Beyond Limits: A history on the green, Salk sleep studies and upcoming scenes at the Playhouse
by Johnny McDonald
Jan 03, 2013 | 4440 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tiger Woods has decided to begin his 2013 golf campaign not on the United States PGA Tour but in the Middle East, Jan. 17-20.

He made the announcement in an interview in Singapore, where he was conducting a clinic for youthful golfers.

Unless he makes a quick change of mind, he’ll skip the Farmers Insurance Open, taking place Jan. 24-27 — a surprise, because Torrey Pines has been his favorite playground, where he’s won six times with total winnings of nearly $5.75 million.

Should he return sometime to play at TP, golfing rival Phil Mickelson will be cooking up a few north course adjustments. Mickelson’s design company has been selected by the city of San Diego’s Golf Operations department to renovate the course.

The $7 million project will include 18 new greens, renovated bunkers and tees, improved irrigation practices and possibly some new tees for tournament play.

Mickelson has played many times at Torrey Pines, starting at an early age, and as a pro he’s won the tourney three times.

Reportedly, Woods likes to play in Abu Dhabi’s “land of plenty,” where they sweeten the pot with promotional incentives. He tied for third last year.

Woods’ game has improved, winning three times on tour, though he finished 125th on the tour’s money list.

This will be the 61st year a PGA Tour event will be held in San Diego (46 times at Torrey Pines). It began as the San Diego Open in Chula Vista in 1952, and two years later, La Jollan Gene Littler won as an amateur. The pro winner that year, Dutch Harrison, won $3,700. This year’s winner can pocket nearly $1.1 million. 

Practice rounds begin Jan. 21, with the pro-am starting two days later. The defending champion is Brandt Snedeker, who beat Kyle Stanley last year in a two-hole playoff.

MATTER OF RHYTHMS

When we start to fall asleep, most of us think we’re tired because our bodies need rest. More accurately, scientists define the reason as circadian rhythms that affect our bodies at the level of individual organs and even genes.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. 

They are found in most living things, including animals and plants. 

Scientists at the Salk Institute have determined the specific genetic switches that sync liver activity to the circadian cycle. Their findings give insight into the mechanisms behind health-threatening conditions like high blood sugar and high cholesterol. 

“We know that genes in the liver turn on and off at different times of day and they’re involved in metabolizing substances such as fat and cholesterol,” said Satchidananda Panda, co-corresponding author on the paper and associate professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory. “To understand what turns those genes on or off we had to find the switches.”

Surprisingly, they discovered that among those switches was chromatin, the protein complex that tightly packages DNA in the cell nucleus. While chromatin is known for the role it plays in controlling genes, it was not previously suspected of being affected by circadian cycles.

Panda and his colleagues report their results in the December issue of Cell Metabolism.

TWO PLAYS ADDED

“His Girl Friday,” John Guare’s adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s “The Front Page” and Rex Picket’s “Sideways,” have been added to the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2013-14 season. They’ll kick off the season in June and July in the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

— Johnny McDonald is a longtime writer and columnist for the San Diego Community Newspaper Group. He can be reached at johnny23@cox.net.
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