He practices his putting on whatever carpet is available.
He has three sets of clubs. At least.
He soaks in everything he can from Butch Harmon.
He even bought a golf course near his hometown of Memphis and spent $16 million to renovate it and make it eco-friendly. Not for himself. For the community. It’s a public course.
You might say Justin Timberlake is hooked. Seriously. Absolutely. Undeniably.
Hey, the guy was on the TPC Summerlin driving range at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with his dad warming up for an 8 a.m. tee time. He had to check out the course in preparation for this week’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
The tournament host can’t have a blade of grass out of whack or a bunker unraked. You’ve seen the commercial. Pretty funny. Pretty true.
And, well, it didn’t hurt that Harmon and Natalie Gulbis rounded out his foursome.
«We had the whole golf course to ourselves,» Gulbis grinned.
And the man who gave us SexyBack? He had a pretty good day — from the back tees. Striped it 280 with his first swing.
After that? Well, each time Harmon and Gulbis would work on something for her game — a 3-wood chip around a green, spinning a wedge at the pin — Timberlake would be right there working too.
«He wants to try things,» she said. «I would hit a shot, and he would too.»
She paused and chuckled.
«He’s passionate about the game.»
Uh, yeah. He shot 98 at Torrey Pines last year; 88 at Bethpage Black in June.
And his first hole-in-one? He told Golf Digest that it was «right up there with the Grammys.»
Playing Bethpage with Michael Jordan — and Anthony Kim on his bag — in the U.S. Open Challenge wasn’t bad either. Jordan plays just about every day, and Timberlake? He admitted he could be talked into it.
But this week, he’ll settle for genial host. And, of course, pro-am partner.
Timberlake has been a fixture at celebrity-studded events like the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am and the Bob Hope Classic over the last few years. So when the six-time Grammy and two-time Emmy winner got the chance to put his name on a tournament in Las Vegas, he jumped at it. And then he really got involved when he played 18 holes with a Shriners’ ambassador — a 19-year-old woman with a prosthesis.
«I was just, you know, really moved, really inspired to see someone that young that obviously doesn’t have the amenities that we have, and that it just didn’t change anything about her, her life,» he said. «That she’s living her life exactly the way she wants to.»
Timberlake throws himself into his event. He hosted a youth golf clinic Sunday afternoon with Harmon and Greg Maddux and the celebs on tap for the week — on and off the course — which included Alice Cooper, Kenny G, Smokey Robinison, Alicia Keys, Ciara and Taylor Swift. That doesn’t count all the acts somewhere on the Strip who just might drop in to hang out.
And did we mention he’s lobbying for a spot on the spring PGA TOUR schedule?
Timberlake has fallen harder for the game than he has for any girlfriend mentioned prominently on Page Six. Or in People. Or on TMZ.
Right now, it’s Jessica Biel. Or is it? Depends on who and when you ask.
The kid who cut his superstar chops on The New Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera is a gossip-page staple, but that kind of comes with the territory. He is — with those blue eyes, curly hair and fedora — one of the world’s best-known entertainers.
When he’s not in the studio recording, performing on stage or overseeing a fashion line, he’s hosting Saturday Night Live, shooting a special or filming. In fact, they’re scouting sites right now for «The Social Network» in which he’ll play founding Facebook president/Napster co-founder Sean Parker. The film, written by West Wing/Sports Night guru Aaron Sorkin, starts shooting this month in Boston and Los Angeles.
Is it any wonder he finds solitude on the course?
Yes, the two worlds are different. His on-stage performances are fueled by loud music and louder fans. Golf, meanwhile, is pin-drop silent.
«If people were making noise, and we would have some music in the background,» he told Golf Digest, «I think I might be a better player.»
Nice try. We’d suggest more face time with Harmon. Which he’ll get during the tournament — without Hollywood paparazzi, we assume.
Timberlake will be everywhere this week, and he’ll be as high energy as one of his performances.
Last year, he popped over to the wives luncheon just to hang out and got upstaged by Ellen DeGeneres. He loves being the ambassador of fun for a week, and what the heck? He gets to play with some of the best in the game — he loves checking out swings — and entertain at his Justin Timberlake and Friends blow-out fundraiser Saturday night at Mandalay Bay.
Monday night, he let Jay Leno throw him a few wacky questions on his Ten@Ten segment. He sang a slightly tweaked version of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. He talked about the day he met Peyton Manning at a charity bowling event. Manning thought he worked at the lanes and asked for size 11½ shoes. Timberlake, a teenager at the time, fetched them for the then-first-round pick.
He named 10 TOUR golfers in 15 seconds and joked at the expense of former ‘N Sync buddy Joey Fatone. He didn’t answer one Biel/girlfriend question.
But when asked what helps your game most: A) a good set of clubs; B) a good caddie; C) a good ball washer … Well, it was supposed to be a little goofy.
Spoofing anything and everything is nothing for a guy who has hosted SNL three times. But he did find a challenge Monday on the course.
Timberlake made three swings with his new Callaway Diablo clubs trying to make another ace — this one for charity. He came up short — and long — but Callaway still donated $5,000 to the Shriners’ Hospital. It would have been $1 million if he had made it.
«This would be like Phil Mickelson trying to sing Andrea Bocelli at Madison Square Garden,» Timberlake told reporters afterward. «Only, we’re going to get Rolling Stone and all my press peers to watch him do it.»
Everyone chuckled. They didn’t expect him to make it.
But trust us — or ask Gulbis or Harmon –Timberlake was grinding. He wanted that second ace.
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