The PGA Tour’s West Coast swing begins at The American Express in La Quinta, California, on Thursday.
These previous two weeks may function a microcosm of what’s to come back on the PGA Tour.
South Korea’s Si Woo Kim, who received The American Express in 2021, returned to the winner’s circle on the Sony Open in Hawaii final week. He rallied from a 3-shot deficit over the ultimate three holes to choose up his fourth PGA Tour victory, doing so towards a leaderboard that did not embody many acquainted names.
None of the highest 10 gamers within the Official World Golf Ranking caught round for the second week in Hawaii, after most competed within the extra profitable Sentry Tournament of Champions to begin 2023. The handful of star gamers who had been there, together with Jordan Spieth, Tom Kim, Gary Woodland and Billy Horschel, missed the reduce.
Conversely, the sphere for The American Express, the event that Bob Hope made well-known within the California desert, is completely loaded. Five of the highest 10 gamers on this planet and 10 of the highest 20 are going to tee it up within the Coachella Valley. Scottie Scheffler is there. So is Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young.
Changes to the $100 million Player Impact Program necessities have been an excellent factor for The American Express, which has maybe its finest subject in a minimum of 20 years. The new PIP guidelines require gamers to compete in 20 tournaments, together with 12 elevated occasions, The Players, the 4 majors (in the event that they qualify) and three different tournaments of their selecting. Many selected to play in La Quinta.
“You want to beat the best, and I’m glad people are coming,” Rahm stated throughout a information convention on Wednesday. “It’s good that more players are trying more events. I think it’s due to some of the new events going on during the year. The fact that we have all those big events that we have to play, if we want to earn that PIP reward.
“That opens as much as all these, for example decrease occasions, that it’s good to play. It opens folks’s eyes to possibly some occasions they have not performed previously as a result of your schedule adjustments just a little bit. I do know I’m a kind of.”
Here’s what to watch in men’s professional golf this week:
What’s next on the PGA Tour
The American Express
Where: La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, California
Defending champion: Hudson Swafford
Purse: $8 million
Three storylines to watch:
Where’s Mickelson?: Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson was the official host of the American Express the past three years. But like many of Mickelson’s longtime sponsors, The American Express severed ties with him after his controversial comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian financiers of LIV Golf were published by author Alan Shipnuck in February 2022.
Another big change: The previous charitable arm of the tournament, the Mickelson Foundation, has been replaced by American Express’ Impact Through Golf, which will provide funding to local organizations.
Swafford, a two-time winner of the event, won’t be back to defend his title, either. He is among the PGA Tour players who were suspended by commissioner Jay Monahan for appearing in LIV Golf events without conflicting-event releases. Past champions and current LIV Golf players Patrick Reed and Pat Perez will be no-shows as well.
Two World No. 1s?: Rahm and other players have criticized the Official World Golf Ranking’s new formula for awarding more points to watered-down (but larger) fields than smaller (but more elite) fields, like the Tournament of Champions.
Now, according to calculations by a popular OWGR guru on Twitter, there could actually be co-No. 1s in the new world rankings on Monday — if No. 5-ranked Cantlay wins the American Express and No. 2-ranked Scheffler finishes solo eighth. There have never been co-No. 1s in the OWGR.
(that will change if there are further changes in the field)
— Nosferatu (@VC606) January 17, 2023
Under that scenario, according to the OWGR guru, current No. 1 player Rory McIlroy would drop to third.
Scheffler, who spent much of last season atop the rankings, was asked about sharing the top spot on Wednesday during a news conference.
“That can be fairly humorous,” Scheffler said. “I assume that is by no means occurred earlier than. Yeah, it could be just a little bit bizarre to have two No. 1s. Maybe have a putt-off or one thing to see who can be the true No. 1.”
Schauffele’s return: Schauffele, who was forced to pull out of the Tournament of Champions after the eighth hole of the second round because of an ailing back, is scheduled to tee off on Thursday. But he acknowledged his back is still bothering him.
“Yeah, it is just a bit sore,” Schauffele said. “I did nothing and I had a whole lot of work executed on it, so it is just a little sore. I’ve gotten in in all probability extra swings than I needed to in these final three days. So simply extra work to be executed on it. I obtained to be just a little bit extra affected person in my return.”
Schauffele said he probably spent too much time on the practice range the past few days.
“More swings than I needed,” he said. “I’m that golfer who’s type of like, ‘Just another,’ and it is like 50. You know what I imply? I’m that man. I feel all of us out right here who’re tour execs are these folks and undoubtedly responsible.”
PGA Tour power rankings
1. Jon Rahm
Rahm’s victory at the season-opening Tournament of Champions gave him at least one in seven straight seasons, which tied Justin Thomas for the longest active streak on tour.
2. Rory McIlroy
You can watch the reigning world No. 1 golfer compete next week in the Dubai Desert Classic.
3. Scottie Scheffler
He’ll have a chance to defend four titles before mid-April at the WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Masters.
4. Patrick Cantlay
The California native has three straight top 10s in the American Express and leads players with a minimum five rounds at the event in scoring average (67.17) and birdies per round (6.17).
