The American Express is the PGA Tour's first event of the calendar year on the schedule played in the mainland United States. The event is the start of a run called the West Coast Swing.
The American Express became a PGA Tour event in 1960, with Arnold Palmer taking the first version of the event, which for much of its history was five rounds or 90 holes.
In 1965, Bob Hope became the tournament host, inviting celebrities to compete alongside professionals in a unique format. Hope's name was on the tournament in 2011, eight years after his 2003 death. Other celebrities, including George Lopez, were installed as celebrity hosts and emcees.
In 2020, American Express became title sponsor, with Phil Mickelson becoming host of the event. Mickelson's notprofit Mickelson Foundation is the primary beneficiary of the event.
Until 2012, the event was 90 holes, or five rounds. It has since been a 72-hole event.
Arnold Palmer won this event five times and has three more wins than the nearest competitor on the all-time wins list. Seven players have won the event twice, including Phil Mickelson, who became the host for the event in 2019.
David Duval shot a final-round 59 to win the tournament in 1999.
The American Express format
The The American Express is played over four days, and there is a cut for the qualifying field.
Each pro in the field is paired with an amateur for each of the first three days. Every player gets one round in the first three days on each of the host courses. A cut is then made to the top 65 and ties for the final round at the tournament host, PGA West's Dye Stadium Course.
At the end of the 72-hole event, the lowest score wins.
The American Express host courses
- PGA West, Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif.: -present
- PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif.: -present
- La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif.: -present
The American Express past sponsors
The American Express has had many names, but just four title sponsors over the years:
- Palm Springs Desert Classic: 1960
- Palm Springs Golf Classic: 1961-1964
- Bob Hope Desert Classic: 1965-1983
- Bob Hope Desert Classic: 1984-1985
- Bob Hope Chrysler Classic: 1986-2008
- Bob Hope Classic: 2009-2011
- Humana Challenge: 2012-2015
- CareerBuilder Challenge: 2016-2018
- Desert Classic: 2019
- The American Express: 2020-present
The American Express history & results
|2021||Si Woo Kim||265||−23||1||$1,206,000|
|2015||Bill Haas (2)||266||−22||1||$1,026,000|
|2008||D. J. Trahan||334||−26||3||$918,000|
|2004||Phil Mickelson (2)||330||−30||PO||$810,000|
|1997||John Cook (2)||327||−33||1||$270,000|
|1991||Corey Pavin (2)||331||−29||PO||$198,000|
|1984||John Mahaffey (2)||340||−20||PO||$72,000|
|1976||Johnny Miller (2)||344||−16||3||$36,000|
|1973||Arnold Palmer (5)||343||−17||2||$32,000|
|1971||Arnold Palmer (4)||342||−18||PO||$28,000|
|1969||Billy Casper (2)||345||−15||3||$20,000|
|1968||Arnold Palmer (3)||348||−12||PO||$20,000|
|1962||Arnold Palmer (2)||342||−17||3||$5,300|