
Vincent Whaley 23 MC
DJ Trahan MC MC MC
Kelly Kraft 52
Steve Stricker 17
Tim Wilkinson MC MC MC
Mark Anderson MC MC MC
JJ Spaun MC 65 59
Matt Every MC MC MC
Luke Donald MC MC
Nelson Ledesma 47
Rhein Gibson MC MC MC
KJ Choi 71 46 MC
Grayson Murray MC
Bill Haas MC
Michael Gellerman MC 69
Martin Trainer 47 MC
Seung-Yul Noh
Rafael Campos MC 52
Sean O`Hair 59
Ben Taylor MC 65
Jamie Lovemark 67 MC
Akshay Bhatia 52
Jim Knous
John Augenstein 55
Hunter Mahan MC 67 MC
John Senden
Michael Kim 65 MC Wd
Bo Van Pelt MC MC MC
Mark Wilson
Michael Block
Kevin Stadler MC Dq
Steve Jones
Player 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Jon Rahm 6 1 34
Patrick Cantlay 9
Patrick Reed MC 12 56
Brooks Koepka
Matthew Wolff 61
Sung Jae Im 10 12
Tony Finau 14 MC
Abraham Ancer 2 18 76 MC
Paul Casey 21 58
Kevin Na 17 42 70 3
Scottie Scheffler 3
Gary Woodland
Erik van Rooyen
Kevin Streelman MC 34 29 MC 11
Lanto Griffin MC
Sebastian Munoz 21 MC MC
Russell Henley MC MC MC 49
Rickie Fowler 10
Chez Reavie MC 28 36 12 17
Adam Long MC 1
Joel Dahmen MC MC
Phil Mickelson MC 2 MC 21 3
Cameron Champ 21
JT Poston 37 7 MC 34
Byeong Hun An MC
Martin Laird MC MC MC 9 49
Adam Hadwin 2 3 2 6
Talor Gooch 17 4 67
Sung Kang 63 MC MC
Doc Redman 29
Brian Harman 21 MC 20 3 11
Alexander Noren 14
Brandt Snedeker MC
Jim Herman MC MC 49
Zach Johnson MC 28 20 MC MC
Si Woo Kim Wd 40 9
Michael Thompson MC 9 MC 28
Max Homa 48 MC MC
Cameron Tringale 43 51 MC MC 14
Andrew Landry 1 28 2 MC
Tom Hoge 6 MC 57 MC
Brendan Steele 43 57 20 6 34
Charles Howell MC 34 20 12 11
Lucas Glover MC 12 29 41 17
Matt Jones MC MC 34
Rory Sabbatini 48 57 69 72 MC
Nate Lashley Wd 12 29
Francesco Molinari MC 12 62
Aaron Wise MC MC 17 34
Branden Grace
Harold Varner MC 18 MC MC MC
Keegan Bradley 25
Nick Taylor MC 40 20 34 MC
Scott Piercy 61 57 6 41
Richy Werenski MC MC 29 9
Danny Lee MC MC 41
Mark Hubbard 43 MC 28
Sepp Straka 4 MC
Charley Hoffman 61 MC MC MC
CT Pan 51 MC MC
Tyler Duncan 64 51 MC
Wyndham Clark MC 18
Joo Hyung Kim
Troy Merritt 68 MC MC MC
Sam Burns 6 18
Emiliano Grillo MC
Henrik Norlander 68 50 MC
Maverick McNealy 37 MC
Peter Malnati MC 18 MC 77 MC
Chris Kirk MC MC 21
Ryan Moore 6
Hudson Swafford MC 65 29 1 56
Robby Shelton MC
Kristoffer Ventura MC
Austin Cook MC 14
Luke List MC MC MC 41 6
Brian Gay MC MC 42 MC MC
Vaughn Taylor 43 7 MC 41
Xin Jun Zhang MC MC
Brian Stuard 72 40 MC MC
Matthew NeSmith 17
Andrew Putnam 10 34 17
Denny McCarthy 48 MC MC
Pat Perez Wd MC
Charl Schwartzel MC
Will Gordon
Russell Knox 37 18 29
Cameron Davis 29 28
Patrick Rodgers 64
Patton Kizzire MC MC 42 50 42
Kyle Stanley MC MC
Ryan Armour MC MC MC 66
Adam Schenk 14 67 MC
Scott Brown MC MC 63 58 MC
Scott Stallings 55 MC MC 8 Wd
James Hahn MC 57 36
Chesson Hadley 29 MC 42 MC
Chase Seiffert 21
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 21 MC
Brice Garnett MC 63 MC
Tyler McCumber 64
Joseph Bramlett MC
Beau Hossler MC MC 20
Fabian Gomez 55 MC MC MC
Bo Hoag Wd
Sam Ryder 29 40 50
Hank Lebioda 17 MC
Scott Harrington MC
Bronson Burgoon 43 MC 42 34
Josh Teater 68 40
Cameron Percy MC MC MC
Jason Dufner 55 MC 36 25 1
Roger Sloan MC 12
Nick Watney 29 51 50 MC MC
Kevin Tway MC
John Huh 48 70 3 MC 24
Kramer Hickok MC 40
Doug Ghim MC
Chris Stroud MC MC 69 62
Satoshi Kodaira
Brandon Hagy 48 MC 58
Camilo Villegas MC MC MC
Harry Hall
Sebastian Cappelen 6
Jimmy Walker MC MC
Aaron Baddeley MC 18 75 42
Chris Baker MC
Anirban Lahiri 73 MC 25 28
Ryan Brehm 55 75
Ted Potter 37 MC
Michael Gligic 21
Rob Oppenheim MC 42 MC
David Hearn 37 MC MC 58 MC
Vincent Whaley 29
DJ Trahan 68 MC MC MC MC
Kelly Kraft MC MC
Steve Stricker MC MC
Tim Wilkinson 21 25 62
Mark Anderson MC
JJ Spaun MC 51 MC 50
Matt Every 74 69 MC
Luke Donald MC
Nelson Ledesma MC
Rhein Gibson MC MC
KJ Choi
Grayson Murray 10 MC 14 12
Bill Haas MC MC MC 17 9
Michael Gellerman MC
Martin Trainer MC MC
Seung-Yul Noh MC MC 17
Rafael Campos MC
Sean O`Hair 9 50 9 28
Ben Taylor MC
Jamie Lovemark Wd MC 6
Akshay Bhatia MC
Jim Knous MC
John Augenstein
Hunter Mahan MC MC 42 MC
John Senden MC MC MC MC
Michael Kim 50 21 70
Bo Van Pelt MC MC
Mark Wilson MC MC MC MC 56
Michael Block MC MC
Kevin Stadler MC
Steve Jones

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