For those who thought John Rahm’s on-course comments about The American Express might keep the Spanish superstar out of the action this year, Rahm says that was certainly never a consideration.
“Obviously it’s a great event for me and it has a lot of history with Arnie’s legacy here as well,” said Ram. “I’ve loved it every time I’ve come here, despite what I said on the golf course last year. This is just a player coming out of some frustration.”
Ram was caught last year walking from hole to hole saying the tournament was a putting competition, adding a few select words to his comments. He later explained that tournament pins in pro locations do not place more bonuses on strong iron play, which is one of Ram’s strengths. Ram won the championship in 2018 on the same three courses used last year and this year.
Top 10 machines
more:Winning changes everything when he returns to American Express, says Tony Finau
Three golfers have finished in the top 10 on American Express in each of the past two years. You might have expected Patrick Cantlay to be in that group, but the other two are Brian Harman and Francesco Molinari. Harman is a two-time winner and most recently won the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship and has 26 top 10 players on tour since the start of the 2017-18 season, the most by any winless player in that span. Molinari tied for sixth was his top ten finish on the PGA Tour last year. Cantlay won twice last season and his 12 wins finish in the top 10 in 2021-22. Si Woo Kim barely missed out on joining that group, as he won the 2021 event and finished 11th in 2022.
Determine the importance of the PGA Tour
Scotty Scheffler is a member of the Players’ Advisory Council on the PGA Tour this year, and after a tumultuous 2022, Scheffler is happy to have a say in Tour matters.
“With LIV that’s kind of the obvious deal that we had to make some changes in order to improve our tour in a different way,” Scheffler said. “For me, I have the opportunity to be in the PAC and talk to guys from all different levels of our tour, whether that’s a guy who’s 100 on the money list or a first, it’s nice to be in the room and have those conversations and see what collectively works best.” We all want this tour to be a success.
“I just want to be in a position to help,” he added. “So it should be a good year for us in the PAC and we have a good group of players and hopefully we can continue to improve our tour.”
Finau Indian food
Tony Finau says he probably would be a chef if he weren’t one of the best players on the PGA Tour. And he had some favorite things when he was cooking.
“I love to cook chicken curry. “I love eating chicken curry and I love eating curry dishes,” said Finau. “I love Indian food. So I would say I’m very good at it, because I cook it a lot.
“I would say my kids love a good steak. I’m very good at grilling. I enjoy grilling as well. So these are probably my main dishes. We love meat,” said Fino, laughing.
Having five players in the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking is part of the story of how strong the course has been at The American Express this year. But there are other ways to gauge the strength of the field this week. For example, of the 156 players in the tournament, 79 have won at least one PGA Tour event. Ten golfers have won at least one major championship. Jason Day and Zach Johnson have the most PGA Tour wins for players in the field, with 12 each.
Back to the field
While part of the strength of the playing field on The American Express this year is players like Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris returning to the tournament with higher ratings, at least one of the industry’s best players has been missing from La Quinta lately. This is Xander Schauffele, the #6 player and Olympic gold medalist in men’s golf in 2021. Schauffele is a Southern California native from San Diego who played college golf at San Diego State. But he hasn’t played on The American Express since 2017, his rookie year on tour. He missed the cut that year, as he did in 2016 when he played in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption.