The American Express – Gambling/DFS Preview 2023

PGA West Stadium Course – La Quinta, CA
PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course – La Quinta, CA
La Quinta Country Club – La Quinta, CA

The PGA kicks off its California swing with the best field we’ve ever seen for The American Express this week with the three course rotation at PGA West in La Quinta, CA.

Course Breakdown

PGA West Stadium Course (All Rounds)

Par 72, 7147 yds, Pete Dye designed, highest birdie+ % from the fairway for any course on tour, toughest of the three courses but still pretty easy compared to tour average, Par 5s are much longer and harder than the other two courses (some of the most difficult to reach in two on tour), very tough Par 3s, average fairways that get narrow at the landing areas, over 90 bunkers and a lot of water and dormant grass if golfers miss wildly off the tee, water in play on 7 holes, rough is pretty easy to make it easier for the Pro-Am golfers, lowest sand save percentage of any course on tour, small greens and huge bunkers (including the huge 20 ft deep bunker), overseeded Bermuda greens

PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course (Rounds 1-3)

Par 72, 7181 yds, one of the top 10 easiest courses on tour every year, all the Par 5s are reachable, average to large fairways with lots of bunkers and water, rough isn’t very thick, undulating multi-tiered large greens, overseeded Bermuda greens, there’s been multiple 59s shot on this course

La Quinta Country Club (Rounds 1-3)

Par 72, 7060 yds, one of the top 3 easiest course on tour, tree-lined average sized fairways, average greens with a little bit of trouble around them, average sized overseeded Bermuda greens

Tournament Notes

  • Formerly known as the Desert Classic, CareerBuilder Challenge and Bob Hope Classic
  • Three-course rotation of this event with a 54-hole cut and the shitty Pro-Am format that makes this thing pretty much unwatchable till Sunday, since it takes forever with 6 hour rounds
  • Course setup rounds 1-3 easier since normal people (usually a bunch of executives from PGA Tour sponsors, won’t see all the celebrities you see at Pebble) have to play with the pros
  • Birdiefest, the winner of this event has never been worse than -20
  • Longer players won’t hit drivers as often here
  • A lot of long shots win this event (other than Rahm when he won in 2018)
  • 13 of the last 14 winners here have played in at least one of the two Hawaii events the year that they won
  • 9 of the last 10 winners here have played this event before the year they won
  • 8 of the last 11 winners have had a T15 in one of their last seven starts prior to winning here
  • TV broadcast of this event is fucking awful, arguably worse than Pebble Beach with the Stadium Course being the only one with Shotlink and TV cameras
  • Because only the Stadium Course has Shotlink data, all SG data historically is from just that course, besides scoring (birdie+, etc)
  • Historical advantage of starting at La Quinta first but this is partially cause the best players start here since then they’re on TV at the Stadium Course on Saturday
  • 80% of all Par 4s on these courses are in the 350-450 yard range

Key Stats

Approach, Good Drives, Proximity 150-175 yards

Main proximity distance range on approach: 150-175 yds (24.4%)


Fantastic field strength for this event, the best it’s ever been for this event by far with 10 of the top 20 golfers in the world

Last Year Champion: Hudson Swafford (-23) – not defending since he’s on LIV now

Runner Up Last Year: Tom Hoge (-21)

One and Done: Tony Finau

One and Done Considerations: Finau, Scheffler, Tom Kim


Tony Finau: 10200: +ODDS – Hottest golfer in the world to close out last season, 7,1,MC,9,28,5,1,1 finishes in his last eight events, 40,4,14,MC,59 finishes here, 4th in Approach, 7th in SG: OTT, 1st in Good Drives, 93rd in Proximity 150-175 yds, 9th in Par 3 Scoring, 1st in Par 4 Scoring, 21st in Par 5 Scoring, 38th in Sand Saves, 12th in SG: ARG, 4th in Putting, 11th in Opportunities Gained, 1st in Birdie+ Gained

Tom Kim: 9500: +ODDS – Lost a ton of strokes and has been good at rebounding after a week where he putts horribly, MC here last year, MC,5,11,25,1,54,13,1,7 finishes in his last nine events, 1st in Approach, 34th in SG: OTT, 10th in Good Drives, 5th in Proximity 150-175 yds, 1st in Par 3 Scoring, 17th in Par 4 Scoring, 25th in Par 5 Scoring, 121st in Sand Saves, 25th in SG: ARG, 68th in Putting, 7th in Opportunities Gained, 6th in Birdie+ Gained

