Chris BaldwinThis Week at January 24, 2006

True confession time: I love
Justin Timberlake! As a golfer

There's a confession that needs to be made. It's embarrassing, somewhat humiliating (okay, forget the somewhat) and thoroughly against any code of coolness. It's the kind of thing that a guy who wants to be thought of as - well, a GUY just doesn't admit.

Ever. Not under oath. Not under torture. Not under Carmen Electra's spell.

Still, it must be said.

I love Justin Timberlake! There! Happy? I just love the NSYNC, boy band, Mickey Mouse Club man with the high-pitched singing voice and twirling dance moves.

Not in a squealing, junior high girl with 155 Justin posters plastered on her bedroom wall way. Certainly not in a Brokeback Mountain sense. But I love Justin Timberlake. I became smitten at age 32, only about two decades and a few years later than his average devotee. Still from his snazzy shiny shoes, right up to that scruff on his chin that can finally pass for beginner beard, I love him. As a golfing gentleman.

How could anyone who attended the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs not? For there Timberlake was, playing to the crowds, especially the kids, signing autographs after every round, smiling free, just straight bombing it off the tees.

That's right, the boy band man has more than a little John Daly in him. Justin Timberlake launches the ball 280 yards, more than occasionally leaving sports he-men like Roger Clemens, Marshall Faulk, Mark Mulder and Sterling Sharp in his dust. Of course, also more than occasionally, those monster drives would land up in someone's backyard or patio.

Which would only prompt Timberlake to come over and introduce himself to the stunned owners and hit his next shot.

The old saying is that golfing reveals character. The new variation is that you can learn more about someone in one round of golf than six months of business meetings. I don't know that I believe that mumbo jumbo. But golfing certainly does reveal someone's true manners.

Which is why it's so interesting to have celebrities in a PGA Tour event. By the end of four rounds of pressure play, these highly competitive people - and if you're on top of any industry you're fiery competitive - are going to reveal their true everyday demeanors. Even the best actor cannot hide jerk tendencies through four days of six-hour rounds where he's bound to fail more than succeed.

Take Samuel L. Jackson. Who doesn't think they're going to like Shaft? He comes across as a cool guy on screen. Turns out he's about as pleasant as nails on a chalkboard.

Matthew McConaughey? Every bit as self important, haughty as you'd think he would be. Why is he a movie star again?

George Lopez? The new Bill Murray before Murray got so serious. How do you know Lopez is authentic? He gave his Rose Bowl national championship tickets to his assistant. Believe me, that left McConaughey speechless.

One other thing. Carson Daly is not close to as irritating as you'd expect from watching his late night talk show. In fact, he's one of the best guys in the field.

I know, it changes the whole TV watching experience. Can't make fun of Carson Daly? What gives?

Does that mean I have to buy Timberlake's new album? Damn truth-revealing golf.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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