The 2023 The American Express pro-am format consists of two golf tournaments going on at the same time for the 156 professionals in the field.
The 156 pros are each paired with an amateur player, forming 156 two-player pairings. Instead, the field is split into threesomes for each of the first two days. Each golfer will play one round on the host, PGA West's Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Tournament Course. There will be 52 golfers on each course each day.
The American Express format
For the professionals, the tournament format is simple: the usual 72-hole, stroke-play tournament you see most weeks on the PGA Tour. Lowest score wins.
For the pro-am competition, the individual players are actually on their own. They do not form a team with their professional sherpas over the first three days. There are two competitions happening for the amateurs: a net and a gross competition. On each hole, then, an amateur has two scores: their actual score on the hole (gross) and their score minus their handicap for that hole (net). The total net score for a round is the gross score minus whatever handicap strokes are individually allocated to each player.
The American Express pro and pro-am cut rules
After the first three rounds are completed, the cut rule kicks in, dropping the field to the top 65 pros and ties who advance to the final round at PGA West's Stadium Course.
Prior to 2020, if more than 78 players made the 54-hole cut, then the cut was instead to the number nearest 70 for the final round. It was kind of like getting MDF'd when 78 or more players made the 36-hole cut at other PGA Tour events, except it happened after 54 holes.
With amateurs in the field, there's consideration for them in tee times and scheduling on the weekend. Players go out in order of their 54-hole total scores compared to the field.
For fourth round, the pairings and tee times are made based on each player's total score through three rounds, all on PGA West Stadium Course. Players with the highest total score go first, then in descending order until the two players with the lowest total score in the final group.
The player with the lowest total score after 72 holes is the winner and will earn the 2023 The American Express winner's share of the purse.
The winning player will earn 500 FedEx Cup points and will earn approximately 39.5 Official World Golf Ranking points.
The American Express playoff format
A playoff to settle any ties after 72 holes will be played under PGA Tour rules. The The American Express playoff format is a sudden-death format, with playoff holes being 18 played by any qualifying players. The players compete hole-by-hole until a winner is determined by a player scoring the lowest among the remaining players.