April 23, 2009–Justin Timberlake is entering year two of a five-year deal to host Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, now dubbed the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open that will be played October 15-18, at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin. And now word comes that JT is scheduled to tee it up again in the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge. Timberlake is to be joined in the 2009 rendition by Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger and one everyday golfer who will to be determined by popular vote. Timberlake is pictured, left, with '08 Vegas champ Marc Turnesa.
The event is played the week before the U.S. Open on the open course, this year Bethpage Black in New York, and allows three celebrities and one everyday player the chance to break 100 under the difficult conditions and glare of the spotlight and cameras. The round will be taped and then aired on NBC on June 21 prior to the final round of the U.S. Open. Obviously Timberlake now has strong ties to Las Vegas due to his PGA Tour hosting duties, but his fellow celebrities also have some ties to Las Vegas golf.
Jordan plays a lot of golf in the city, and made worldwide news during the 1993 NBA All Star break when he flew from the host city, Salt Lake City, Utah, to Las Vegas to play golf at Shadow Creek and also gamble. Jordan was fined by the NBA because he missed some official events, but he ended up spending a nice day at Tom Fazio's gem. Roethlisberger, the two-time Super Bowl champ, was reportedly dating Las Vegas' own LPGA Tour star Natalie Gulbis for a time several years ago, but now the two are said to be just good friends.
All three celebrities have a single-digit Handicap and have been included in previous Golf Digest rankings of athletes and musicians. In the 2007 list of the top athlete-golfers, Jordan ranked T-30 with a Handicap of 1.2 and Roethlisberger ranked T-121 with a Handicap of 7. Timberlake, who now works with Las Vegas' Butch Harmon on his swing, was ranked T-15 with a Handicap of 6 in Golf Digest’s 2008 “Top 100 in Music” list. Timberlake played in the 2008 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge and shot 98 at Torrey Pines, but finished strong and broke the goal number.
Harmon, who is ranked No.1 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 50 Greatest Teachers” list, will once again caddie for Timberlake. Fred Couples, the 15-time PGA TOUR winner and 1992 Masters champion, will caddie for Jordan. Roethlisberger’s caddie will be announced at a later date. Gulbis anyone?
Voting for the amateur participant runs through April 30th at www.gdopencontest.com. The four finalists are: Philippe de Kerillis (Erdenheim, PA), Larry Giebelhausen (Scottsdale, AZ), Dale Matthews (McLean, VA) and Bob Ray (Arnold, MD). Voters can make one selection each day and are automatically entered for the chance to win daily prizes and multiple grand prizes, including two trips to the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.