Celebrities

Why Justin Timberlake played golf with Jimmy Fallon, Patrick Mahomes and other celeb pals

group shot at 8AM invitational

Imagine a golf tournament that values vibe over score. And the golf hang over the golf grind.

Now add 20 golf-obsessed celebrities to the field and tell them their mission is to have a good time and raise awareness for the American Skin Association. The result is the 2022 8AM Golf Invitational hosted by JT and Wynn Las Vegas.

The “JT” stands for Justin Timberlake, an investor and partner in 8AM Golf, a holding company that owns GOLF.com and eight other golf brands. It’s also my place of work. Timberlake, a 10-time Grammy Award winner with a deep passion for golf, started working with 8AM in the spring of 2021. He leads creative initiatives across its portfolio of brands, and while he’s currently working on several projects with 8AM, this Invitational was the first to launch publicly.

The host after stuffing one tight. Stephon Denton

Timberlake handpicked 19 friends to join him at Wynn Las Vegas from April 21-23 to compete in the 8AM Golf Invitational. Why Wynn? In addition to its elevated aesthetic, it operates the only golf course located right on the Strip, making it convenient for participants to walk from their rooms to the course to the tables. The friends who joined Timberlake included entertainers Jimmy Fallon, Kathryn Newton, Chace Crawford and ScHoolboy Q, and NFL standouts Patrick Mahomes, JJ Watt, TJ Watt, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Pro golfers Michelle Wie, Mel Reid and Tim Clark joined other household-name athletes like Michael Phelps and CC Sabathia to round out the field. The participants ranged in handicap from plus-3 to 24.

Among the attendees at Wynn were Jimmy Fallon… Stephon Denton (both)
…and actress Kathyrn Newton (nice hops!).

Paired in teams of two, they enjoyed a friendly scramble format over two rounds of golf. Mahomes and Kelce, partners in the event and also teammates on the Kansas City Chiefs, took home the top prize after shooting a two-day total of 18 under par. They won by two shots over three teams who tied for second place — bromantic duo Timberlake and Fallon, actors Newton and Crawford and NHL players Jarret Stoll and Scott Hartnell.

There was an eight-way tie at the top when Mahomes and Kelce were standing on the 17th green. Fallon, who played with the winners on the final day, tried his best to ensure a playoff. Standing on the 17th green, he’d seen Kelce’s putts come up short all day and said, “Give me that,” while pointing to Kelce’s ball, fully intending to toss the ball into a nearby lake. Kelce instead gave Fallon his milled Scotty Cameron putter, and Fallon, who admitted after his round that his “brain didn’t turn off,” promptly threw the putter into the lake. Undaunted, Kelce putted on the final hole with his driver, and soon after hoisted a trophy alongside his partner.

To the victors — Travis Kelce, left, and Patrick Mahomes — go the spoils. Stephen Denton

The laid-back rounds were followed by upscale dinner experiences that had a “modern rat pack” dress code, a nod to Frank Sinatra’s rich history at Wynn Las Vegas, which Old Blue Eyes frequented when it was called The Desert Inn. The resort showed the celebrities what it does best when it hosted a poker tournament that included all 20 golfers plus 50 of the resort’s VIPs. Fallon grabbed the mic and emceed part of the tournament, Timberlake beat-boxed and also briefly emceed, and the competitors raised $600,000 for American Skin Association.

Camaraderie and charity were the cornerstones of the event, and they’re the qualities Timberlake most appreciates about golf. 

“It was a great time,” Mahomes said as he accepted his trophy. “Let’s run this back next year.”

You got it, Patrick.

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