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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tyler Thigpen to attend Monday After Masters

Miami Dolphins quarterback and Coastal Carolina graduate Tyler Thigpen and three-time PGA Tour winner Brian Gay are among recent commitments to the 17th annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am.

Thigpen is among a handful of first-time participants, including PGA Tour members Blake Adams and Josh Teater, who each earned approximately $1 million on tour last year.

NFL legend Dan Marino confirmed Sunday he was returning to the event, being played April 11 at Barefoot Resort's Dye Club, and other celebrities scheduled to take part include: former Major League Baseball players Chuck Finley, Mickey Tettleton and Jaret Wright; wrestler Ric Flair; radio hosts Doug Gottlieb, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic; current or former NFL players Chris Redman, Jim McMahon, George Rogers and Sterling Sharpe; NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty; actors Tom Berenger, Gary Valentine and Kevin Sorbo; comedian Jackie Flynn; and caddie Fluff Cowan.

Musicians scheduled to appear, in addition to Hootie's four members, are Edwin McCain, Eric Bass, Colt Ford, Jack Ingram, Josh Kelley, Johnny Lee, Andrew Copeland of Sister Hazel, and Scott Phillips of Alter Bridge.

Some celebrities, including Flair and Berenger, will be at the golf course and take part in some functions but won't be playing golf.

Other pro golfers scheduled to attend include: Jim Furyk, Woody Austin, John Daly, Ricky Barnes, Chris DiMarco, Ken Duke, Tommy Gainey, Robert Gamez, Spencer Levin, Kristy McPherson, Ryan Palmer, Larry Rinker, Charlie Rymer, Darron Stiles, Kyle Thompson and D.J. Trahan.

Tournament organizers are continuing to recruit more players and other player announcements are likely forthcoming.

Tournament director Paul Graham said more than 30 foursomes at approximately $5,000 per player have registered to play, and many more have inquired.

"It's about as slammed as it's ever been," Graham said. "We're basically turning away right now because we have to fulfill the commitments we already have. The demand is way bigger than we can actually accommodate."

Be like Mike & Mike

Tournament organizers have decided that anyone who purchases a ticket to the Hootie MAM can also attend the national broadcast of ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show from the event.

The broadcast featuring Greenberg and Golic is from 6-10 a.m. April 11 from the first tee of the Dye Club, and will air live on both ESPN Radio and the ESPN2 television station.

ESPN has requested that at least 250 people be present for the start of the show, and more are encouraged to attend. Spectators are encouraged to make signs before and noise during the broadcast.

Prospective audience members are asked to park at the Alabama Theatre in Barefoot Landing no later than 5:15 a.m. and buses will begin transporting at 5:30 a.m. Buses will transport spectators throughout the day.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the House of Blues, Barefoot Resort pro shops and all Ticketmaster outlets. Children 12 and younger are admitted free, though they must have a ticket to enter. More information is available at Hootiegolf.com.

Hootie MAM weekend will kick off for the third consecutive year with the Javier and Friends Concert and Dinner at Barefoot Bar and Grille on Friday, April 8. The concert will feature Javier, Madonna Nash and Tootie & the Jones. Tickets are $125 per person and also include dinner, alcoholic beverages and a silent auction.

Like the Hootie MAM tournament, all proceeds benefit the Hootie foundation and South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation. For tickets contact Melvin Fields at 843-450-3038 or ddmhomes@yahoo.com, or Alexa Harnig at 843-343-7451 or smudevine@aol.com for credit card purchases. Tickets for $250 combine the Javier event with other events through Hootie weekend.

Festival part of event

The third annual the RBC Cup: Battle at the Beach on Wednesday at Prestwick Country Club is sold out of playing spots, but an accompanying golf festival from 10-4 p.m. Wednesday at Prestwick is open to the public.

The festival will include free 10-minute lessons from Carolinas PGA pros and the opportunity to demo new equipment from Nike, TaylorMade, Callaway and Golf Pride. Junior clubs will be provided.

Steve Carter, tournament director and senior marketing manager with RBC Bank for Pawleys Island and Myrtle Beach, expects more than 20 vendors including arts and crafts artists, Ocean Lakes Campground and Myrtle Beach Direct Air. Also scheduled to be present are at least a couple mascots, Canadian government ambassadors, a Royal Canadian mountie. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

The RBC Cup is a friendly competition between teams representing the U.S. and Canada. Coastal Carolina football coach David Bennett is captain of the U.S. team, while Hockey Hall of Fame member Yvan Cournoyer is the Canadian captain.

The scramble tournament tees off at 11 a.m., and the lowest five foursomes for each team count toward the total. NBA champion Gus Williams is also participating, and all proceeds benefit the Myrtle Beach Haven homeless shelter, which takes in whole families and keeps them together. Organizers are requesting non-perishable food items be brought to the festival.

Juniors getting treatment

Sixteen of the top junior golfers in Canada's Ontario province are getting a taste of some of the Strand's top courses and the state's top junior golfers this week.

Wachesaw Plantation Club is again hosting the 13th annual Can-Am Junior Team Matches on Saturday and Sunday, pitting the top eight boys and top eight girls in South Carolina against their counterparts from Ontario. The format is Ryder Cup style with Four Ball matches beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and individual singles matches beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Wachesaw has hosted the matches since 2002 and has agreed to host the event through 2013. The series stands at 9-3 in favor of the Palmetto state. The team from South Carolina is selected by using the Heritage Classic Foundation junior rankings and no Grand Strand juniors qualified for the team. Lorraine Ballerano of Myrtle Beach is a coach, however.

During their trip, the Canadian juniors are also scheduled to play The Reserve Club, Founders Club, DeBordieu Club and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

Norman school on track

Scott Shobe, director of instruction at the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy, said the planned move of the academy from Long Bay Club to Barefoot Resort is essentially on schedule.

Shobe hopes construction on the main building will begin by May 1 and instructors and students can move into the building on September 1.

The Barefoot academy will offer golf instruction, academic schooling in on-site classrooms and housing for high-school-age students; gap-year programs for golfers before they enter college; and advanced training for college players and touring professionals. Traditional teaching offerings for adults and juniors will also be offered.

Tar Heel treasures

A handful of Brunswick County courses are ranked among the top 100 in North Carolina for 2010 by the N.C. Golf Panel.

Ocean Ridge Plantation courses Leopard's Chase and Tiger's Eye Golf Links are 35th and 37th, respectively. St. James Plantation's private Reserve Club is No. 40, Bald Head Island Club is No. 44, Crow Creek is No. 73, Rivers Edge is No. 78 and the Jones Course at Sea Trail Plantation is No. 88.

Pinehurst No. 2 remains the No. 1 course in the state but Grandfather Mountain Golf and Country Club in Linville jumped ahead of Old North State in New London into the second spot. The list was published in the Winter 2011 edition of GolfStyles magazine and is at ncgolfpanel.com.

Junior Shootout set

Myrtle Beach National is accepting player applications for the eighth annual Myrtle Beach Junior Golf Shootout during Easter weekend, April 22-23. The two-day tournament generally hosts more than 150 boys and girls, and eight states were represented last year.

The entry fee is $135 for players ages 10-18 and $60 for players 9 and under, and the entry deadline is April 19. In addition to tournament rounds on the West and Southcreek courses, the event includes lunch each day, a welcome gift and door prizes. Caddies are allowed, including family members.

To register or for more information call 1-800-344-5590 or visit mbn.com/jrgolfshootout.

To view Blondin's blog, Green Reading, or Q&A Forum, Ask Al, go to TheSunNews.com.

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