Fans, top golfers Phil Mickelson and Tony Finau return

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Driving Ranges

PGA Tour events are always excited, but the American Express tournament in La Quinta can be forgiving when you look back two years.

With the 2022 event starting in less than six weeks, tournament officials are excited that it will look like the 2020 tournament again, with fans in the stands, concerts on the PGA West Driving Range and amateurs side by side with PGA Tour Pros play.

During a press conference on Thursday at PGA West in La Quinta, both tournament officials and the American Express sponsor were thrilled that the COVD-19 protocols that changed the face of the tournament last January for the 2022 event, the takes place on January 20th, will be omitted -23.

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Among the pros playing for $ 7.6 million – an increase of $ 900,000 from last January – will be tournament host Phil Mickelson, who won the 2021 PGA Championship at the age of 50 Produced one of the greatest stories in golf for years. The tournament’s defending champion Si Woo Kim will also be in the field along with PGA Tour 2021 winner and Ryder Cup player Tony Finau. Finau has participated in the tournament for the past two years. Ryder Cup team-mate Scott Scheffler also signed up for the event at an early stage.

“We have a lot of great things to do as we welcome our traditional three-day Pro-Am with the crowd to enjoy the event,” said tournament director Pat McCabe. “This means that health and safety have the highest priority for all of us.”

Pat McCabe, Executive Director of the American Express Golf Tournament, announces some of the noted players who will be in the field for the 2022 tournament at PGA West in La Quinta on December 9, 2021.

Spectators must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter any of the golf courses used at the tournament.

In addition to the return of the galleries, 156 amateurs will also take part in a 54-hole Pro-Am alongside the professionals for the first three days. Officials thought the Pro-Am could be played in 2021 according to county and state safety protocols, but felt it would not be a good situation to take the 156 amateurs and their caddies into the desert in a pandemic. It was the first time in the tournament’s 62-year history that amateurs did not attend the event with the Tour Pros.

The La Quinta Country Club was also dropped from the 2021 tournament as officials decided to only operate from the PGA West clubhouse while they play the Stadium and Nicklaus tournament courses. This year, La Quinta is back in rotation alongside the two PGA West courses.

The tournament’s concert series was also a victim of the pandemic last January, but the music will return next month after the Friday and Saturday rounds. Pop / rock group Maroon 5 will perform on the Friday after the game, while country star Brad Paisley will play on the PGA West driving range on Saturday.

Finau, who attended the press conference by phone from Las Vegas, said he was looking forward to the chance to play again at The America Express, where he started last year at the start of a strong year in which he competed in so many tournaments , took fourth place through December.

“Having concerts there with guys like Maroon 5, I love music,” said Finau. “A tournament is made up of many things that are part of a golf tournament, and what’s special about it is what happens during the week. Having concerts like this, getting to know the great people at the Pro-Am, has a field,” It’s different from the ones Most of the other events we have so I meet people I admire and who I might look up to in the music or entertainment industry. I have these options during this event. And then I love the golf courses we play. “

Workers build one of the spectator areas for next month's American Express golf tournament at PGA West in La Quinta, December 9, 2021.