5. Tony Finau
Finau has three victories and six top-10s in his past eight starts. That’s a heater. He has 74 birdies or better at The American Express the past three years, most by any player.
6. Will Zalatoris
Zalatoris returned from a greater than four-month hiatus due to a again harm and tied for eleventh at Kapalua.
7. Justin Thomas
The reigning PGA Championship winner tied for twenty fifth in his first begin of 2023 at Kapalua, the place he had received twice earlier than.
8. Max Homa
How many instances will Homa be requested about carding a 9-under 61 to set the Los Angeles Country Club North Course document as a Cal senior in 2013 between now and June’s U.S. Open that shall be performed there?
9. Cameron Young
The 2022 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has the size to go very low this week, possibly low sufficient to choose up his first PGA Tour victory. He tied for thirteenth at Kapalua.
10. Tom Kim
A 12 months in the past, Kim made his fifth PGA Tour begin at The American Express on a sponsor’s exemption. He was ranked 154th on this planet. This week, he’s 14th. He tied for fifth on the Tournament of Champions and missed the reduce on the Sony Open.
LIV Golf’s TV deal looming?
“Coming up next, after another hour of ‘Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,’ live coverage of the second round of the LIV Golf Invitational Mayakoba in Mexico.”
After months of hypothesis, it appears LIV Golf lastly has a home TV companion. It’s in all probability not the cable community you imagined would broadcast the Saudi-backed circuit’s second season, however one which had been rumored to be in play for weeks. According to numerous experiences, LIV Golf is on the cusp of signing a media rights take care of The CW Network, which is thought extra for re-airing episodes of “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy” and “Divorce Court” than broadcasting stay sporting occasions.
In truth, The CW presently has no different sports activities properties. It will reportedly share promoting income with LIV Golf, which is not going to obtain TV rights charges within the deal. In March 2020, the PGA Tour reached a nine-year media rights settlement with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN that may pay the tour greater than $6 billion over the lifetime of the deal.
LIV Golf will proceed to pay for manufacturing prices, because it did throughout its inaugural season, when tournaments had been streamed on YouTube, DAZN and the circuit’s official web site.
“I think it is a very positive step in the right direction,” an agent with LIV gamers instructed ESPN on Wednesday. “I think it was critically important to the future of LIV Golf that they get some type of broadcast partner. At this point, getting eyeballs was critical to the ongoing success. I think this will undoubtedly get us eyeballs.”
The second LIV Golf season is scheduled to tee off at El Camaleon Golf Course in Mayakoba, Mexico, on Feb. 24-26. The league, which is fronted by two-time Open winner Greg Norman, has introduced the websites of solely seven of its deliberate 14 tournaments in 2023. Events will even be held in Arizona, Australia, Singapore, Oklahoma, Spain and West Virginia.
A full announcement of LIV Golf’s 2023 schedule and the 48 gamers on its 12 groups is anticipated within the coming days.
The CW, which is majority owned by Nexstar Media Group, is distributed to 123.5 million houses throughout the US. While LIV Golf has vowed to develop the game and attain a youthful viewers, The CW’s common viewer is 58 years outdated, in response to NexStar.
“The main thing is they’re now on network TV,” the agent stated. “If the Lakers and Warriors are playing on TV, I don’t think people care if it’s on channel 8, 12, 24 or 36. They care that they can tune in and watch. They’re now on a channel that’s on everyone’s channel lineup, whether it’s a 14-year-old or an 85-year-old.”
The Sports Business Journal first reported the potential deal between LIV Golf and The CW. LIV Golf had reportedly been in talks with Fox Sports about broadcasting its tournaments on FS1 or FS2, with LIV Golf paying for airtime.
Best social media of the week
Storytime with Fred Couples is at all times enjoyable.
Joe LaCava drove @fredcouplesgolf to each occasion for 22 years. 😳
All due to a mishap Fred made within the desert. pic.twitter.com/lwt1PXdld6
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) January 17, 2023
And we thought Jim Furyk’s swing regarded complicated.
In this bag I’d go A or C. But I’ve a concept on this- when you grew up within the north, putter goes with the driving force. In the south, it goes with the wedges. Just one thing I observed as a child….. https://t.co/QQmvdQI2DP
— Jim Furyk (@jimfuryk) January 17, 2023
Those trophies include a few good invites, too. Argentina’s Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira received the Latin America Amateur Championship, incomes journeys to the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open.
Gordita al agua?
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 18, 2023
That’s a deep bunker.
Golf recreation online game coming
EA Sports is poised to launch its first golf recreation on console since 2015 this spring, and it plans to disclose a deep-dive gameplay trailer of EA Sports PGA TOUR on Thursday.
First take a look at EA SPORTS PGA TOUR Gameplay 👀⛳️
Full deep dive on gameplay coming this Thursday at 11am ET 🗓️
Watch stay ➡️ https://t.co/WShHGDEZq4 pic.twitter.com/d1BFNmKCxP
— EA SPORTS PGA TOUR (@EASPORTSPGATOUR) January 17, 2023
According to earlier EA Sports information releases, gamers will get to compete in all 4 majors, FedEx Cup Playoffs, The Players, in addition to further tournaments within the LPGA, U.S. Amateur and Korn Ferry Tour.