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Golf Glance: PGA Tour hits the desert as LPGA, Champions kick-start ’23

Jan 21, 2022; La Quinta, California, USA; Scottie Scheffler plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round of the American Express golf tournament at Nicklaus Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

PGA TOUR
LAST TOURNAMENT: Sony Open (Si Woo Kim)
THIS WEEK: The American Express, La Quinta, Calif., Jan. 19-22
Course: PGA West (Pete Dye Stadium Course Par 72, 7,158 yards; Nicklaus Tournament, Par 72, 7,147 yards; La Quinta CC, Par 72, 7,060 yards)
Purse: $8M (Winner: $1.44M)
Defending Champion: Hudson Swafford
FedEx Cup leader: Seamus Power
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Sunday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Twitter: @TheAmExGolf
NOTES: The 154-player field includes five of the top 10 players in the world rankings: No. 2 Scottie Scheffler, No. 4 Jon Rahm, No. 5 Patrick Cantlay, No. 6 Xander Schauffele and No. 7 Will Zalatoris. Scheffler and Cantlay have mathematical chances to move to No. 1 after this week. … This is one of two Pro-Ams on tour along with the AT&T Pebble Beach. Pros will be paired with an amateur and play a round at each course over the first three rounds, with the low 65 pros (and ties) playing the final round on the Stadium Course. … Schauffele returns after withdrawing from the Tournament of Champions due to a back injury. … The winning margin has been two shots or less every year since the event moved to a 72-hole format in 2012. … Kim is seeking to be the first player to win in consecutive weeks on tour since Finau in 2021-22 (3M Open, Rocket Mortgage Classic). … Brian Harman has top-10s in the American Express each of the past two years. His 26 top-10s on tour since the start of the 2017-18 season are most among players without a win during that span. … Chad Ramey and Chris Stroud withdrew and were replaced in the field by Charley Hoffman and Dylan Wu, respectively. … J.T. Poston has moved into the top 50 in world for the first time in his career.
BEST BETS: Rahm (+600 at BetMGM) won the event in 2018 and is coming off a victory in the Tournament of Champions. His streak of 20 consecutive cuts made is the longest on tour. … Scheffler (+1000) held a share of the lead after the second a third rounds in 2020 before finishing third, and enters with three consecutive top-10 finishes on tour. … Cantlay (+1100) has three consecutive top-10s in the event, including a runner-up in 2021. He holds a scoring average of 67.17 and has averaged 6.17 birdies per round in four previous event starts. … Tony Finau (+1400) has three wins and six top-10s in his past eight starts. … Tom Kim is a two-time winner on tour at 20 years old and has risen to 14th in the world. … Zalatoris (+2000) finished T6 in his tournament debut last year, including a second-round 61…. Andrew Landy (+40000) has missed 21 of 37 cuts over the past two years with only two top-10s in that span. However, he does have three top-two finishes in his PGA Tour career – two of them being a playoff loss to Rahm in 2018 and a win at the American Express two years later.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Farmers Insurance Open, San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25-28

LPGA Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: CME Group Tour Championship (Lydia Ko)
THIS WEEK: Tournament of Champions, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 19-22 (Par 72, 6,608 yards)
Course: Lake Nona Golf and Country Club
Purse: $1.5M (Winner: $225,000); Celebrities/Amateurs: $500,000 (Winner: $100,000)
Defending Champion: Danielle Kang
Race to the CME Globe leader: First Event
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 12-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 2-3 p.m. (GC), 3-5 p.m. (NBC)
Twitter: @HiltonGrandVac
NOTES: The field features 29 LPGA players competing in a 72-hole, no-cut stroke play event along with 53 celebrities and amateurs competing in a 72-hole, no-cut tournament using the Modified Stableford scoring format. The Stableford awards players 1 point for a bogey, 2 points for a par, 3 points for a birdie, 5 points for an eagle, 8 points for a hole-in-one and 10 points for a double eagle. No points are awarded for double bogey or worse. … Kang won by three shots over runner-up Brooke Henderson last year, while Derek Lowe defeated Annika Sorenstam on the first playoff hole of the celebrity event. … Lexi Thompson begins 2023 leading the U.S. Solheim Cup team standings with 258 points, followed by Nelly Korda (235), Kang (197), Jennifer Kupcho (187) and Andrea Lee (181). Maja Stark (168.17) leads the Team Europe standings, followed by Linn Grant (154.50), Carlota Ciganda (88.75), Pia Babnik (88.00) and Celine Boutier (82.07).
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Honda LPGA Thailand, Chonburi, Thailand, Feb. 23-26

Champions Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: Charles Schwab Championship (Padraig Harrington)
THIS WEEK: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hi., Jan. 19-21
Course: Hualalai GC (Par 72, 7,107 yards)
Purse: $2M (Winner: $340,000)
Defending Champion: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Charles Schwab Cub leader: First Event
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Saturday, 7-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Twitter: @MEC_Golf
NOTES: Hualalai is a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. … This is the opening event for the 44th year of the Champions tour. The $66 million in total prize money over 25 regular-season and three playoff events is a tour record. … Bernhard Langer, 65, has won on tour in 10 consecutive years and needs one victory to tie Hale Irwin’s all-time wins record of 45. … Steve Stricker is coming off a four-win 2022 campaign and has won 23.4 percent of his career starts on the Champions tour. … Reigning Cup champion Steven Alker has five wins and 27 top-10s in 33 starts since joining the tour in August 2021. … Padraig Harrington posted four wins and 10 top-three finishes in 19 starts in his first full season on tour in 2022.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Trophy Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco, Feb. 9-11

–Field Level Media