Before we get into the American Express preview, a quick word on last week’s golf. It was another week of near misses for us on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open. All 7 of our betting selections for the week made the cut. We again had several contenders, with 3 players in the Top 10 for the second consecutive week. The most likely of those was Russell Henley, who looked a likely winner for much of Sunday. Sitting at -8 through 13 holes, he unfortunately got the speed wobbles to play his final 5 holes at +1 and miss a play-off by a single stroke. We cash a top 5 place on him at +625.
Our best value bet was Emiliano Grillo, selected at 80/1. He just missed a top 5 and cashed his top 20 at +350. Also included was Zac Blair in 30th, who was priced at 250/1. For DFS, he was $6,300 and just 3% owned. This provided a great salary saving and leverage on the rest of the field. He easily cashed our Top 40 bet at a generous +333. All promising signs from the golf ahead of our American Express preview.
Fact is, there is always an element of luck when it comes to any sport. Overall, the process is looking very sound after a fantastic first two weeks of the season. Eventually, we will see some big winners convert as the season unfolds and the more our selections remain in close contention. It’s a strong golf tournament this week, with a decent field rivalling those seen in designated events, but we will speak about some of the inherent volatility this week in our American Express preview.
The American Express is the first golf tournament we preview in what I’ve colloquially dubbed “course rotation season”. That will of course be followed by two other pro-am events, with the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to follow. This can prove a nightmare for many golf punters and DFS players alike.
Of the three courses on offer, La Quinta Country Club is both the shortest at 7,060 par 72 and the easiest for scoring. The majority of these holes are very short. There are just two par 4s over 450 yards, sitting at 454 and 469 yards which is pretty standard on the PGA Tour. The four par 5s are all under 547 yards and should be reachable in two for almost all of the field.
The other two golf courses at PGA West, the Nicklaus Stadium Course and the Pete Dye Stadium Course, are about 100 yards longer and a little more difficult. Driving distance does become more of a consideration at these courses. Par 5 scoring is essential on all three courses. Therefore, having a modicum of length of the tee is a real bonus. With three rounds played on these courses, with all golfers playing the Pete Dye Stadium Course again on Sunday, we have seen an uptick in correlation between driving distance and success at this event.
Then, of course, there is the infamous Jon Rahm quote where we referred to the tournament as a “putting contest”. There may have been some more fruitful language in the full quote. In some ways, he is completely right. A score of -25 to -30 will be required here. With that comes the unpredictability of this event. Therefore, it should be no surprise the average odds of the eventual winner have been a whopping 130/1.
It should also be no surprise in our American Express Golf Preview that course history is not that influential at PGA West. Given the volatility that comes with this tournament, it follows that prior course form isn’t a fantastic predictor of performance. Of course, if a golfer has a great history at this event it can still play a factor in your decision. Conversely, I’m not going to be overly penal on a golfer if they don’t have a stellar history at this tournament.
The AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch could provide a good parallel. The tournament is on another desert course with equally low scoring. Since moving to TPC Craig Ranch in 2021, the tournament has been won at -25, -26, and -23.
Finally, the Shriners Children’s Open played in the desert of Las Vegas bears consideration. It is another low-scoring affair where you need to shoot -6 every day to remain in contention. The short par 4s on that course are a nice correlation. Additionally, as is the uptick in SG: Putting required at TPC Summerlin.
A short word on the weather. Obviously, with three different golf courses in-play there are a confluence of factors that make any developing weather edge more difficult to discern. In positive news, the winds look dead still for the first three days of the tournament. A little wind and rain may move into the region on Sunday. It will be insufficient to put any halt on the birdie-fest.
Thank you for reading my American Express Golf preview and tournament analysis.If you would like access to my golf betting tips and player profiles for the American Express, read this article here. Premium customers can also find these in the WinDaily Premium Discord in the golf bets channel.
A golf betting article will also follow, with player profiles of our selections. To be released approximately 6am ET on 18 January.
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David takes the business international, joining the team from New Zealand and having grown up in Dubai. It was when living in the Middle East where he first developed his love of golf whilst working at local DP World Tour events, getting inside the ropes with the world’s best, and being fortunate enough to be coached as a junior by elite instructor Justin Parsons. Despite having experience working in multiple other areas of the sports industry, golf remains his main passion. David relies heavily on data, agronomy, topography, and meteorology in providing his @DeepDiveGolf analysis and betting tips for both the PGA and DP World Tour events. View Dave's P&L Tracker »
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