Golf Course WebsitesGolfRevText Golfer

Pop Star Enjoys Hosting Tournament & Golf


Justin Timberlake isn't your ordinary pop star or golfer. The 29-year-old, who gained fame as the lead singer for 'N Sync, is hosting the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

The $4.3 million PGA Tour event teed off Thursday at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Over a mere three years, the event has raised an estimated $9 million for the pediatric health-care system, which has 22 hospitals around the U.S.

The Tennessee native, a 6 handicap, also has invested a lot of money in the former run-down Big Creek Golf Course in his home town of Millington near Memphis. Timberlake spent $16 million in improvements right after acquiring the facility in 2007. In January of this year, he again closed the facility - now called Mirimichi Golf Club in honor of Timberlake's Native American heritage - for more improvements in the hopes for attracting a future PGA Tour event.

On the eve of his event in Vegas, Timberlake sat down with reporters and discussed his career, golf game, the tournament, field and a variety of other topics.

MODERATOR: We welcome our host, Justin Timberlake, to the media center here at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. We're here in your third year of the event. It's getting kicked off tomorrow. You played yesterday.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I'm getting kicked off?

MODERATOR: Yes, you are.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I feel like we've done a good job.

MODERATOR: Yes, you are. Why don't you just get us started. Some general thoughts on the week and plans for the week.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: You know, I mean, like you said, it's the third year. We're very excited. I'm continually surprised at the field we've been able to attract. I played yesterday with the great Charley Hoffman, who's had an amazing year. And, you know, not only the quality of the players that we've been able to attract, but the quality of people. To note, Charley, the work he's doing for charity as well and the pro-am that we had yesterday, I think it should be noted. Very honorable and admirable, I'm glad that we were able to in a way piggy-back both of them with each other. I think it's a great thing any time you can do that. You know, two for the price of, so to speak. But, yeah, like I said, I'm excited about the field we've been able to attract. We were just back there talking about Rocco, who obviously had an amazing week last week. You know, just the quality of players and the quality of people that we're able to have out here, I'm very excited.

MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions. Please use the microphone. Obviously golf- and tournament-related questions only, please.

Q. Seems like you have a lot of fun when you're out there playing and doing all the activities during this week. But what is behind it? Do you get nervous? Could you describe how do you plan these? What is it that you do behind the event? Seems like you have a lot of the fun, but is it as fun as it looks for you?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: About the process of planning it?

Q. The process of planning it and also being here and the activities.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Well, yeah, I mean, it's a lot work. It's not just conducive to this week. You know, we spend all year. Our first meeting for the 2011 tournament will be next week. I mean, it's year-round planning and commitment. It's a process that, you know, I'm happy to be involved with. Any way that I can sort of put a different touch here or there on the tournament to make it fun for the players and their families, I think that that translates to the fans and the volunteers and the media and everyone who is involved. So, yeah. And just walking out on the range and talking to the players, we've gotten so much positive feedback of the Fall Series. I mean, I'm proud to say that a lot of players have come up and said this is the stop they love to come to on the Fall Series. The fact that we've been able to get the best in the world to say that, I'm very proud of that.

But, you know, there's a lot that happens this week. You know, if it was just the fact that I would be hosting a show on Saturday, trying to recruit the talent that I've been able to every year, I mean, it ain't easy. You know, I'm very excited. Again, we've got an amazing, amazing lineup for that show. I'm happy to just bring everybody out. But that's really what it's about: It's about awareness and trying to bring as many of -- it's no secret that I have access to a lot of different avenues of entertainment. And now with this tournament, a lot of access to the world of the PGA and the Tour. So any way, shape, or form that I can use my resources to bring everyone together, you know, I'm at least going to try.

Q. Just a couple questions for you. You mentioned the players saying they want to come here. Can you elaborate on what they like about this tournament? Have you thought about expanding this to maybe a celebrity pro-am Pebble Beach style? And thirdly, what players out there do you really like on the PGA Tour?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I'm trying to remember the first one.

Q. What do the players like about coming here?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I think it's just a fun stop for them. We've been able to take care of their families, wives and kids. You know, we've been able to -- I hold a court with them that if there's anything that I can do better, the only way I would be able to do it is if you come tell me. I hold this open-door policy with all of them, and I hope that it continues to get used that way. I found that through the first two years -- even I had a conversation yesterday with some of the caddies. We were talking about things we could do for them. There's a lot of people and a lot of variables that come together to put a Tour event up. We want to make it fun for everybody, all the way to the volunteers. To be giving their time free of charge, to be out here, I think it says a lot about them as well. The second question was?

Q. Celebrity pro-am possibility.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Oh, yes, absolutely. Not just in that form. I mean, you know, it's no secret - and I've said this every time I see you guys before the tournament - I want to grow this tournament. In whatever shape or form I can, I want to try to grow this tournament. If it's finding a way to get into the spring, better than the fall, then I'm all about it. We're here to have a great time. But more importantly, we're raising money for a fantastic cause. I do know the bigger and better we can make this tournament the more money we'll be able to raise. And the third question was?

Q. What players impress you right now?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Oh, Charley is one of 'em. Nick, I'm playing with Nick tomorrow. He's a good friend of mine. I met him and took a couple lessons with Butch, and obviously met Nick through him. He's such a great, great guy. There are so many great players out here. You meet 'em through different pro-ams that I've played in. I feel like I've made a lot of friends with a lot of the players out here.

Q. With all the work and press you've been doing with Social Network, how much time has that left you to focus on your game and where is it right now?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: My game is pretty terrible. My schedule this year has been I wrapped The Social Network the end of February; I started a film called Bad Teacher in the middle of March; I wrapped that film April, somewhere in April I think. Then June we went into rehearsals for a film called Friends With Benefits; we wrapped that film in September; and then we did The Social Network press tour which went internationally. So you can add up - or subtract, which would probably be easier to do - all the opportunities I've had to not play golf. It was pretty apparent yesterday when playing Charley's pro-am. Yesterday was the first round I've played in the last four months, so... (laughing.) You know, it's that old thing when work is good the game suffers. But you work so you can play.

Q. About the concert, who are you most excited to see? I know in the past you mentioned you want to make it I think kind of a Rat Pack style thing where everyone wants to come to Vegas to be a part of it. Are we getting closer to that yet?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: I think the element that I spoke about when I talked about that element was more of a free-form thing. I think we were able to do that a lot last year. I sat in on people's sets and played one song with them or things like that. I think most of all being able to come up with the lineup that I've been lucky enough to have the last three years, it's nice to know you have friends in high places. I'm excited and honored to have Elton come back and play a set. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's going to bring the house down, you know, so I'm very excited to have him here. I'm excited to have Christina here. I've known her since I was 10 years old. Everybody. I have a band that I just signed to Interscope, Free Soul, and they'll be performing. It's such a fun opportunity to just keep it loose and have fun. That's what it's all about.

Q. Crowd size has always been a question mark here. If you could just have a couple sentences to tell people, whether it's on TV or through the print media, what would tell them to try and get them out here this week?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Andy Garcia is going to be here; Jerry Rice is gonna be here. I don't know. Yeah, Rickie Fowler. You know, that should get some young girls out here, shouldn't it? Right? Rickie Fowler is like -- I don't know, I think he's cooler than Justin Bieber. Did I throw the gauntlet down? Oh, whatever. I'm taking Rickie Fowler. It's a fun week. I don't know. I guess if you don't like having fun, then we don't want to see you out here. Don't come. That's what I would say.

MODERATOR: Perfect. On that note, thanks a lot.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: Thanks a lot, guys. Enjoy the week.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.