This should have been a fun day of golf at Myrtle Beach. The annual Monday after the Masters tournament was postponed like every other event that would bring a crowd of people together.
Stars like Tiger Woods, Samuel L. Jackson, Brett Favre, Wayne Gretsky, Alice Cooper and Meatloaf have been among the hundreds of celebrities who have played in the event that began in Columbia and moved to Myrtle Beach.
Just a little context about the 2009 tournament. The country was in the depth of what has become known as the “Great Recession.” While the recession did not shut down the country the way this year’s pandemic has, it was a major hit to the economy and charitable giving and support for fund raising events suffered.
The band navigated the difficult economic conditions and staged another great event.
This is the story that was published in The Golf Club Newspaper’s May 2009 edition.
The Band Played On,
Bill Murray helps make Monday after the Masters another success
The best way to describe this year’s Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters might be Caddyshack meets Happy Gilmore.
Bill Murray, the star of the iconic golf movie, joined the members of the band and stars from the world of sports, golf, music and Hollywood at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course in North Myrtle Beach for the 15th annual tournament.
Along with Murray, LPGA great Annika Sorenstam, pro football star Jerome Bettis, wrestling champion Ric Flair and PGA Tour star John Daly helped members of the band headline the pro-am tournament.
The interaction with the stars gives golf fans an opportunity to see some good shots, get some autographs and pictures and have some laughs.
Murray showed he is more than just an entertainer on the course.
He can play the game!
Joined by Mark Bryan and PGA Pro Woody Austin, the Cinderella boy, helped his team win the loosely run pro-am.
Murray, Bryan, Austin and their amateur teammates shot a tournament best 18 under par to win the event by a shot.
“I’m an athlete not an entertainer,” Murray boasted to the crowd after splitting the fairway on the fourth hole.
When he didn’t have time to sign autographs on a hole, he would ride by in his golf cart and stick his tongue out at the fans. They may not have gotten an autograph but they have a great story to tell their friends next time they tee it up.
And yes, Murray has a gopher head cover for his driver.
Sorenstam was making her second appearance at the event, one of only a few playing dates on the now retired LPGA Hall of Fame golfer’s schedule.
“Last year Annika won the tournament on my team,” said Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker. “After she won she retired because she didn’t have anything else to accomplish in golf,” joked Rucker.
This year has been a more difficult year for the tournament as it has been for many fund-raising tournaments.
“We had to work a little harder, but we have a great field and a fine turnout,” said Rucker. “This tournament has taken on a life of its own. Who would have thought when we started it fifteen years ago,” he said.
The annual tournament is held to raise money for education needs in South Carolina and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation.
Members of the band don’t just play golf for a day they also provide leadership for the distribution of the proceeds.
“We are hands on with the money . We find problems and get the money to the people who can use it best,” he said.
Not all the celebrities at the event play in the tournament. World championship wrestler Ric Flair never swung a club, but walked the course and had fun with the fans.
“I know I can’t play in something like this. I would be the first one in the water on every hole, but I like what these guys are doing and I wanted to be here to support them,” said the Nature Boy.
Flair would have his caddy or someone from the crowd take his shot while he did his patented strut for the fans.
John Daly has been a frequent participant in the tournament. Daley may have problems playing tour events, but in this fun loving atmosphere he is in his element,
Long John is able to swing, smoke, drink, play guitar throw a football and just have fun for a day while goofing around with the crowd
A gathering of over 6,000 fans filled the course again this year to enjoy the golf and the antics of the celebrities who made the Monday After the Masters one of the great pro-am events of its kind in the country.
TV star Gary Valentine has been a regular member of the celebrity group at the tournament and he like many others enjoy coming to Myrtle Beach each year.
“This is a very well run tournament, rain or shine,” said Valentine, ” and Darius and the band are great hosts.”
The total amount of money raised by the event will be announced later in the year, but every indication is the event will again provide much needed funds for the special causes supported by the band.
“The guys in the band and their entire organization do such a fantastic job and their support makes a lot of things we do during the year possible,” said Chris Miller, the Director of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.
Among the SCJGA activities supported by the proceeds from the tournament are the Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Tour and several Hootie huts for junior golfers all over South Carolina.
Many of the junior golfers who are aided by the money raised at the tournament helped as caddies for the celebrities in the field.
Anna Martin of Piedmont won the girls, SCADA Caddy Classic and won the opportunity to caddy for LPGA Tour newcomer Kristy McPherson.
During the 14 year history of the tournament, the band has helped raise more than $4 million dollars. Since the tournament moved to Myrtle Beach it has reached a new level of support and success.
“The Hootie & the Blowfish Monday after the Masters continues to be one of the most popular events each year in the Myrtle Beach area,” said Bill Golden, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday President. “It would not be spring golf season here on the Grand Strand without the Monday after the Masters Tournament. Golf fans mark the event on their calendars every year and we look forward to continuing the relationship with the band,” he said.
Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday is the host of the tournament and is the marketing group for golf courses and golf related tourism in Myrtle Beach.
This was the seventh year the tournament was held at Myrtle Beach.
Highlights of the tournament will be broadcast on The Golf Channel.