Justin Timberlake Tahoe: Pop star can just be like Mike at American Century Championship

Justin Timberlake Tahoe
Justin Timberlake cuts through the gallery at Edgewood Tahoe.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Justin Timberlake is the new Michael Jordan and Larry The Cable Guy isn’t as terrible as oddsmakers make him out to be.

This is what we learned on the opening day of the American Century Championship, which in its 26 year and has grown into a weeklong event. The golf competition is Friday through Sunday, but the overall event began Wednesday. It’s about the chance for everyday people to get an up-close look at celebrities, get their autographs, gamble side-by-side with them in the casinos and to experience Lake Tahoe during its best time of the summer.

“Hi, Justin!” a middle-aged man behind the rope line screamed to Timberlake, the pop singer who walked up the 17th fairway. “Did you bring your family with you? Tahoe sure is a great place for families.”

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Larry The Cable Guy is a lefty. Don’t tell his fans.

Timberlake did not respond, and it was rather awkward for everybody within earshot. But that’s a typical snapshot from the event. When around celebrities, people become starstruck and do strange things like walk into the path of a moving golf cart.

Timberlake’s presence at Edgewood Tahoe was compared by a media member to that of Michael Jordan’s. Jordan is not here this year but when he is, he is followed by hordes of people so adoring they will scramble to retrieve Jordan’s discarded, slimy cigar from a trash can. Timberlake’s entourage is smaller than Jordan’s, but nonetheless, he was the people’s choice on Wednesday.

But wait until Chuck arrives. Charles Barkley is the face of Tahoe’s celebrity golf tournament. He’s been around almost since the beginning and each year his game gets worse. He used to stop his shot in midswing, his face expressing fear and surprise, as if the ball had turned into a rattlesnake. But last year, he simply swang his club with one hand, leisurely walking the course, joking with the gallery and taking a swing every 50 yards or so.

Oddmakers list Barkley at 5,000-1 to win the tourney. The next longest odds are for Larry The Cable Guy, who is 2,500-1. On the practice range, however, the comedian displayed a pretty nice stroke, and, get this, he’s a lefty. Better not tell his fans.

Mark Rypien, the retired quarterback who won the first and last championship here, is 5-1 to win the tourney. Four-time winner Billy Joe Tolliver opened as the favorite at 7/2.

Who will win? Tahoe Onstage predicts John Smoltz, 6-1, who is one of many former Atlanta Braves in Tahoe.

Mike Moreno of Spanish Springs, Nevada, strategically stood all afternoon next to the path to driving range, where each of the celebrities walked. Moreno enticed outfielder Andruw Jones by displaying an Atlanta Braves tattoo on his arm.

“This is the best money you can spend if you love sports,” Moreno said. “It’s gone up from $10 to $15 on Wednesday, but it’s still a good deal.”

For those not in Tahoe this weekend, the tourney will be televised Saturday and Sunday on NBC. For up-to-the minute coverage all week, visit HERE

