With our resident PGA guru, Drew Phelps, taking the family on a much-needed vacation, I’m stepping in to cover this week’s PGA DFS Playbook for the American Express tournament as the PGA Tour begins its early-season West Coast swing. We’re coming off a dramatic playoff finish at the Sony Open last week to wrap up the Hawaii swing. Grayson Murray got the win over Keegan Bradley and Byeong Hun An to claim his second career win. But the PGA Tour returns to the continental United States for the American Express in La Quinta, California. Despite Drew being on vacation this week, we’ll still have you covered with a full Playbook breakdown, PGA DFS Projections, PGA DFS Rostership Projections, and we’ll offer up some PGA DFS Example Lineups as well. Let’s take a look at what to expect from this weekend’s action.
This weekend will give us a 54-hole cut as everyone in the field will play three different courses: La Quinta Country Club (LQ), the Jack Nicklaus-designed Tournament Course (NT), and the Pete Dye Stadium Course (SC). Everyone will play the Stadium Course at least once, and they’ll play it again on Sunday if they make the cut after 54 holes. La Quinta and the Tournament Course are among the easier courses on tour each and every year. For the most part, La Quinta has ranked among the five easiest courses annually while the Tournament Course has been in the top 10 as well, but it actually provided a lower average score than the other two courses in 2023. If you’re playing Showdown slates for the first three rounds, you’ll likely want to target players teeing it up at La Quinta or the Tournament Course. Here you can find the groups and who will be playing which course for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday…
Now all three courses are relatively short Par 72 courses. Per usual, strong approach play will be looked at and we also want players that score well on Par 3’s and Par 5’s. The Par 5’s in particular are very easy to approach in two shots given the short layout of the whole course. But we also know that this Tournament can turn into a putting contest. So I’ve made sure to touch on some players in the pool below that have looked great with the putter of late. Sure, Scottie Scheffler is a notoriously poor golfer, but he made the breakdown below because of his outstanding tee-to-green play.
Also it’s worth being mindful that this is a Pro-AM event. That means we’re due for some very long rounds this week. Likely between five and six hours in length so don’t be surprised if it takes a hot minute for scoring to update wherever you may follow it. This format may benefit the players who tend to play slower (looking at you, Cantlay).
One and Done Pick: Taylor Montgomery
Strategy was discussed a little bit in our PGA DFS Discord about the One and Done pick this week. Obviously, you can never go wrong with someone like Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, or Patrick Cantlay. But the winner of the event only takes home $1.512 million so it’s not the greatest purse and you probably want to save the bigger names for the larger takedowns. I’m leaning Montgomery currently, but Sungjae Im was the other player I went back-and-forth over. Both made the Playbook below and I think there’s a strong case for either player. But we saw Montgomery start the 2023 season in similar fashion before he cooled off over the summer. For that reason, I think it’s a good time to use Montgomery who is known as one of the better putters on the PGA Tour and has popped up in many circles as a solid bet to win if you grabbed him at 80-1.