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Rickie Fowler hits from the second tee during first round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Rickie Fowler hits from the second tee during first round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Matt York)|Associated Press
Golf

Mike Kern's PGA pick at the American Express Pro-Am hopes to Im-press – he also likes Mickelson as a longshot

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Two weeks ago we had Justin Thomas at 5-1 in the Tournament of Champions, and he got the job done for us in a playoff. Last week we gave out Webb Simpson as one of our picks, at 12-1, and he finished one shot out of a playoff. Hope we can keep that up.

Now we head to the American Express Pro-Am, which most people might remember better as the old Bob Hope Desert Classic (and most recently the CareerBuilder Challenge) from Palm Springs played over three courses including the famed PGA West that was designed by Pete Dye, who passed away last week at the age of 94.

The field isn’t all that, which means there’s probably even better chances to get some decent payouts if you can just pick the last guy standing. So here we go:

Rickie Fowler, who hasn’t done a whole lot lately, is the 12-1 favorite. Sungjae Im is 18-1, Paul Casey 22-1, Charles Howell III 25-1. That’s the top tier.

Byeong-Hun An, Scottie Scheffler and Kevin Kisner are 28-1. Kisner tied for fourth last week in Hawaii. Billy Horschel and Cameron Champ, who won last week, are 33-1. Francesco Molinari, Brian Harman and Jason Kokrak are at 40-1. As is Phil Mickelson, who nearly won this thing a year ago at 48-1 before he won a few weeks later at Pebble Beach.

Brendon Todd, Abraham Ancer, Alex Noren, Vaughn Taylor and J.T. Poston are each 45-1. Ryan Moore, Harris English, Russell Knox and Kevin Na are 50-1. Rory Sabbatini and Zach Johnson are 60-1, while defending champion Adam Long is 100-1.

I’m not going with Fowler, but I will go with Im, the second fave. He’s pretty good, and he contended here last year. Good enough for me. And he won for me last fall at a decent number. Maybe he can do it again.

In the middle of the pack I’ll take a shot with Kisner. Hopefully last week’s solid play will carry over.

For my longshot I’ll give you two, because I can. Heck you can try three or four if you want. You might get back a lot for a little. The first is Mickelson, for all the obvious reasons. He loves this tournament. In fact, he’s now the host. It’s probably one of the few places where he actually has a legit chance anymore. And he says he’s been preparing for it. That doesn’t mean he’ll play well. Just means it’s worth putting a little something on him, just in case.

For my other guy, I could go in a bunch of different directions. But I’ll settle on Na, who was third here in 2016. I was also thinking about Knox, at the same odds, but you can’t bet everyone. At least I don’t think so.

With Mickelson and Na you might want to put some money on them just to finish in the top five, which could still net you a little something if they only come close.

Good luck. See you next week at Torrey Pines, when Tiger Woods will make his 2020 debut. Nothing ever wrong with that.

Oops, almost forgot. In the name of full disclosure, I have Phil in my yearlong pool this week. That more often than not is a good sign, but I did have Thomas at the T of C so sometimes the mush thing doesn’t happen to me. Good to know.