Celebrity golf 2015
Autograph hunters await their celebrity prey.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons
Celebrity golf 2015
What’s better than taking a selfie at Lake Tahoe? Taking a selfie at Lake Tahoe while Justin Timberlake chips out of the sand.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Celebrity golf 2015
A Steeler fan, Marlene from Sacramento has Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis autographs from a previous American Century Championship.
Celebrity golf 2015
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden is blitzed by autograph seekers.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstate
Andruw Jones inspects the Atlanta Braves tattoo worn by Mike Moreno of Spanish Springs, Nevada.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
This tomahawk chop arm is appropriately adorned.
Celebrity golf 2015
Even when  just signing an autograph, it feels like Notre Dame’s coach, Brian Kelly, might blow his top.
Celebrity golf 2015
Justin Timberlake tees off at the signature 17.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Celebrity golf 2015
Timberlake and actor Alfonso Ribeiro exit the 17th green.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Celebrity golf 2015
We don’t know if he used a Mulligan, but Timberlake spent a long time taking shots on No. 17.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Celebrity golf 2015
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden goes long.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Fans watch Justin Timberlake’s drive on 18.
PosStartPlayerTotalTodayThruR1R2R3
14SCOBEE, Josh5733F2433 
2T1MULDER, Mark5226F2626 
3T5GAGNE, Eric5129F2229 
4T5FISH, Mardy4927F2227 
5T1WAGNER, Jack4620F2620 
6T7RHODEN, Rick4322F2122 
73TOLLIVER, Billy Joe4116F2516 
T8T7SMOLTZ, John4019F2119 
T8T13MODANO, Mike4020F2020 
10T7SHARPE, Sterling3817F2117 
11T7PFEIFER, Chad3716F2116 
T12T7DEL NEGRO, Vinny3615F2115 
T12T18ELWAY, John3620F1620 
14T18ROENICK, Jeremy3519F1619 
T15T20ALLEN, Ray3318F1518 
T15T35DILFER, Trent3324F924 
17T13FAULK, Marshall3010F2010 
T18T7GORMAN, Rodney298F218 
T1817LOWE, Derek2912F1712 
T20T20CARTER, Joe2813F1513 
T20T23TESTAVERDE, Vinny2814F1414 
T20T23THEISMANN, Joe2814F1414 
T2029HARRISON, Rodney2816F1216 
T20T57RODGERS, Aaron2826F226 
T2516BECKETT, Josh279F189 
T25T25FORD, Colt2714F1314 
T25T25SAKIC, Joe2714F1314 
2815WELLS, David267F197 
29T31RYPIEN, Mark2515F1015 
T30T20TIMBERLAKE, Justin249F159 
T30T39SABERHAGEN, Bret2416F816 
32T25BETTIS, Jerome229F139 
T33T25COLEMAN, Vince218F138 
T33T31MADDUX, Greg2111F1011 
T33T35URLACHER, Brian2112F912 
T33T39BLAKE, James2113F813 
37T35RICE, Jerry2011F911 
38T31OSHIE, TJ199F109 
3948ROONEY, Joe Don1812F612 
T40T39CLEMENS, Roger179F89 
T40T39HOFFMAN, Trevor179F89 
T40T49GLAVINE, Tom1712F512 
T4330BROWN, Tim165F115 
T43T39WEEDEN, Brandon168F88 
T43T57JANIKOWSKI, Sebastian1614F214 
T46T39RODRIGUEZ, Ivan146F86 
T4647EIFERT, Tyler147F77 
T46T49JANSEN, Dan149F59 
T49T39BRODEUR, Martin135F85 
T49T49WAKEFIELD, Tim138F58 
T49T49ALLEN, Marcus138F58 
T49T60MILLAR, Kevin1312F112 
T49T67SMITH, Ozzie1314F-114 
54T64MILLER, Bode1212F012 
T55T31SMITH, Alex111F101 
T55T49MCMAHON, Jim116F56 
57T35RIBEIRO, Alfonso101F91 
58T39LOFTON, Kenny91F81 
T5954SMITH, J.R.51F41 
T59T67CORNWELL, Lisa56F-16 
T61T55WALTON, David41F31 
T61T71MCGRIFF, Fred47F-37 
63T60BAUMGARTNER, Brian21F11 
6470BUSH, Billy13F-23 
T65T60ROBERTSON, Willie0-1F1-1 
T65T60HAWK, AJ0-1F1-1 
T67T55SPURRIER, Steve-2-5F3-5 
T67T57PETERSON, Patrick-2-4F2-4 
T6974YOUNG, Steve-31F-41 
T6986CONE, David-312F-1512 
T71T64ERUZIONE, Mike-4-4F0-4 
T71T64O’HURLEY, John-4-4F0-4 
73T67RIGGLE, Rob-5-4F-1-4 
7479BATTIER, Shane-81F-91 
75T71ALLEN, Jared-11-8F-3-8 
T76T75COLLINSWORTH, Cris-13-6F-7-6 
T7684SMITH, Emmitt-13-1F-12-1 
T78T77KELLY, Brian-17-9F-8-9 
T78T82ROMANO, Ray-17-6F-11-6 
T78T82DEMARCUS, Jay-17-6F-11-6 
81T71JONES, Andruw-20-17F-3-17 
82T77EDWARDS, Herm-21-13F-8-13 
83T75HAYSBERT, Dennis-22-15F-7-15 
84T80CHASTAIN, Brandi-24-14F-10-14 
T8585NEALON, Kevin-25-12F-13-12 
T8589WARD, Hines-25-3F-22-3 
8788GREEN, Trent-32-14F-18-14 
88T80THE CABLE GUY, Larry-35-25F-10-25 
8987BORTLES, Blake-45-28F-17-28 
9090BARKLEY, Charles-62-34F-28-34 
9191ALEXIS, Kim-66-32F-34-32
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
        

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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