by Ken Klavon USGA
A couple days ago I wrote about the upcoming contest in which four contestants are being challenged on whether they can break 100 on Torrey Pines' South Course. This past eve a special dinner was held for John Atkinson, Matt Lauer, Tony Romo and Justin Timberlake. It was a special invite only. Guess mine got lost in the mail? Still, friends and colleagues were in attendance, which amounted to about 40.
For those of you who may not know, Greg Norman will be serving as Lauer's caddie. They brokered a special deal. All four of the contestants and Norman got up and spoke. Norman talked about the nervousness all may feel when they step to the first tee. He felt, according to my sources, that Lauer, Romo and Timberlake should fare better since they're acclimated to the camera. Then he supposedly turned to Atkinson, who is suffering from lung cancer, and wished him the best of luck, which drew laughs.
Lauer talked about how New York City cabbies have been haranguing him on the street. They're telling him to just use a 5-iron off every tee. Play it safe.
However, the biggest laugh may have involved Timberlake. The pop star took the mic and imitated a call to Tiger Woods. He spoke about how a band, replete with keyboards, drums and the full works would be ready for him. The microphone will be there too with his name on it. Then Timberlake said he would be following his act. It was a subtle jab at the World's No. 1 in response to his claim that an 8-handicapper couldn't break 100 on a U.S. Open setup. Timberlake's response seemed to say, 'OK, big boy, you may be a superstar on the course, but try coming into my domain.'
All in all, a fun night. As for Romo, I know what you're asking. Is Jessica Simpson here? Word is, yes. The other words are that she will not show her face on the course later today. Maybe it's just sensory overload on my part, but somehow I'm parlaying this into tangential mode. How you might ask? Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, of course. Probably the closest I'll ever get to either, especially since Timberlake severed those ties before Spears, um, for lack of better words, has had her struggles.
So there you have it: the word from the inside. I'm sure my invite will show up any second. No worries. There's always a way to infiltrate.