LA QUINTA, Calif. – Defending champion Jon Rahm is not in the field this week at the 2024 American Express, and a few other familiar names from the tournament’s past might not be playing PGA West either.
But the field of 156 – the biggest so far on the PGA Tour in 2024 – for the 65th annual PGA Tour event in the Coachella Valley is still packed with some of the best golfers in the world. They are joined by golfers with strong resumes who might not be top-10 players at the moment, but certainly have the pedigree to win in the desert or anywhere else.
The tournament is contested on three courses: Pete Dye Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club.
The total purse is up from $8 million to $8.4 million with first-place bumping from $1.444 million to $1.512 million.
Here’s a look at some of the top players to watch when play begins Thursday:
Official World Golf Ranking: 1. Golfweek/Sagarin rankings: 1.
Scheffler comes to the desert as the No. 1 player in the world and off a two-win season that saw him challenge in many more events. He was last season’s PGA Tour Player of the Year. Scheffler was third in the American Express in 2020 and 11th in 2023. His strong iron play makes him a threat anywhere.
OWGR: 5. Golfweek/Sagarin: 6.
One of the top players in the game the last few years, Cantlay will be hungry for a win after a winless 2022-23 season. The American Express might be a great place for that win, since Cantlay finished second in the event in 2021 behind winner Si Woo Kim, an effort that included a course-record 61 on the final day at the Stadium Course at PGA West. Cantlay was also ninth in the event in 2022.
OWGR: 6. Golfweek/Sagarin: 2.
Schauffele, a San Diego junior golfer and collegiate player, returned to the American Express last year after missing a handful of years in a row. Not only did he praise American Express and the tournament, he played brilliantly, tying for third at 25-under, two back of winner Jon Rahm. He’s a threat every week, and another…