Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020/21 PGA Tour: American Express

2020/21 PGA Tour: American Express

The tour returns to the continental US and the beginning of the West Coast Swing. This means a load of primetime golf preceding the Florida Swing and ultimately the Masters. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2020/2021 US PGA Tour | American Express
TPC Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course, PGA West, La Quinta, California
Thursday 21 January - Sunday 24 January

Anytime Kevin Na wins it feels like everybody wins. The affable American was in blistering form last time out in Hawaii and once again tees it up this week. This event began life way back in 1960, originally known as the Palm Springs Desert Golf Challenge. Between 1965 and 2012 it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. The tournament stagnated in that period, with many attributing that to the outmoded five-round format. After Humana took over sponsorship duties in 2012 it was trimmed down to four rounds. Phil Mickelson will once again take on hosting duties in a markedly different set of circumstances.  

Ordinarily, a Pro-Am event staged over three courses, the COVID-19 Pandemic has necessitated a scrapping of the Pro-Am dynamic. Furthermore, only two courses will be used this year: The TPC Stadium Course and The Nicklaus Tournament Course. The organizers have decided to drop La Quinta (which traditionally played easiest of all courses). The TPC Stadium Course is a Pete Dye design that is always the toughest test: it will also play host to three of the four rounds. The Nicklaus Tournament Course, clearly designed by Jack Nicklaus, is slightly easier.  It’s forgiving off the tee but trickier around the greens. Clearly, the organizers may have to tinker with the courses slightly this year without the amateurs to consider. Driving stats will prove irrelevant in what will be a birdie-fest. Look for hot putters in California this week.  

California native Patrick Cantlay will lead the markets following Jon Rahm’s late withdrawal. The American was in contention at the Sentry Tournament of Champions before fading quite dramatically. 2014 champion Patrick Reed was disappointing at the Sentry event but may have recovered from debilitating shin splints. Brooks Koepka is floating under the radar and will be looking for something positive this week. The likes of Sungjae Im and Abraham Ancer could also be in contention this week. It will also be interesting to see if tournament host Phil Mickelson can neatly juggle his responsibilities and remain competitive this week.  

Past Winners
2020: Andrew Landry (-26)
2019: Adam Long (-26)
2018: Jon Rahm (-22) *playoff 
2017: Hudson Swafford (-20)
2016: Jason Dufner (-25)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Patrick Cantlay (12/1)
Patrick Reed (16/1)
Scottie Scheffler (16/1)
Brooks Koepka (18/1)
Sungjae Im (20/1)

Value Bets

Sam Burns
To Win (55/1), To Place (12/1)
Sam Burns is a guy who has shown steady progress in this event. After a T18 on debut in 2019 he finished in a tie for 6th last year. That was highlighted by a record-equalling 63 in the final round. Burns is a risk in the sense that he hasn’t teed it up since November. But his year-end form was remarkably solid.  He had four top 25 finishes in his last five starts. That includes a pair of T7’s at the Houston Open and Safeway Open. He currently sits 5th on tour in GIR and 15th in Birdie Average. He could thrive in a field that one would hardly consider stellar.  

James Hahn
To Win (100/1), To Place (22/1)
It’s easy to forget that Hahn was once ranked 52nd in the world rankings: that ranking came in the aftermath of his victory at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship. That was his 2nd victory after taking down Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey to win the 2015 Northern Trust Open. But loss of form and injury have majorly curtailed Hahn’s progress. He missed eight months in 2019 due to an elbow injury: he is actually playing on medical exemption. But he enjoyed a great start to the wraparound season, with top 10’s in three events. Furthermore, he has finishes of T9 and T13 in his last two California starts. He shot rounds of 68-65-66-70 at last week’s Sony Open and he looks like great value at 100/1.  

The Man to Beat

Abraham Ancer
To Win (25/1), To Place (11/2)
Abraham Ancer is approaching Tony Finau levels of notoriety for his inability to see events out. But the three-time PGA runner-up may find this week the ideal time to register his maiden victory. He nearly won this event 12 months ago, only pipped to the post by the inspired Andrew Landry. Just after lockdown, Ancer once again came within a whisker of winning at the RBC Heritage - only for an inspired Webb Simpson to narrowly beat him. The Stadium Course will host three of the rounds this year: Ancer shots rounds of 66 and 63 here last year. Ancer earned a place in the final three-ball of last year’s Masters, showing just how much class he has.  

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