Cameron Davis: 8800: +ODDS – 3,29,28 finishes in his three times here, 32,13,29,37,MC,35,13,14,16,8 finishes in his last ten events, 18th in Approach, 19th in SG: OTT, 106th in Good Drives, 30th in Proximity 150-175 yds, 23rd in Par 3 Scoring, 47th in Par 4 Scoring, 4th in Par 5 Scoring, 57th in Sand Saves, 38th in SG: ARG, 65th in Putting, 3rd in Opportunities Gained, 9th in Birdie+ Gained

Tom Hoge: 8400: +ODDS – Finished 2nd here last year with 2,MC,6,MC,57,MC,MC finishes here, 41,3,MC,MC,13,9,4,12,10 finishes in his last nine events, 2nd in Approach, 66th in SG: OTT, 12th in Good Drives, 38th in Proximity 150-175 yds, 44th in Par 3 Scoring, 10th in Par 4 Scoring, 62nd in Par 5 Scoring, 56th in Sand Saves, 152nd in SG: ARG, 43rd in Putting, 1st in Opportunities Gained, 16th in Birdie+ Gained

Callum Tarren: 7200: +ODDS – MC here last year, 2,26,MC,MC,MC,13 finishes his last six events, 10th in Approach, 48th in SG: OTT, 41st in Good Drives, 77th in Proximity 150-175 yds, 62nd in Par 3 Scoring, 16th in Par 4 Scoring, 120th in Par 5 Scoring, 40th in Sand Saves, 53rd in SG: ARG, 18th in Putting, 35th in Opportunities Gained, 36th in Birdie+ Gained

Matthew NeSmith: 7100: +ODDS – Really pops on my model this week, MC,MC,17 finishes here, MC,53,9,2,9 finishes in his last five events, 8th in Approach, 75th in SG: OTT, 8th in Good Drives, 12th in Proximity 150-175 yds, 21st in Par 3 Scoring, 81st in Par 4 Scoring, 18th in Par 5 Scoring, 55th in Sand Saves, 103rd in SG: ARG, 73rd in Putting, 49th in Opportunities Gained, 17th in Birdie+ Gained

Mark Hubbard: 7000: +ODDS – MC,43,MC,28,20 finishes here, MC,MC,MC,66,28,5,21 finishes his last seven events, 6th in Approach, 97th in SG: OTT, 25th in Good Drives, 3rd in Proximity 150-175 yds, 29th in Par 3 Scoring, 39th in Par 4 Scoring, 69th in Par 5 Scoring, 27th in Sand Saves, 82nd in SG: ARG, 39th in Putting, 23rd in Opportunities Gained, 83rd in Birdie+ Gained


Approach (20%)

SG: OTT (5%)

Good Drives (10%)

Proximity 150-175 yds (10%)

Par 3 Scoring (5%)

Par 4 Scoring (5%)

Par 5 Scoring (5%)

Sand Saves (5%)

SG: ARG (5%)

Putting (5%)

Opportunities Gained (10%)

Birdie+ Gained (10%)

Stats based on past 36 rounds

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • Because of the 54 hole cut, missed cuts aren’t quite as detrimental to lineups, so being more aggressive with higher upside plays are a smart idea this week on DraftKings
  • First round leaders typically will not start on the Stadium Course
  • Showdown slates and some possible matchups might have some advantages based on the course golfers are on that day



.72u Tony Finau (+1400)

.4 Tom Kim (+2500)

.24u Tom Hoge (+4300)

.24u Cameron Davis (+4500)

.08u Callum Tarren (+15000)

.08u Matthew NeSmith (+15000)

.08u Mark Hubbard (+15000)

T6 Each Ways

.08u Callum Tarren (+3000)

.08u Matthew NeSmith (+3000)

.08u Mark Hubbard (+3000)

DraftKings Lineups

Lineup 1: Finau, T. Kim, Hoge, Tarren, NeSmith, Hubbard

Lineup 2: Finau, T. Kim, Davis, Tarren, NeSmith, Hubbard


$20 GPP ($100k to 1st)

$25 Single Entry Double Up

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