Recap The American Express

The American Express 2021 Full Event Recap: See Who Si Woo Overcame For The Title

At times a Birdie Fest, at times a Blood Bath, The American Express delivered a thoroughly entertaining tournament from start to finish, with twists and turns along the way up until the 72nd hole. In the end, Si Woo Kim edged out Patrick Cantlay’s course-record Sunday round of 61 to win by one stroke with a final -22 total. The win was facilitated by collapses from his Final Pairing playing partners, Max Homa and Tony Finau.

From this tournament, we learned that Si Woo Kim is a Pete Dye assassin, leaning into his experience from winning The PLAYERS to take down this mirror image of a course design. While -22 is a low winning total, this course proved to bite back with its many water hazards. The rough and greenside hazards did not prove to be penal, but players who found the water saw several Double-Or-Worse holes. Let’s take a look back at how the bets went this week.


  • Matthew Wolff (+3000): -8 (T40)
  • Sam Burns (+5500): -1 (MC)
  • Adam Long (+7500): +1 (69)
  • Doc Redman (+8500): +2 (70)
  • Brendan Steele (+10000): -11 (T21)
  • James Hahn (+10000): -10 (T32)
  • Denny McCarthy (+20000): -1 (MC)

Nothing much to sweat here this week unfortunately. In hindsight, this really was not a track to expect Matthew Wolff to thrive in, as errant tee shots found the water hazards frequently and took him out of contention early. The birdies were there, but they were negated by Doubles and Triples. Sam Burns had not played since the Houston Open in November, so we could have expected some rust. He was abysmal on Thursday, but rebounded with the -6 round we expected from him on Friday. Too little, too late. Steele and Hahn were on the periphery of the T10 throughout the weekend but never were able to make a serious run and fizzled out of contention on Sunday.

We knew this was an event that longshots tend to come out and win, so the outright units would have been best spread out across the 70/1+ range where Si Woo opened.

Matchups (Season Total: 6-3-1)

  • Cameron Davis -125 > Tom Hoge (W)
  • Sam Burns -106 > Lanto Griffin (L)
  • Brendan Steele -110 > Matt Jones (T)
  • Sungjae Im -143 > Kevin Na (W)

Still looking for that clean sweep, but we continue to stay in the green for each of the first three weeks of the season, finishing 2-1-1 this week. Sungjae > Na and Davis > Hoge were never a doubt, as Sungjae and Davis contended to win this tournament and Na and Hoge missed the cut. Burns almost backdoored a Tie for the matchup but finished one stroke short of Lanto – both missing the cut. Steele vs Jones was tight through all 4 days, but Jones birdied the final hole to force a Tie.

Very close to our first sweep, but will build off of this next week.

One & Done

  • Sungjae Im: T12

T12 will never kill you in OAD, but this one’s real tough to swallow. Sungjae was the solo leader heading into the weekend, but was never the same after Tripling the 9th on Saturday with 2 water balls. At 9% owned, he was a good leverage play, but a couple bad holes derailed an otherwise stellar performance.

DFS Recap

I played 2 lineups in the $10 Entry, $600K Resurgence GPP on Draft Kings this week. Unfortunately having Patrick Reed and Sam Burns in my core prevented me from cashing in either, even with the winner in my best lineup. I probably should have pivoted off of Burns once it became evident he would be 20%+ owned, but I really believed he was a $9K value in the $8K range and couldn’t pass it up.

Looking at the winning lineup, we both played Kim, and Steele was in my other lineup, featured as a top DFS play in my final plays write up. I really liked Cantlay and could have gotten to him if I played a few more lineups. Same with Davis, who I had conviction in from a matchup standpoint, just couldn’t squeeze him into my DFS roster. Harman was in my DFS Core last week, so I’m not surprised to see him pop up again, either. Kirk definitely came out of left field, though. I watched this whole tournament and never heard his name pop up. At $7,600, it’s surprising to see him in the optimal with a T16 finish, but when you nail the #1, #2, and #3, the rest of your lineup doesn’t need to be perfect.

Final Thoughts

I did not believe in Patrick Cantlay as the odds-on favorite and tried to get cute playing Patrick Reed for leverage. In the end, Reed was still a popular play, so I probably overthought fading Cantlay. He’s great in California and thrives on courses that reward precise ball striking.

Even still, The American Express is not a tournament where you should be betting the top of the field. If I could do it over again, I would spread lower unit bets across the 70/1+ players in the field, where I was originally considering Si Kim and Cam Davis. The results this week weren’t too pretty, but the players that rose to the top (Cantlay, Kim, Davis) were all players I considered. I don’t have any regrets in the process I used to narrow down the field and think we’re really starting to pick up stride as we head over to Torrey Pines next week.