The American Express is not a designated event, but it'd be hard to know that based on the stacked field that is lined up to play this week in the California desert.
Headlined by Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay, other notables include Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele, Sungjae Im and Cameron Young.
The field is loaded with 156 players this week, and they'll compete alongside an amateur pro-am partner. That means pace of play will be long and the use of multiple courses will be required. In fact, every player will get a guaranteed three rounds of action as they play a trio of courses before the 54-hole cut is made. The top 65 and ties will then head back out to the host venue, the Stadium Course, on Sunday.
Players to Watch
He's on a mission to prove he's the best player in the world, whether the OWGR agrees or not. The Spaniard's won three of his last five worldwide events. He has a win (2018), solo sixth, and T-14 on his tournament resume, in four visits.
The California kid doesn't want to miss out on the West Coast swing, but he also backed out of the Sentry TOC with back troubles which started in December at the Hero World Challenge. At full health, he's one of the top five names to watch in this field. Instead, we need to monitor his status prior to the start of the event to see if he'll even tee it up come Thursday.
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The UCLA star missed the cut in his 2013 tournament debut, but he's returned with a trio of top-10s in three tries. That includes a runner-up finish in the 2021 edition, where he fired a closing 61 but still fell short of hoisting the hardware. He remains a model of consistency with top-16 finishes in 12 of his last 14 events played.
Speaking of consistency, Montgomery has posted top-15s in seven of eight starts to open his rookie season. With roots in Vegas, desert golf should be right up his alley, which makes him an appealing option in all fantasy formats this week at PGA West.
Looking for a course horse? Hadwin has a trio of top-3s in addition to a T-6, in seven trips to the Coachella Valley. He had this to say a few years back about his love of the event, "Living in Phoenix these past few years, this is the golf that I play every day. So that overseeded, the greens are exactly what we play back in Scottsdale. So I would assume that might add to some of the comfort. It's really hard to pinpoint. For whatever reason, as soon as I get down here in the desert I start playing some good golf. So I'll take it and I'll probably be here every year."
One of the first names left off my top-20 rankings, Theegala continues to flash into contention as he searches for his breakout win. The California native and Pepperdine product would surely love to have his maiden win come in the Golden State. He twirled a T-33 here last year in his tournament debut.
Ranking the Field
1. Jon Rahm
2. Patrick Cantlay
3. Scottie Scheffler
4. Will Zalatoris
5. Tony Finau
6. Cameron Young
7. Taylor Montgomery
8. Sungjae Im
9. Aaron Wise
10. Brian Harman
11. Tom Kim
12. Xander Schauffele
13. Si Woo Kim
14. Adam Hadwin
15. Sam Burns
16. Cam Davis
17. Taylor Pendrith
18. K.H. Lee
19. Andrew Putnam
20. Denny McCarthy
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