ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The final tournament of the calendar year on the PGA Tour feels like a fresh start for Brandt Snedeker.

The biggest question is how long that feeling will last.

Snedeker returns this week at the RSM Classic from a peculiar injury to his sternum that doctors typically see only from contact sports. The injury was to a joint between the upper and lower sternum, and the pain at times was so great that Snedeker had trouble breathing after hitting shots.

That was the case at Royal Birkdale in July, when he was warming up for the opening round of the British Open when he abruptly withdrew because of the pain.

The RSM Classic will be his first competition in about five months.

“Semi-retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be,” said Snedeker, 36. “It’s been a long time. It’s fun to be back. Kind of realize what you miss, and I’m probably the most excited guy in the field this week to be playing again.”

He also might be the most nervous.

Snedeker said he played 25 holes for three straight days at home in a cart and felt no issues. Even so, there is still the unknown of how it will feel walking over five hours in threesomes over the opening two rounds on two courses at Sea Island, and some of the lies he might face that could cause that jarring impact to his chest.

He opted to treat the injury with rest, although Snedeker conceded that “surgery is not off the table if it doesn’t go well this week.”

It was a good week to return. He has a second home in Sea Island and knows the Seaside and Plantation courses well. He faces a full field in which Matt Kuchar at No. 14 is the only player from the top 25 in the world ranking.

Davis Love III is the tournament host. Mackenzie Hughes is the defending champion, winning a four-man playoff a year ago that ended on Monday morning with the Canadian rookie holing an 18-foot par putt from just off the green.

The RSM Classic is the eighth tournament of the fall before the PGA Tour takes its winter break until resuming on Maui at the start of next year. Snedeker’s plans are to compete this week at Sea Island, and then join Bubba Watson at the QBE Shootout in Florida, the team event that Greg Norman hosts.

But at least he’s playing. And for the longest time, he wasn’t sure that would be the case.

SHANSHAN FENG could think of no better way to celebrate.

Her second straight win before a home crowd in China at the Blue Bay LPGA meant she was projected to rise to No. 1 in the world for the first time. She had to wait for it to become official, and she had a plane to catch.

The news arrived as she was in a Dallas airport waiting for her connecting flight to Florida.

“I was really, really excited,” Feng said Wednesday. “I was by myself at the Dallas airport and I went into Friday’s and I ordered a steak for myself. I mean, I was trying to celebrate a little bit with a steak. I took a picture of it and sent it to my dad and mom. I was like, ‘I’m here celebrating.”‘

She didn’t send a screen shot of the women’s world ranking. She sent a picture of the steak.

More than just the No. 1 ranking is on the line this week at the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon in Naples, Florida. The LPGA Tour finale is so compelling that it could offer something to everyone or everything to one player.

Feng is among five players who only have to win the tournament to capture the $1 million bonus for the Race to the CME Globe. She is among four still in the running for LPGA player of the year. Also up for grabs among three players is the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average, while two can win the money title.

So if Feng celebrated with a steak for reaching No. 1 in the world, what does she do for player of the year?

“Maybe a bigger steak,” she said with a laugh.