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Dec 17, 2013 | 09:58 AM

Looking Out For #1

The final World Golf Rankings for 2013 give us an interesting year-to-year comparison, especially when the window is expanded to include 2011. A few highlights:

*Only two players have made the top 10 three years straight—Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.

*This year, five of the top 10 are Americans, with Tiger and Phil the two leading Yanks for the first time since 2010.

*Last year, only four U.S. players made the list, and this year three of them are gone—Bubba Watson (now 28th), Jason Dufner (14th), and Brant Snedeker (13th). Only Tiger remains.

*Of the five international players on the current list, two are newbies—Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia—with #3 Stenson having made a dramatic climb from 207th two years ago.

*Conversely, while the plight of McIlroy has received most of the attention, the biggest drops in the rankings have come from Luke Donald—#2 a year ago (and #1 in 2011) and now 17th—and Lee Westwood, who was 7th a year ago (#2 in 2011) and is now 25th.

PLAYER

2013

2012

2011

Tiger Woods

1

3

23

Adam Scott

2

5

5

Henrik Stenson

3

53

207

Justin Rose

4

4

18

Phil Mickelson

5

17

14

Rory McIlroy

6

1

3

Matt Kuchar

7

21

11

Steve Stricker

8

18

6

Zach Johnson

9

25

37

Sergio Garcia

10

16

17

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Dec 16, 2013 | 10:53 AM

Pillow Talk

Don’t be surprised if the next big instruction book is called “Sleep Better for Better Golf.” Because it seems that a good night’s sleep—more specifically, successfully treating sleep apnea—leads to lower scores. Sleep apnea is a condition manifest by pauses in breathing while sleeping, which disrupts a person’s sleep patterns and causes fatigue during the day. A small study—24 men, average age 55, all with modern to severe obstructive sleep apnea, all with USGA handicaps—treated half the participants with a therapy called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) while the other half went untreated. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, after six months those who received CPAP therapy slept better at night, weren’t as sleepy during the day, and lowered their handicap index by 11 percent. No word if the next study will determine the correlation between falling asleep during a round and slow play.

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Dec 13, 2013 | 10:18 AM

Big Doings in Little Montenegro

Known as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” Montenegro is a small country south of Croatia with a lovely stretch of coast on the Adriatic Sea. Despite its rapidly growing economy, the nation has no golf course, though two projects are in a race to plant the first flag in the new sovereign state. Lustica Bay (above), a large-scale resort development slowed by the 2008 economic meltdown, will feature several hotels, a marina, extensive real estate, and a Gary Player-designed course with views of the sea. The smaller Royal Montenegro Golf & Country Club—located outside Tivat, a thriving coastal town—plans to open its course by Englishman Steve Marnoch by 2016. The market for residences at both developments is mainly English and Russian, though expect this rugged little country, with its rich architectural and cultural heritage, to compete for top tier international golf business once these two courses and others in the planning stages make their debut.

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Dec 12, 2013 | 11:26 AM

Cook’s Tour

Have you ever wondered how PGA Tour pros spend their free time on the road? They visit some pretty amazing places, especially at this time of year when they’re in Asia and Africa and Australia picking up some pocket money and keeping their games sharp. But there’s a lot of downtime and only so many movies to see. At this week’s Thailand Golf Championship (going on despite political demonstrations in that country), Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan—shown with Asian Tour star Thongchai Jaidee, far left, and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, third from left—engaged in a cook-off before they teed off, competing to prepare local specialties such as Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles with shrimp and peanuts) and Som Tum (green papaya salad) at The St. Regis Bangkok hotel. And the winner is? 2012 Masters champ Watson, who admitted afterward, “I have never cooked in my life.” Maybe so, but The Buzz is coming over for dinner as soon as you get back home!

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