It’s the tournament that Hope built, Bob Hope that is! The legendary actor and comedian made this tournament his showcase as host before his passing. Now, after year two of the name change, the 2021 American Express, is set to tee off with a strong field including last week's winner Kevin Na as one of the Favorites.
Na stormed through the field at the Sony Open last week after coming in at a +6600 for the opening round. This week Na has earned some respect and comes in at +3300. That’s a nice jump, but he’s not the betting favorite.
Patrick Cantlay comes in as the favorite to win outright at +1200 after Jon Rahm suddenly withdrew on Monday. Rahm was the lone favorite according to some sportsbooks ranging from +600 to +700. No reason was given by the PGA and tournament officials for the WD by Rahm. Cantlay is followed by Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed – both at +1600.
Where: La Quinta, California & Palm Desert, California
Course: PGA West Stadium Course / PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course
Format: Stroke Play
Par: 72 (all courses)
Length: 7,113 yards (PGA West Stadium), 7,204 yards (Nicklaus Tournament)
When: January 21 –14, 2021
Purse: $6.7 Million
TV Coverage: NBC, Golf Channel, Peacock
The American Express continues its Bob Hope Desert Classic history by being one of the largest pro-am events on the Tour. The event is played across several Palm Beach area courses with the final day of play for PGA pros coming on Sunday at the Stadium Course.
The Stadium Course is a classic California set of links. It was designed by Pete Dye and features deep bunkers, immaculate green landing areas with manicured natural boundaries. Serval holes play over, and around water… it’s Pebble Beach!
Wind and mist can come into play due to the natural surroundings but when the weather is nice the course is picturesque. The grass is Bermuda, with native grasses. Opportunities for birdies are available on several shorter par five holes. Long irons, wedges, and a hot putter will be critical on the par 3’s.
Scottie Scheffler comes in at +1600 and probably has a score to settle. Last year he stormed through the field going 65, 64, and 66 before finishing with a 70 and a solo third-place finish. After that round, he missed the next two cuts but bounced back to be one of the strongest players on Tour. He started 2021 with a FedEx rank of No. 122 but it now stands at No. 67 with a run of top-20 finishes.
Patrick Reed +1600
Sorry to go +1600 with back to back players… but Patrick Reed and Scheffler should be towards the top of the board every round. They both seem to know these courses and the quirks of such a celebrity-packed event like Pebble Beach seems to draw. Reed won this tournament back in 2014 and has finished T14 or better in all three of his 2021 tournaments so far. He finished 2020 by T8 at the Tour Championship.
Adam Hadwin +5000
I’m skipping past Brooks Koepka because his recovery from knee surgery continues. Passing on a few other bigger names in the field. That being said, there is one name I can’t get out of my head when it comes to this tournament over the last several years. Adam Hadwin comes in as a plat at +5000. He’s been strong in this event with a T2 in 2019 and 2017.
Others I Like: You can’t count out Phil Mickelson (+4000) at the American Express. He’s won it twice, finished T2 two years ago, and seems to always be a threat at Pebble Beach. Adam Landry (+12500) is an awesome darkhorse pick. Landry is the defending Champion of this event also finished T2 in 2018.
Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and
sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional
culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles
Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history
and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My
books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and
sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of
Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a
celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network.
He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:
·Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
·Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing
·The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook,
as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West
Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.
·The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A
·Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of
·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
the Mountains Smokey?
Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies
include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H.
Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson,
hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That
show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50
Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard
Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service
Specialist and National Branch Chief.
Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY
Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram