Ryder Cup Corner: Players unwind at Justin Timberlake dinner


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The Independent Online

Ahead of battle commencing today, the players allowed themselves one last party with a gala dinner.

The event was hosted by Justin Timberlake, the pop artist turned actor, turned golf ambassador. The former 'N Sync front man, who plays to a six handicap, hosts an annual charity tournament in Nevada which counts Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk as its previous winners.

Timberlake took European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his team through proceedings at the Akoo Theatre, which was decorated for the occasion, with giant flags of the two teams draped over the stage. The players were also treated to a performance by American rock band Chicago to help them unwind ahead of the weekend play.

Table toppers

Despite being the two most successful American golfers of their generation, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have never flourished as a Ryder Cup pairing. They have played only two games together – in Detroit in 2004 – and lost both. The pair have never been viewed as close friends but have become table tennis partners. "We've not had much success together on the course, but I will say that as partners on the pong table he and I are delivering," Mickelson said.

Wayward Woods

Tiger Woods was forced to apologise when a drive went array during practice yesterday and struck an unsuspecting fan. Woods, who has rarely produced his best golf at the Ryder Cup, shanked his shot into the rough. The fan seemed to take it with good spirit. Should Woods reproduce the same shot during a singles showdown with Rory McIlroy on Sunday, it is doubtful the American response would be quite so cheery.