The American Express is “charging” forward toward its 64th annual playing in 2023, with the annual, historic PGA Tour event looking as strong as ever. Returning to La Quinta this January 16-22, the AMEX brings 156 of the world’s best players to Greater Palm Springs, with the tournament centerpiece staged across a full marquee of concerts, dining, cocktails, and engagement.
Scheduled, per usual, as the Tour’s first mainland event of the calendar year, the world-renowned AMEX – the golf world beyond is no doubt eager to get the New Year and new season underway with a sunny rush of needed competitive golf on the fairways of Greater Palm Springs.
Ready to tee-up your AMEX experience? Here’s what you need to know.
Since debuting in 2017, the popular AMEX Concert Series returns for 2023 with a stellar playbill. Held on the PGA WEST driving range following play on both Friday and Saturday (approximate start times of 5:30 p.m. for both nights), access to the concerts is included with the purchase of any level of tournament ticket.
On Friday, January 20, SoCal-native, No Doubt lead vocalist, and three-time Grammy winner Gwen Stefani will take the stage. For the evening to follow, after the event’s third round on Saturday the 21st, Hootie & the Blowfish founder/frontman, Country music star (and avid golfer) Darius Rucker will perform.
The tournament will again be played across a trio of La Quinta courses, with PGA WEST serving as the event’s home base. Historic La Quinta Country Club – regaled for its premier greens – returns to the American Express rota for the 51st time; played on Thursday – Saturday of tournament week, the club is located just five miles from PGA WEST.
Host site PGA WEST presents a pair of primo AMEX plays, which the public can access before or after the event.
The Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course is aptly and annually reputed as one of the country’s toughest public plays, with its ongoing narrative of mounded fairways surroundings and protected green structures requiring succinct and strategic wedge and iron approaches.
While the Stadium Course doesn’t typically (and understandably) present as many tests for the pros as it does the daily duffers, PGA Tour players may find a bit more Stadium struggle this go’round, as the grounds are fresh-off a recent renovation project which removed myriad trees from the course and returned sightlines back to Dye’s original design intentions.
The Stadium, best known for its famed, par-3 island green, “Alcatraz,” is played for a second time in the rotation on the final day Sunday by those making the three-day cut.
Rounding out the trio is the Nicklaus Tournament Course; playing adjacent to the Stadium, the grounds’ depth of waste bunkering, water-laden routing and elevated putting surfaces can make for a tricky task all its own.
Venues and Fan Experience
The opportunity to attend this year’s tournament presents many ticketing options. This year some of the AMEX tickets have actually seen price reductions from previous years. Also worthy of mention is that American Express cardholders enjoy discounts of 20 percent, which event staff call, “The best deal on the PGA Tour.”
Those seeking a big swing during tournament week should look at the purchase of Champions Club tickets. Offering exclusive, climate-controlled access to 18th green viewing on the Stadium Course, the Champions experience includes hosted breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with access to an all-day bar. Holders of Champions Club tix are further provided an upgraded viewing section for the Friday and Saturday night concerts along with preferred, daily parking.
Purchase of an AMEX Premium Pass option includes access to the Club 18 viewing perch directly behind the 18th at Stadium, along with hosted beer/wine/cocktails and lunch.
For holders of Daily Grounds tickets, a full slate of fan experiences awaits. The open-seating experience at the Casamigos Deck (also on the Stadium’s home hole) is available to ticket holders of all levels. At the same time, the all-access Michelob Ultra Beers for Birdies venue on Alcatraz sports the added allure of discounted beers anytime a pro makes a birdie.
Fans should also check out the aptly-named “Turn” area between Nos. 9 and 10 on Stadium, and further explore the return of the event’s Military Outpost; honoring our nation’s service members, all veterans and active military are offered complimentary access to the tournament.
The 2023 AMEX field is filled with a roster of exciting, early commits. For competitors, the tourney purse for ’23 has surged from $5.9 million up to $8 million.
Headlining a stout field is 2022 PGA Tour “Player of the Year” and the world’s second-ranked golfer, Scottie Scheffler. Appearing at the American Express for a fourth consecutive season, the 26-year-old Texan will no doubt seek to build upon a four-win campaign in ’22, which included the capture of the Masters Tournament in April.
Undoubtedly soon to duel with Scheffler for the AMEX crown is world No. 4, Long Beach-native Patrick Cantlay. The Tour’s “Player of the Year” in his FedEx Championship campaign of ’21, Cantlay’s burgeoning desert resume includes a tie for 9th in 2019, a 2nd place finish (complements of shooting a 61 on Sunday) in ’21, and a solo 9th place standing last year.
Cantlay is not alone in his SoCal representation. Returning to the AMEX for the first time since 2017 is San Diego’s Xander Schauffele. Ranked as the No. 6 player in the world, the popular Schauffele won thrice last season and is in pursuit of his eighth career Tour title.
Rounding out early headline announcements are Tony Finau, the world’s 12th-ranked player (appearing at the AMEX for the sixth time) and rising star Sungjaie Im, currently charting as the globe’s 19th-ranked golfer.