The American Express Betting Tip
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The American Express is a newly named, but long established event held in the Californian Desert. Previously known as the Bob Hope Classic (played over 90 holes) and more recently as the Humana Challenge, the American Express is played across three courses (similar to the Pebble Beach Pro AM), and is known for its low scoring and eventful, tight, finishes. Each of the courses provides a slightly different challenge, but all are good low scoring venues, and the winning score is typically around 25 under par. All of the courses are in the desert around Palm Springs, two hours drive east from Los Angeles.
La Quinta Country Club - 7,060 Yards, Par 72
La Quinta is the easiest of the three courses with no real discernible challenges. At just over 7,000 yards it is the shortest of the three courses and the wide fairways and sparse rough pose no real challenge to the players. The game at La Quinta is to hit the ball as far as you can with no real emphasis on accuracy, and it's then a wedge and putt game. Anyone who has a hot putting day can easily go as low as 8 under par at La Quinta. It is used for just one round for each player, and is where the lowest scores are made. If backing anyone in play, look to be on those that are still yet to play La Quinta.
PGA West Stadium Course - 7,200 Yards, Par 72
The PGA West is the toughest of the three courses is the rotation, and typically plays 2.2 shots more difficult than each of La Quinta and the Tournament Course. Designed by Pete Dye who is the architect of many of the more quirky and challenging courses on Tour such as TPC Sawgrass and Kiawah Island, the Stadium Course has extensive bunkering and water in play on 9 holes; predominantly protecting the approach shots, although the huge lake that runs the length of the left side of the par 5 18th hole is as iconic as it is treacherous. From the tee there is more difficulty than the other venues with man made mounds and bunkers at landing distance meaning that the players have to put more thought into their long game and cannot just unload drives as they can at the other two, shorter, courses. The approach shots are tricky. As well as the bunkering, there is water and run off areas to contend with, and mistakes here, though not easy to come by, are punished. There are four reachable par 5s, and par 5 scoring is a huge driver to success at this venue. The Stadium Course is played twice by each player (that makes the 54 hole cut) and all remaining players compete here on Sunday.
PGA West Tournament Course - 7,160 Yards, Par 72
Finally, and again used once for each player over the course of the week, we have the Tournament Course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1987 (and formerly referred to as The Nicklaus Course), this is another easy resort course where the players just need to hit it long, and effectively hope that they get lucky on the greens. The tee shots here are as easy as at La Quinta with little to no effort required, and even the worst drivers of the ball are able to pull the big dog without fear of repercussions. The approach shots do become a little more challenging with the ryegrass around the greens making for some harder into the grain chip shots. Overall though, this is another course where anyone playing well, and hot with the putter should, and will, go low.
Last Five Winners
The Market Leaders
The field for this tournament is always so hard to anticipate, and this year is no different with a real mix of talents past, present, and future vying for the title on low scoring golf courses where anyone can have their week, and it makes, as ever, for a fascinating betting heat. In form American Rickie Fowler (11/1), fresh off a 5th in Hawaii two weeks ago leads the market, but that lies more in the desperation to select a leader than of being reflective of his slim chances of success. Fowler is an exceptional golfer, and has challenged for some of the biggest titles around some of the toughest tracks in the World, but this set up in Palm Springs is very unlikely to bring out the best in him. On flat, easy, courses, Rickie's strengths over the field are nulled, and he has a missed cut and 33rd on his two previous appearances here in the last ten years. Expect little better this week and move on.
Sungjae Im (16/1) sits next in the betting and looks a slightly more attractive proposition having opened his 2020 campaign with a top 20 in Waialae last week. Im falls into a similar category as Fowler in that he has the game to contend and win at far tougher and more rewarding venues than this, but he still remains winless on the PGA Tour despite producing excellent golf, and he won't be lacking in motivation to break that duck here. Last year Im produced rounds of 65 and 64, and definitely has the game on his day to improve upon the 12th placed finish which those rounds yielded. There are so many contenders, though, that it's tough to pick him out of the field at these odds.
Paul Casey (18/1) is in the same category as Fowler. This course is totally unsuited to him, and his being here is confusing as anything other than a week in Palm Springs with the family. With a 58th and a missed cut his record is even worse than Fowler's, and that won't be getting any better this week. Tony Finau (20/1) has a third here in 2013, and despite two poor returns since probably represents better value than those above him in the market. With a 5th last week in tough conditions, he will be glad of the respite on offer in the desert. Finau needs a hot week on the greens, and he is capable of one. His long game suits all three courses well.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Following his playoff loss after such an impressive week last week, I’m surprised to find Brendan Steel so far away from the top of the market on a course where he has finishes of 2nd and 6th over the past four years, and where he has made five consecutive cuts. Steele is clearly comfortable playing this desert triumvirate and coming here in such strong form cannot be dismissed. Steele has a very solid game, he is accurate with his irons, and last week he putted the lights out at Waialae. His weakness has generally been his driving, but more than that he has struggled with the mental side of the game at times, and he seems to be well in control of that at the moment. Before his 2nd four years ago, Steele had no form coming in here, and that was the same two years later when he again ended up inside the top 6. Headed to Palm Springs striking his irons like he did in the Hawaiian winds last week, and with such a touch around the greens, it's hard to see him not mounting a challenge if he gets on the right side of the draw and can continue last week's momentum here. I shall be having 2 points e/w at 60/1.
I initially had Ancer as my headline pick, but I flipped him for Brendan Steele at the last moment. The 28 year old from just over the border in Mexico was the stand out player for the International Team at the President's Cup on the back of a couple of great performances in Japan and Korea on low scoring golf courses, and with a solid start to 2020 made last week, he is easy to keep onside here. This will be Ancer's 5th appearance at the event, and his past results have gotten progressively better with three cuts made from four, and his first top 20 last year. Ancer is an aggressive player who is well suited to easier venues. He loves to go at the flags, and his all or nothing style could be just what is needed to contend here in the calm conditions. I am of no doubt that scores are going to be as low as ever this week, and Ancer is as capable as any of being the player to hit those low numbers. Last year a 3rd round 73 dropped him out of contention, but he has shown in the last 24 months that he is capable of shooting 66 or less on all 4 courses. That would combine for 24 under par, and that for me is the winning mark. A better than ever Ancer can hit that, and for me he is a good play this week with 2 points e/w at 40/1.
Wyndham Clark was a fresh faced Tour rookie when he turned up at this event last year. An opening 65 saw him just one back through the first day, but he couldn't maintain that momentum and a top 20 was the best that he could manage. Over the next couple of months the big hitting 26 year old would go on to record three more top 20s before falling away over the second half of the season. Importantly for Clark, he had done enough to maintain his card, and he is back again for more, going off at the same 125/1 that he was last season. Though Clark has not been playing to the same level as perhaps the majority of this field, this is the perfect outlet for him to turn that around. He has generally struggled with his long game, and that is far less of a factor this week where he can just pull the driver and be aggressive. I was as disappointed as anyone with the end of 2019 for Clark, but his chances at an event like this have improved greatly from last year. One good round and he will be right in the mix, so i cannot avoid backing him, and shall be having 2 points e/w at 125/1.
Following a rolling profit of 463 points in 2019, I am looking for an even better 2020. Each week I will pick between 2 to 4 selections at each event on the European and PGA Tours, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||-11 Points|
|PGA Tour||+50 Points|
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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