Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino committed on Monday to participate in the 24th Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am, and a pair of musicians from Prince's The Revolution and Earth, Wind & Fire are also among the recent commitments.
The tournament will be held April 9 at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club, and the field is set with the possible exception of a few late additions or withdrawals.
Dez Dickerson, the original guitar player and a backup vocalist with Prince and The Revolution, Philip Bailey, a lead singer with Earth, Wind & Fire, and Arabian Prince, a founding member of the rap group N.W.A., have committed and should add considerably to the post-tournament concert at the House of Blues.
Pro golfers participating include two-time U.S. Ryder Cup Team captain Davis Love III, who has won 21 PGA Tour events, and gregarious PGA Tour character Pat Perez, who has won three times in more than 400 PGA Tour starts, including at the 2018 CIMB Classic.
“It’s going to be an awesome year so we’re really looking forward to it,” tournament director Paul Graham said. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls. We may have a few more names as the tournament comes around.”
Spectator tickets sold out within a couple days of their release on Feb. 19. The event has now sold out of its approximate 6,000 spectator tickets in each of the past 12 years.
Also scheduled to participate is PGA Tour rookie Roberto Diaz, who lived in Myrtle Beach for seven years after graduating from USC Aiken in 2009 and still represents the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort on tour.
The professional golfers also include past or present PGA Tour members Harold Varner III, Woody Austin, Chris DiMarco, Ken Duke, Chesson Hadley, Chris DiMarco, Robert Gamez, Wil Wilcox, D.J. Trahan, Robert Gamez and Troy Merritt.
World Series winner Tony Womack and former NBA player Spud Webb are among the recent celebrity commitments.
Previously released commitments include ESPN Radio host Mike Golic, basketball hall of famer Rick Barry, hockey legend Grant Fuhr and social media personality and swimsuit model Paige Spiranac, who is taking part in a Myrtle Beach golf marketing campaign this year.
Others include former University of South Carolina football stars George Rogers and Corey Miller, musicians Javier Colon, Edwin McCain and Drew Copeland, and actor/comedian Gary Valentine.
Graham said last year’s event raised $300,000. All proceeds benefit the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, which supports educational and junior golf charities through annual donations and a $3 million endowment that was created through the tournament’s fundraising. Visit HootieGolf.com for more information.
Dunes Club renovating
Renovations to bunkers and drainage this summer will result in The Dunes Golf and Beach Club closing to outside play for 12 weeks.
The bunker and drainage renovation project will be done in two nine-hole phases from June 5 through Sept. 1.
Nine holes will be open for member play each six-week interval as work is done on the other nine holes.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a construction site out there, so we didn’t want to have a guest come in and have to play around heavy equipment,” The Dunes Club head professional Dennis Nicholl said. “The members can appreciate that because they know something is getting improved on their golf course.”
All of the iconic course’s bunkers will be redone with the help of architect Rees Jones through a building process that is designed to hold sand high in the bunker faces and make the bunkers playable shortly after heavy rain.
Jones is the son of Dunes Club designer Robert Trent Jones and has overseen renovations in the past to the course, which opened in 1948 and has hosted national USGA and PGA of America championships, as well as the Senior Tour Championship from 1994-99.
“The bunkers will save us time from maintenance and they’ll be much better from a playability standpoint,” Nicholl said.
The Dunes Club’s golf shop reopened last Tuesday with a new design after being closed from Nov. 15, when the professional staff moved to a trailer in the parking lot. It has a split floor design with resort and member sides, a separate members-only room, a fitting room, redesigned offices and expanded merchandise lines.
“The look and feel is so cool, and we have a few higher-end vendors like Peter Millar and Polo,” Nicholl said.
Two bathrooms on the course that were built more than 40 years ago between holes 2 and 15 and holes 3 and 6 were rebuilt in the theme of the old Chapin fishing cabin on the swash that hosted the original meeting in the late 1940s to discuss building the golf course.
Drainage work will target low points on the course such as the 10th and 13th holes, as well as areas between holes 3 and 6. “This course is already one of the best draining courses in the area because it’s all sand next to the ocean, but we’ll just make that product a little better,” Nicholl said. “We’re rolling on with the renovations here this summer.”
USGA announces sites
The United States Golf Association has announced its qualifying sites for its three open championships, including some in relative proximity to the Grand Strand.
Local qualifying for the U.S. Open will be conducted over 18 holes at 112 sites in 45 states and Canada between April 30 and May 17.
Local sites in the Carolinas are Columbia Country Club in Blythewood on May 9, Belfair Plantation in Bluffton on May 14, Duke University Golf Club in Durham, N.C., on May 9, River Landing Golf Club in Wallace, N.C., on May 11 and Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C., on May 14.
There will be 12 sectional qualifying sites for those who advance from local qualifying and the 118th U.S. Open will be held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., from June 14-17.
Neither the U.S. Senior Open nor the U.S. Women’s Open have local qualifying, only sectional qualifying.
Senior Open qualifying will be held at 34 sites in 26 states from May 21 to June 11, including June 4 at both Callawassie Island Club outside Hilton Head Island and Highland Country Club in Fayetteville, N.C.
The 39th U.S. Senior Open will be played at The Broadmoor Golf Club’s East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo., from June 28 to July 1.
Women’s Open sectional qualifying will be held at 25 total sites and 21 domestic locations between May 2-17 including Dunwoody Country Club in Atlanta on May 7 and Bermuda Run Country Club outside Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 15.
The 73rd U.S. Women’s Open will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala.
Players can register for the championships online at champs.usga.org. U.S. Open registration began this month and the entry deadlines are April 25 for the men’s and women’s opens and May 16 for the Senior Open.
Steve Azar - Musician
Philip Bailey - Musician
Rick Barry - NBA
Ray Boudreaux - Musician
Mark Bryan - Musician
Andy Buckley - Actor
Jim Cantore - Weather Channel
Javier Colon - Musician
Drew Copeland - Musician
Jimbo Covert - NFL
Patrick Davis - Musician
Ira Dean - Musician
Dez Dickerson - Musician
Patrick DiMarco - NFL
Shawn Drover - Musician
Debbe Dunning - Actor
Angie Everhart - Actor
Joey Fatone - Musician
Dean Felber – Musician
Jackie Flynn - Actor / Comedian
Grant Fuhr - NHL
Mike Golic - ESPN
Adam Humphries - NFL
Dan Marino - NFL
Edwin McCain - Musician
Corey Miller - NFL
Jim McMahon - NFL
Nathan Morris - Musician
Preston Pohl - Musician
Arabian Prince - Musician
George Rogers - NFL
Jason Scheff - Musici
Darius Rucker - Musician
Tony Siragusa - NFL
Jim Sonefeld - Musician
Paula Trickey - Actor
Tony Womack - MLB
Gary Valentine - Actor / Comedian
Spud Webb – NBA
Hootie Pro Golfers
Davis Love III
Harold Varner III