When the band members from Hootie & the Blowfish first became involved with what has become the annual tradition of Monday After the Masters, they didn't know quite what to expect for the long-term future of the celebrity pro-am golf tournament.
All these years later, though, they now have a pretty clear sense for the event's appeal.
The 17th annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am sold out all 6,000 available tickets in advance this year as the tournament returned to the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort, and a significant crowd started forming early Monday behind the first tee box as ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning radio show began their live broadcast at 6 a.m.
"It's really cool that something that we started 17 years ago is still going on and all these people are here," singer Darius Rucker said before teeing off. "It's a cool experience to know that all these people are coming out every year, and they take their kids out of school and it's a big party, and everybody's trying to have a good time. People look forward to this, they plan their vacations around it.
"It's a fun event that we didn't think would turn into this, but we're glad it did."
Rucker played in a group with PGA Tour pro and 2010 FedEx Cup champion Jim Furyk for the second year in a row. The two were a popular pairing - for general spectators and autograph seekers alike - and both were obliging throughout the day.
"It's so fun to see them out of their element and just communicating with the fans and just being real people," said Valerie Coffey of Fort Mill.
Coffey caught up with the group before they teed off on No. 11. After Rucker had finished signing for a row of fans and headed back to the tee box, another autograph seeker called him back over to the rope.
"I've got bad knees and a bad back. I can't be walking all over this place to sign autographs," Rucker said jokingly, while obliging yet another request.
Furyk, meanwhile, talked about his choice in driver with one fan and ragged on Clemson a bit with another while signing for the same group.
He had come to the tournament straight from Augusta, Ga., after finishing tied for 24th at the Masters a day earlier.
"It's just one of those events that's easy to do because I enjoy the people that are involved, I have a great time while I'm here, and I know it's a great cause," Furyk said. "... We came last year, had a blast. So now my wife and I, we're hopefully trying to keep it on the schedule every year."
Same for musician Josh Kelley, who won the celebrity long-drive competition with a drive of 266 yards. He said this was the fourth or fifth year he has participated in the event.
"The guys in Hootie & the Blowfish helped me out a lot. When I was 21 years old, they kind of brought me into the business. They took me to shows, and they sort of showed me how it was done," Kelley said.
"So regardless of whether I've got things going on or not, this tournament is the tournament that I always want to be at, and I love this tournament. I love the boys, and I love the cause. It's good stuff."
The tournament field boasted a cross section of musicians, golfers, and other professional athletes and celebrities.
The primary beneficiaries of the money raised by the event - which initially started in Columbia - are S.C. educational causes and the S.C. Junior Golf Foundation.
James Cox, of Aynor, was among the first-timers in the crowd Monday and brought his 10-year old son James, who proudly showed off a hat he had autographed by a number of the participants.
The strongest endorsement Monday might have come from 10-year-old James.
"Me and my dad said that we loved it so much this year, we might come almost every year," he said.