LA QUINTA, California — After a two-week swing around the Hawaiian islands the PGA Tour is back on the continent this week in California.
The 2023 American Express returns to PGA West and will be held over three courses: the Pete Dye Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club.
Ten of the top-20 players in the world will be in action, including three of the top five with Scottie Scheffler (No. 2), Patrick Cantlay (No. 5) and past champion Jon Rahm (No. 4) all set to play.
The event has a history of low scores, as well as fan favorites and outside contenders all finding success. Here are some storylines to watch at the 2023 American Express.
The first-round leader of The American Express doesn’t always come from La Quinta Country Club, but if you were in Las Vegas, La Quinta would be the heavy favorite to produce a leader. Last year two players, Patrick Cantlay and Lee Hodges, fired 10-under 62s at La Quinta in the first round to lead the tournament by two shots. In 2020, Zac Blair shared the first-round lead with a 64 at La Quinta. In 2019, it was Phil Mickelson with a sizzling 60 at La Quinta. In 2018, it was a 62 from Jon Rahm that grabbed the first-round lead. And so it goes at La Quinta Country Club. But it is also important to know that of those first-round leaders, only Rahm went on to win the tournament. Still, the opening 18 holes at La Quinta are worth watching.
The American Express is that rare tournament on the PGA Tour where a 59 would only tie the tournament scoring record. David Duval in 1999 and Adam Hadwin in 2017 have each shot a 59 at the event. A few tournaments on the Tour seem to have players on 59 watch from the opening tee shot, and The American Express is one of those events. Both La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Tournament Course are ripe for a 59 when the best players in the world show up. Which round will produce the 59 watch in 2023?
There are a few players in the field who have a chance to join the nine golfers who have won The American Express at least twice (not counting Bill Haas, who already has two…