After five years broadcasting live from the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am, ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show won’t be returning this upcoming April.
Instead, at least four Westwood One sports talk radio shows on CBS Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio running from morning to night will take its place on April 11 at the Barefoot Resort Dye Club.
Marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, which sponsors and helps operate the Hootie MAM, is referring to the series of shows as “radio row.”
Radio shows scheduled to broadcast live from the event are CBS shows Gio & Jones from 6-9 a.m., Tiki & Tierney from 9 a.m.-noon, and Doug Gottlieb from 3-6 p.m.
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Westwood One communications director Jana Polsky said Tuesday that Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Mannix, whose NBC show moved from weekends to weekdays last week, will broadcast live from 3-7 on both NBC Sports Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio channels 213 (Sirius) and 202 (XM). She said the decision was made Monday.
“Working with ESPN was great for Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and great for the event. We felt it might be time for a change,” Golden said. “The idea was to create a radio row atmosphere so we’re not relegated to one particular window. We’re capturing the morning audience, midday and afternoon audience. The idea was to spread it out throughout the day with different personalities and different shows.”
Mike & Mike, which is aired simultaneously on ESPN Radio and the ESPN2 television network, has broadcast its 6-10 a.m. show for the past five years from the back of the Dye Club’s first tee, though it was forced inside the Dye clubhouse in 2014 by inclement weather.
The presence of the sports talk radio shows at the Dye Club is part of a media advertising purchase by Golf Holiday that also includes more than 1,500 commercials and mentions during Westwood One sports shows. Some will be specific to the tournament, some will promote Myrtle Beach as a destination and others will feature specific Golf Holiday members.
The change is an attempt to capture a different and maybe larger audience. Golden said the new media buy with Westwood One will reach 187 markets compared to 180 with ESPN, and 667 station affiliates vs. 424 with ESPN.
“ESPN does a wonderful job and Mike & Mike are iconic brands in the morning radio marketplace,” Golden said, “but we felt this was a more efficient targeted buy for us. It provided us additional spots, provided us additional opportunities for our member properties to participate and gain exposure, and it’s something different. We always need to keep pushing it and try to understand how we can do things differently and target different audiences and times of day, and do something different at the event itself.”
Gio & Jones features former NFL linebacker and current CBS college football analyst Brian Jones and radio personality Gregg Giannotti. Tiki & Tierney features former NFL Pro Bowl running back Tiki Barber and radio and TV personality Brandon Tierney, and Gottlieb is a former Oklahoma State basketball standout who has become one of the more popular sports talk radio hosts.
Current NBC sports talk radio shows include Eric Kuselias from 6-9 a.m., Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs from 9 a.m.-noon, and Under Center with Mark Malone from 3-7 p.m.
The location of the individual show booths at the Dye Club will be determined, and most are likely to be separated.
As part of the radio and digital ad buy, commercials will run heavily during the current first quarter of the year to promote the Hootie MAM and spring golf season, then will reemerge in the third quarter targeting the fall golf season.
A sweepstakes to win a trip to Myrtle Beach that will include VIP tickets to the Hootie MAM is included in the radio promotions.
Golden said the agreement with Westwood One is a one-year deal, though he expects a national radio presence to be a staple of the Hootie MAM moving forward.
“We’ll evaluate and see how we feel it performed … and see what the best way to move forward is after this year,” Golden said. “Sports radio has been good for us. Having the promotional element and having the talent come down makes the promotion a little richer.
“Golf tends to index very high when you look at statistics for sports radio listeners, and it targets all of the core major markets we’re targeting – all of our fly markets, all of our drive markets, all of the markets that are critical to us this has significant penetration in, so it’s a good supplement to the golf-specific media that we buy.”
The timing of the Hootie MAM on the heels of the Masters Tournament finish, and the presence of numerous PGA Tour golfers, current or retired athletes and celebrities is ideal for golf-themed sports talk radio shows.
“Golf is at its peak at that time,” Golden said. “It’s great talking material, you’ve got golfers and celebrities and a variety of people there to provide for these folks as interviews, so there’s great content and great personalities, and it’s a good follow to what happened the day before in Augusta.”
