The image of golf as a sport devoid of sex appeal was seemingly eradicated with the PGA Tour?s announcement that pop music icon Justin Timberlake will be hosting the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2008. According to ESPN, Timberlake plans to hold an opening concert for the tournament and will participate in the event?s celebrity pro-am.
No reports have yet surfaced over whether John Daly will be invited to serve as Timberlake?s opening act. Here?s hoping that the Wild Thing and JT can treat us to a duet of the criminally underappreciated ?Longball Rebel? from Daly?s new album. Can you say Grammy nominee?
Timberlake was recently ranked by Golf Digest as the 15th best golfer in the music world, an honour that he shares with Hootie & The Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker. Unfortunately for Rucker, this is the closest he?s been to the top of any chart since ?Only Wanna Be With You? hit the airwaves over a decade ago. Cheers, I?ll be here all week.
In all seriousness, other than a spike in publicity for the PGA Tour that will likely last about a week, it remains to be seen whether or not Justin Timberlake?s sponsoring of a tournament will have any positive long-term effects towards growing the game. If all it takes for a new generation of youngsters to pick up a golf club is to see Justin Timberlake taking a few swings, then his tournament will have been an instant success for the golf community.
However, should JT choose to get carried away and turn his event into a gigantic extravaganza, the PGA Tour might very well have to ban Mr Timberlake from golf in the same fashion that he and Janet Jackson were banned from the Super Bowl. Let?s hope for the sake of golf that this event doesn?t come to that.