photo courtesy Desert Palm Desert
The newly renamed American Classic, formerly the CareerBuilder Challenge and the Desert Classic, returns to the deserts of Southern California this January 16-19. The tournament features a pro-am format, similarly to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and takes place at 3 different courses: the PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Course, and La Quinta Country Club. Besides the new name, the tournament also has a new host in Phil Mickelson, who is also competing with a packed field of talented golfers.
2019 Winner Adam Long
The 2019 American Express saw a win for rookie Adam Long in only his 5th start on the PGA Tour. Long was battling veterans Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson in a contest that went down to the last hole. Long, Hadwin, and Mickelson were tied heading into the 18th hole, where Long appeared to play himself out of contention with a short drive on the par 4. However, despite being over 150 yards farther away from Mickelson and Hadwin’s balls, it was Long who laid up a sweet shot to within 13 feet from the hole. Long duly putted for birdie, while Mickelson and Hadwin both putted for par and a share of second place.
Adam Hadwin will miss this year to celebrate the birth of his first child, while Adam Long and Phil Mickelson look good bets to again battle over the title. Other contenders include Rickie Fowler, with the popular golfer competing in his first American Express for 6 years. Tony Finau also plays his first PGA Tour event of 2020, joining Italian golfer and 2018 British Open winner Francesco Molinari. Mexican golfer Abraham Ancer comes to desert along with his Presidents Cup teammate Sungjae Im looking to gain valuable FedEx Cup points. Fans of watching future stars in action should be content to see 17 year old Akshay Bhatia compete as the talented youngster continues his nascent professional career.
Tournament Host Phil Mickelson. PGA Tour
Television coverage of the American Express is provided exclusively by the Golf Channel. Coverage Thursday-Friday will be 3-7pm ET, while the final round will be shown Sunday, 6-10pm ET. Streaming coverage is also available through PGA Tour Live on Thursday and Friday, 11:30am-7pm ET of featured groups. Radio commentary is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and online at PGATour.com/liveaudio.