2023 American Express Early Picks & Predictions: Can Si Woo Kim Win Again?
Pictured: Si Woo Kim. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Si Woo Kim chased down Hayden Buckley at the Sony Open with a final round 64 that was just enough to close out a one-shot victory. Now, the TOUR heads back to the continental U.S. for a surprisingly strong field at the American Express, where half of the top-10 players in the world will tee it up as they prepare for a big stretch of golf over the next few months.
Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay often frequent this event, but they’ll be joined by quite the contingent of top players. It’s also a unique tournament played across three courses as a pro-am, with a 54-hole cut.
I’ll be looking to take some chances this week, likely beyond the top group of players because I think this is a different type of event that may not play into the hands of the elite. That being said, I’ll likely have some interest if we see one of the top players drifting out beyond their typical odds as they can’t all be set at a short number when odds open.
Si Woo Kim
I have to start things here because this is typically the event where we eye Si Woo Kim. He won here in 2021 and backed it up with a T11 last year. The good news is that with the influx of talent into the field, we may still get a manageable number on this week’s winner and he’s a guy who has won enough now that I don’t get too worried about a hangover. This tournament is just a great fit for Kim and it sets up similar to the Sony in terms of skills needed for success. I’ll keep an eye on the opening odds and while I expect he will be shorter than the +4500 he opened at this week, I’ll still have some interest if it’s close.
Cameron Davis is a player I expect to take a big step forward this season. He started to show some of that in the fall, as he began to steady some of his volatility, and this is an event where I could see him making a statement early in the year. He finished with a 68-67 weekend at the Sony as he and many others shook the rust off from a long break. I think Davis will come out even sharper this week at the American Express, a tournament in which he finished 3rd in 2021. Davis should fit into that mid, third or fourth tier of odds on Monday and I’ll be looking to fire on him if the number is right.
A player who garnered some interest in the industry this week at the Sony was Andrew Putnam. He certainly performed to that as he finished T4 and was a part of the final group entering Sunday. I’m sticking with the course fit theme going into this week at the AmEx. Putnum, in the past, has shown he likes this event, finishing no worse than T21 in his past three trips. I love the combination of form, course fit and likely longshot-type odds for Putnam.