Barry Plummer has everything you need to know as the PGA Tour returns to the mainland, including three players he'll be backing to challenge
With an early win followed by a bold effort from a three-figure longshot, we can fondly wave farewell to Hawaii for another year. With a 50 per cent strike rate on the PGA Tour so far, I am looking to build on a great start and I believe I can do that with three top-value tips at the American Express. But before I get to my golf betting tips…
The American Express details
Venue: PGA West, California
Date: January 20-23, 2022
Course stats: Par 72; 7,113 yards (Stadium); Par 72; 7,160 yards (Nicklaus)
Course summary: The field will play a round on each of PGA West’s Stadium and Nicklaus courses before a weekend on the former. The Pete Dye-designed Stadium course typically plays two or more strokes harder on average than the Nicklaus, largely due to troublesome rough, heavy bunkering, and water in play on two thirds of the holes. Both courses use Bermudagrass greens, with the latter much more generous from the tee and an opportunity for the bombers to let it rip. Players will be hoping to capitalise on their round at the Nicklaus as they jockey for position heading into the weekend.
Purse: $7.6 million
Defending champion: Si Woo Kim (-23)
The American Express TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 5pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm
The American Express golf betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Patrick Cantlay – 4pt win @ 9/1 with Bet365
When Cantlay finds a course he likes, the rest of the field really do have a fight on their hands. This could be one one of those weeks.
The American has finished 2nd and 9th in his last two visits, while he also has form on correlating courses, notably when winning at Caves Valley in 2021. The reigning FedEx Cup champion has some of the best stats around in the last six months – ranking 1st for SG: Total among the top 150 players in the world.
While a short price favourite may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t deny he is on a frightening run of form. Four top-11 finishes in a row, including a win and two top-5s, make him one of the hottest players on the planet. Ignore him at your peril.
The Each-Way Play: Sung-jae Im – 2.5pt e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365
This again appears on the face to be a short-priced each-way play for this week’s card, but I can’t resist Im based on the evidence.
The South Korean has finished 12th on his last two visits to this event, and with three top 10s in his last five events he certainly has momentum to improve on that.
Im also has strong correlating course form, with a 3rd-place finish at Narashino in 2019 and at Caves Valley when chasing home Cantlay last time out. In the last six months, Im ranks 11th for SG: Total and has demonstrated a tenacious consistency that could make him the second South Korean to win this event in the last two editions.
The Long Shot: Francesco Molinari – 0.5pt e/w @ 150/1 with bet365
The romantic in me is longing for a Francesco Molinari resurgence – and this could be the first step to making that happen. The 2018 Champion Golfer of the Year has certainly seen better days, but an encouraging 8th-place finish in this event last year gives me enough confidence to include him.
Molinari was also 12th in this competition back in 2017, and while his form at the end of 2021 was less than impressive, he did manage to string together a run of four consecutive cuts made. This pick is made more on a feeling than anything substantial, with a foundation built on some strong course form in recent years, but this be one of the sweetest wins so far if Molinari pulls it off at a three-figure price.
For more prices, visit bet365.