Roethlisberger, Timberlake To Join
Jordan As Celebrities For 2009
Golf Digest/U.S. Open Challenge

April 17, 2009

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger demonstrated grace under fire at this past February's Super Bowl, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, and giving the Pittsburgh Steelers a record six titles.

But can "Big Ben" deliver under similar pressure on the golf course?

The world will find out if the two-time Super Bowl champion can break 100 under challenging U.S. Open conditions at Bethpage State Park's Black Course as one of the three celebrities in the Golf Digest /U.S. Open Challenge June 12.

Roethlisberger, 27, agreed to join Hall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan, 46, and entertainer Justin Timberlake, 28, in the special event, which will be broadcast just prior to the scheduled final-round telecast June 21 on NBC from noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Justin Timberlake will look to improve upon the 98 he posted in last year's Challenge. (John Mummert/USGA)

The fourth at-large participant will be selected via public voting that is currently taking place through May 1 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. A total of 73,581 individuals sent in six-word essays and videos, with that list eventually being whittled to four final nominees: Phillippe de Kerillis of Erdenheim, Pa., Larry Giebelhausen of Scottsdale, Ariz., Dale Matthews of McLean, Va., and Bob Ray of Arnold, Md.

Timberlake took part in last year's Challenge at Torrey Pines and shot 98. He also is the host of the PGA Tour's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open held in Las Vegas.

Roethlisberger will have to play mighty well to best last year's quarterback participant, Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. Romo, who has made attempts to qualify for the U.S. Open and has filed an entry for this year's championship, carded an impressive 84.

Jordan, Timberlake and Roethlisberger all have a single-digit USGA Handicap Index and have been included in previous Golf Digest rankings of athletes and musicians. In the 2007 list of the top athlete-golfers, Jordan ranked T-30 with an Index of 1.2 and Roethlisberger was T-121 with a 7.0. Timberlake was ranked T-15 with a Handicap Index of 6.0 in the 2008 Golf Digest Top 100 in Music list.

Premier instructor Butch Harmon will once again caddie for Timberlake, while 15-time PGA Tour winner and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples will caddie for Jordan. Roethlisberger's caddie will be announced at a later date.

Storycompiled by USGA Digital Media staff writer David Shefter.


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