Passion for golf has Timberlake going green

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Justin Timberlake's name is rapidly becoming as big as any in golf.

As mentioned here a few weeks ago, the former lead singer for 'N Sync has expressed his desire to raise the stature of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the PGA Tour and increase the awareness of the charitable cause behind the Las Vegas tournament.

Then, the six-time Grammy winner signed with Callaway Golf to endorse and play its products, which brought him to Grand Central Station to launch Callaway's new FT-iQ driver on Friday.

"I played a show (Thursday) night. I jumped on stage with Madonna in front of 60,000 people and you ask me to hit a ball over here in front of 10 (media) and I'm like ...," said Timberlake, flashing a look of fear as he laughed.

Timberlake, a single-digit handicap, took the liberty of extending the time period allowed for press interviews when he was asked about a pet project, Mirimichi Lakes, which will be as eco-friendly golf course as possible when it opens next year near his home town of Memphis.

"It's the golf course that I grew up 10 minutes from, the closest golf course to me when I grew up. My dad taught me to hit a golf ball on that golf course when I was 10," said Timberlake of the former Big Creek golf course, which had run into financial difficulties and was about to go up for sale.

"I said to my dad: 'Why don't we just buy it?' " said Timberlake, adding that it needed some major work.

"The golf course, itself, is in a wide open field area and I said, 'I wonder how easy it would be to solar power the clubhouse?' " he said.

Timberlake is seeking platinum certification for the clubhouse from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, but the plan is to extend the eco-friendly nature of the course beyond the clubhouse.

SHORT FUSE, NO EXPLOSION

For most people, having a short fuse on the golf course means smacking a golf bag with a 7-iron or unleashing a string of expletives, but Jon Mills is a different sort of cat. His short fuse likely means a whispered cuss or gritted teeth in his case.

"I had a bit of a short fuse out there," admitted Mills, who played his sixth consecutive tournament on the weekend at the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Orlando.

The missed cut he suffered was his eighth straight to end the season for Mills, who was right on the 150th spot on the PGA Tour money list that would have allowed him to advance to the final stage of qualifying school.

Unless a miracle happens, Mills will be teeing it up in the second stage, beginning on Wednesday at the Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Fla.

Mills took the weekend off in order to refresh himself after the grind of the past few weeks. In order to succeed, he will have to get over his recent disappointments.

"It obviously gets in the way a little bit. I improved a lot from two years ago. I played well in some bigger events and had some good finishes. I played well at the U.S. Open (tied for 36th) and there was progress, which you always want," Mills said.

That was the last time he made the cut in 2008.

The good news is that Mills has made it through to the final stage of Q-school on two occasions. The bad news is that he's never made it to the PGA Tour from there.

THE DOIG POUND

Ian Doig, who has played on the Canadian and Asian Tours, has opened the Ian Doig Golf Academy at 55 West Beaver Creek in Richmond Hill.

Doug is working with Jeff Shuster of Fore the Golfer to add fitting, club mapping and club-making components to the academy.


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