I Was told a few years back that all international players are reduced 1 right off the top. I live in Canada and was reduced 1 for the first couple of years. Now my handicap factor is kept in the US by GAM. Since then I have not been reduced because of that reason. My factor for last 12 months is 9.6 but because my 4 scores in the world Am last year were good they went by that and adjusted me to a 8.6. In reality I am playing to a 10.8.