2020 American Express: Betting Odds Don’t Favor Defending Champ

  • Defending champion and 2019 American Express title holder, Adam Long is listed as a long-shot underdog at (+10000) odds
  • Rickie Fowler listed as the favorite at (+1100) at sportsbooks and Phil Mickelson billed as a strong contender for the title
  • There hasn’t been a back-to-back winner since 1975 when Jonny Miller sealed his second title.

The Desert Classic, better known as The American Express, is returning for its 61st edition and defending champion Adam Long is back alongside many distinct golfers, including Francesco, Molinari, Casey, and Mickelson, to name a few.

American Express: Betting Overview and Predictions

The 61st annual The American Express golf pow-wow is back on Thursday, January 16, for another action-packed event, and featuring many of the top PGA Tour stars who will take part in the event. Known by its moniker – The Desert Classic – the three courses hosting the event are well-etched into the memory of fans and playstyles of golfers.

The American Express will unfold across La Quinta Country Club, the Stadium Course at PGA West and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West with a big crop of players entering this year’s edition without batting an eyelash.

Adam Long, the defending champion, who took the 2019 title to the surprise of entrants and onlookers. This year, though, Long is listed at odds of (+10000), which gives you the perfect value betting opportunity, that is if you believe he has it in him to pull off two consecutive wins.

Odds to Win the American Express

The field of contestants is definitely interesting with quite a few top names entering the competition. Here’s an overview of the current odds updated as of January 14, 2020:

PlayerOdds to Win Outright (BetOnline)Odds to Win Outright (MyBookie)
Rickie Fowler +1100+1100
Sungjae Im +1600+1600
Paul Casey +2200+2200
Tony Finau +2200+2200
Byeong Hun An +2500+2500
Charles Howell III +2800+3000
Kevin Kisner +2800+3000
Scottie Scheffler +2800+2800
Billy Horschel +3300+2800
Cameron Champ +3300+3000
Francesco Molinari +3300+3300
Matthew Wolff +3300+3000
Abraham Ancer +4000+4000
Brendon Todd +4000+4000
Brian Harman +4000+3300
Jason Kokrak +4000+4000
Phil Mickelson +4000+3300

The final field of contestants has already been released so you can check up on all 156 professional and amateur players taking part.


The tournament is taking place at three specific Coachella Valley courses, adding different challenges to golfers:

  • La Quinta Country Club
  • Stadium Course at PGA West
  • the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West


The American Express golf tournament will begin on Thursday, January 16 and run through Sunday, January 19.

Prize Purse

A total of $6,700,000 million will be allocated in prize pools during the 61st edition of The American Express with $1,206,000 allocated to first place.  

A Historic Read of The American Express

In fact, the only participants to win back-to-back games was Johnny Miller who won both tournaments back in 1974 and 1975. The player to win the most Desert Classic events was Arnold Palmer who landed the last title in 1973.

Since that time, the golf season has got busier and with it, the filed of golfers has spread all over the place in pursuit of terrains and titles they prefer better.

Interestingly, none of the most recent winners of the event has been cited as a favorite to win the 2020 title. Here’s a list of historic winners:

Year Player Tournament Purse
2019 Adam Long $5,900,000
2018 John Rahm $5,900,000
2017 Hudson Swafford $5,800,000
2016 Jason Dufner $5,800,000
2015 Bill Hass (2) $5,700,000
2014 Patrick Reed $5,700,000
2013 Brian Gray $5,600,000
2012 Mark Wilson $5,600,000
2011 Jhonattan Vegas $5,000,000
2010 Bill Haas $5,000,000

Bill Hass, another two-time winner in 2015 and 2010 is also going to miss out on the event, making the Desert Classic another ball of unpredictability. It’s important to note that in its 62-year history, the American Express was won by non-US citizens only 5 times.

Image credit: PGA Tour