PGA Tour begins long run on the West Coast

Among the protagonists of this year's tournament is Justin Thomas, who makes his debut in 2024

by Andrea Gussoni
PGA Tour begins long run on the West Coast
© Getty Images Sport - Cliff Hawkins / Staff

After two weeks in Hawaii, the PGA Tour returns to the continental United States with the 65th edition of The American Express, the first tournament in a series of events marking the classic start to the golf season on the West Coast.

The field features a high level of competition, with numerous champions returning to action after participating in The Sentry, while others make their official debut in the new year.

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This week, there's a change to the traditional halfway cut, with all players taking a round at each of the PGA West courses in La Quinta, including the Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Subsequently, they will compete on Sunday on the fearsome Stadium Course, one of the most challenging par 72 courses of the entire season. This course has a peculiar history, as it was reinstated on the Tour in 2016 after being excluded from the rotation at the request of the players.

Among the protagonists of this year's tournament is Justin Thomas, who makes his debut in 2024. Thomas looks to redeem himself after a disappointing season the previous year, during which he did not reach the FedExCup playoffs.

However, he finished 2023 with promising results, including a fourth-place finish at the Fortinet Championship and a solitary third-place finish at the Hero World Challenge. This is the first time Thomas has participated in this tournament since finishing seventh in 2015.

In contrast, reigning champion John Rahm will not be participating in the tournament, as this year we will see him compete in the LIV and Majors, a significant miss for the world of golf. No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Scottie Scheffler, will be on the first hole Thursday.

Scheffler has demonstrated exceptional performance every time he has played over the past year, almost always achieving a top ten finish. Also returning to the PGA Tour is Daniel Berger, a member of the 2021 USA Ryder Cup team who has not played in an official tournament since the 2022 US Open, when he underwent back surgery.

The circuit's first two winners of the year, Chris Kirk and Grayson Murray, will also be at the start, along with other American golf stars, including Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. Although there is a Rolex Series on the DP World Tour, Shane Lowry has chosen to compete in the United States and will make his first-ever debut at La Quinta, in a tournament notorious for low scores, with two 59s recorded in the past, one by David Duval and one by Adam Hadwin.

Other names to watch this week include Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Tom Kim, Jason Day, Min Woo Lee, Will Zalatoris and Wyndham Clark.

Pga Tour Justin Thomas