By Matt Kelemen
Justin Timberlake has accomplished much in his relatively short career, but one thing enables his name to be said in the same breath with iconic entertainers such as Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. As those showbiz legends did in their time, the 31-year-old singer lends his name to the pre-eminent celebrity-hosted golf tournament of his era, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Timberlake, who became known for his swing while playing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am that Crosby made famous, got involved with the annual TPC Summerlin tournament in 2008. With Shriners recently agreeing to sponsor for five more years and a purse increase in 2013, the former boy-band pinup has the option to swing his way to legendary showman status.
Taking place Oct. 1-7 this year, the Open has become almost as well known for its pro-am elements and entertainment extras as for the pros who tee off on Oct. 4. Golf is the prime factor, however, and last year’s dramatic finish added prestige to the proceedings. Guests watching from Club Ketel One lookout positions on The Hill saw Kevin Na follow up his 15th hole birdie with two more at the 16th and 17th greens, overtaking Nick Watney and finishing with a two-stroke lead over his fellow Las Vegan. Na’s successful 42-foot putt at the 17th hole ensured victory as he and Watney followed up by parring the final hole.
In recognition of three straight decades of PGA Tour presence in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is recognizing several new honorees with a dinner at The Hill two days prior to the Open’s official start. A youth clinic is Sept. 30, while the MGM Resorts International Championship Pro-Am takes place at the TPC on Oct. 3.