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Hootie's post-Masters golf tournament in Myrtle Beach draws stars, record crowds

By Brandon Tucker,
Senior Writer

Sell-out crowds braved chilly temperatures to join sports and entertainment stars on and off the golf course at the 13th annual Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After the Masters charity golf pro-am in Myrtle Beach.

The 2007 Masters featured unseasonably cool weather, and it was more of the same just up the road in Myrtle Beach the Monday after.

But that didn't stop the action, or keep the celebrities and crowds away, at the annual Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After the Masters pro-am charity tournament benefiting the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation and the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, which supports educational and junior-golf programs in the state.

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For the second consecutive year, the tournament drew an estimated 6,000 fans to Barefoot Resort's Dye course. This year's 13th edition was the first with a corporate sponsor Intel on board, with Intel kicking in nearly $300,000.

Despite Sunday-night parties that went on until 3 a.m. - this is celebrities and Myrtle Beach we're talking about, after all - John Daly, Hootie & the Blowfish band members and many more stars were right on schedule the next morning.

Some brought their game face, with many of the amateurs spending Monday morning warming up on the putting green. Others were a bit more casual - none more so than Daly, who's played the event every year.

Daly wasn't letting an abdominal injury he suffered a few weeks earlier get in the way of the fun. Wearing jeans, a golf chain and what looked like an off-the-rack Wal-Mart windbreaker, he was spotted walking to his cart with a cocktail in each hand just before the 10:30 a.m. shotgun.

"If they let me drink and smoke all day on tour, dressed like I want, I'd win every week," he said.

Singer Josh Kelley, an Augusta native, showed that even celebrities can sometimes suffer the woes of travel. Arriving at the Dye course in the morning, he discovered his clubs hadn't made the trip.

Even with his drives eliciting "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd, the former Division 1 college golfer was quick to assert that he'd be hitting plenty further with his own sticks.

According to Kelley, it's no coincidence that he and so many other musicians take to golf.

Mark Bryan, John Daly and Kevin Valentine Together"Timing, brother," he said while attempting to defend his Monday After the Masters long-drive title. "It's all timing. If you're a good musician you can be an even better golfer and vice versa. I think timing is even more important than technique. It's everything."

Kelley and fellow long driver Daly made quite the pair the night before, singing duets and "songwriting" in Kelley's tour bus until 3 a.m. They even offered some of their groundbreaking lyrics to the crowd: "I don't need no H-2-O, I've got me a Michelob "

Actor Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights) was the celebrity long driver at 333 yards, but three-time Re/Max Long Drive champion Sean "The Beast" Fister put him to shame, unloading back-to-back 410-yard rockets.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was ESPN's Stuart Scott; when called to the tee he opted for the microphone, telling a few jokes before scurrying off.

"John Buccigross is the player among us [SportsCenter anchors], not me," he said.

The main event, a six-man scramble, went down to the wire, with the team led by Tour pro Ricky Barnes and former NFL star Sterling Sharpe winning a chip-off against LPGA pro Erica Blasberg and Hootie & the Blowfish's Dean Felber.

Felber couldn't complain too much about coming up short. The charity auction the night before was highlighted by Hootie lead singer Darius Rucker bidding $70,000 to win a custom red, white and blue Orange County Chopper donated by Silverton Hotel & Casino - then giving it to his band mate as a 40th-birthday present.

"I'm sure gonna piss off all my neighbors with that chopper when I get home," Felber said.

Over its history the tournament has raised more than $3 million for charity. "It's hard for us to believe the event gets bigger and better every year," Felber said, "but it does somehow."

Highlights of this year's Monday After the Masters will be broadcast in May by the Golf Channel.

April 10, 2007

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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