August 2, 2008–Looking in from the outside, it appears Justin Timberlake, one of the world's reigning superstars, dives into each new project with dedication and commitment. Just this year he has hosted ESPN's ESPY awards, appeared in a movie, toured, played in the Golf Digest U.S Open Challenge at Torrey Pines, and, oh yeah, jumped in as the host of his own PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (click to check out the official new website with video and more) to be played at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin October 13-19. And that's just what we know that he's done thus far in 2008. And Timberlake appears to be just hitting his stride as a true cross-over star. His ESPY appearance introduced him to a new audience, and when he declared "I LOVE sports" several times during the show (and really meant it), sports fans from all over the world could relate. And word from those close to the planning for this year's JT Open are reporting that Timberlake is going above and beyond expectations, and is jumping in at every level to help ensure big success for the tournament. Timberlake has donated cash from his own check book to support the event, made calls to big-name players to persuade them to play Vegas, and plans to play in two pro-celebrity amateur events during the week. He is also hosting a VIP concert on October 17 at Planet Hollywood that will see a few of Timberlake's friends appearing with him. A few A-list names have been mentioned but nothing is official. Tickets are now on sale for the golf tournament and will go on sale August 20 for the concert.
Defending Champion George McNeill and other top professional players will compete for a $4.1 million purse, with the winner taking home $738,000. The Las Vegas tournament was the first in PGA TOUR history to offer a $1 million purse and the first non-major tournament to offer a $5 million purse. Past winners include favorites Greg Norman (1986), Tiger Woods (1996) in his first PGA TOUR victory, Stuart Appleby (2003), and three-time winner Jim Furyk (1995, 1998, 1999).
Returning as the ambassador for the 2008 tournament is Katie Walker. Walker became a patient at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospitals for Children when she was almost a year old. Born with a heart murmur, one kidney, an improperly formed gastrointestinal tract and a missing tibia, she underwent her first surgery to repair some of these problems when she was only weeks old.
In high school, Walker discovered her love of golf and made the varsity team her freshman year. Staff at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital fitted her with a high-tech prosthetic that has a special torque-and-socket unit, allowing more range of motion in the hip and ankle, consequently improving Walker’s golf swing. During a high school tournament, she nailed a hole in one. Golf Digest magazine puts the odds at any amateur accomplishing such a feat at 12,000 to 1. Walker is now a sophomore in college, attending California State University Bakersfield on a golf scholarship.
As part of the PGA TOUR's ongoing commitment to honor the brave men and women of our military and their families, the tournament is proud to offer free admission to active, retired and reserve military personnel from all five branches – including Reservists and members of the National Guard – and their families. Military personnel and their families will receive complimentary access to the tournament at TPC Summerlin by presenting their Military IDs at the entrance gates. A variety of special services and activities will be offered, including a hospitality chalet located on the scenic 18th fairway providing complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages for military guests. Additional patriotic activities will be announced at a later date.
Some of the best viewing of the course is located at THE HILL, a 22,000-square-foot luxury entertainment pavilion overlooking the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, which grants stunning views of the course, Las Vegas skyline and Red Rock Canyon. Some of the city’s finest restaurants will enhance the tournament experience on THE HILL, offering delicious fare on Restaurant Row. Guests at THE HILL enjoy a lively and comfortable atmosphere resplendent with seating areas, tables and large plasma screen TVs for keeping up with all sporting interests.
For those wanting to take in all the action at the tournament, spectator tickets start at $10 a day for grounds admission and $25 a day for THE HILL. Week-long badges are available at $75 for grounds-only access and $100 for THE HILL. Week-long clubhouse badges, which also include grounds access and THE HILL, are available for $125.
About The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:
The 2008 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open kicks off a five-year commitment between the two parties to continue the tradition of a PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas. The collaboration between the Shriners and Timberlake to act as Title Sponsor and Host (respectively) promises to create a truly unique and world-class event for players and fans alike. A host of well-known golfers and celebrities will participate in the competition to help support the Shriners’ mission, while enjoying the signature flair that Las Vegas has to offer. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Both the serious and casual golf fan will applaud as some of the best golfers combined with the very best in Las Vegas-style entertainment are showcased. The viewing is unsurpassed at THE HILL, a 22,000-square-foot luxury entertainment pavilion overlooking the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, granting stunning views of the course, Las Vegas skyline and Red Rock Canyon.