The current three-year contract between tournament organizers, Golf Holiday and Barefoot Resort expires after this year’s event.
Golden said Monday and tournament director Paul Graham said in December that they expect the event to remain in the Myrtle Beach area in 2017. It moved to the Dye Club in 2003 after it was held in Columbia and Kiawah Island/Charleston over its first eight years.
Rucker being honored
In large part because of the success of the Hootie & the Blowfish MAM, band frontman and Grammy-winning country artist Darius Rucker is receiving the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Award of Merit this week during its annual Golf Business Conference in San Diego.
The conference is part of the Golf Industry Show running through Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center.
The band makes donations through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the primary fundraiser for the foundation is the tournament and affiliated concert at the Dye Club and House of Blues at Barefoot Landing.
The tournament has raised more than $430,000 in each of the past two years, and helped Rucker and his bandmates establish an endowment of $3 million-plus through the foundation, which makes annual donations largely to education and junior golf charities.
Patrick Golden of Murrells Inlet continues to show that he’s among the top junior golfers in the state.
The Waccamaw High junior, who won the Cheraw Fall Challenge and had several high finishes in junior events in the Carolinas last summer, tied for eighth Sunday in the prestigious Sea Pines Junior Heritage in Hilton Head Island and was in contention down the stretch.
Golden, the son of Golf Holiday’s Bill Golden, was tied for third among 59 boys following an opening-round 73 Saturday on Heron Point by Pete Dye. He was contending for the lead through 13 holes in Sunday’s final round in a second day of cold and blustery conditions before falling off the pace over the final five holes of Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Golden carded an 8-over 151 over the two days to finish six strokes behind winner Kaito Onishi of Bradenton, Fla.
He’ll have another chance to prove he’s one of the best players in South Carolina this upcoming long weekend in the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship at TPC Myrtle Beach. Golden’s instructor for the past couple years has been Allen Terrell, director of the Dustin Johnson Golf School at the TPC.
DJ Junior on tap
The DJ Junior tournament Saturday through Monday is expected to feature 63 boys and 30 girls representing eight countries and 12 states. International players are entered from China, Japan, the Philippines, Sweden, England, Scotland and Canada.
The field was initially 90 players, but organizers added three boys spots through a local qualifier on Jan. 30 that initially had just one boys and one girls spot available. “We want to make sure we have really good local representation,” Golf Holiday tournaments director Jeff Monday said. “We talked a lot from the very beginning about wanting to make it a community event as well, even though it’s going to be an international outreach trying to get the best players in junior golf.”
The tournament is open to spectators, with parking at the course and in the grass near the golf school. Overflow parking is at nearby Inlet Square mall, where shuttles will transport spectators and tournament volunteers.
Tee times are set for 9-11:20 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday and 8-10:20 a.m. Monday, though they could be pushed back by frost delays with high temperatures on the three days expected to be between just 39 and 51. Rain is also possible Monday, according to a weather.com forecast.
DCP schedule set
The local qualifier for the fourth year of the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, which will culminate with the finals at Augusta National Golf Club in April 2017, will again be held at Legends Golf Resort on July 12. The registration deadline is July 7.
Some Brunswick County juniors may opt to attempt qualifying at the Country Club of Landfall Nicklaus Course in Wilmington, N.C., on July 7.
Registration began on Jan. 26 at www.DriveChipandPutt.com.
The competition in four age divisions is for juniors who will be ages 7-15 on the date of the finals – April 2, 2017.
Top performers at local qualifiers held from May-August at 256 sites in all 50 states will advance to subregional then possibly regional qualifiers in July, August and September, and 40 boys and 40 girls finalists will earn an invitation to the National Finals at Augusta National Golf.
The subregional for Legends qualifiers is Aug. 27 at Fort Jackson Golf Club outside Columbia.
The regional sites are all hosts of either major championships or The Players Championship. They are Baltusrol Golf Club, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Medinah Country Club, Oakmont Country Club, Pinehurst Resort, Riviera Country Club, Southern Hills Country Club, The Country Club of Brookline, Olympic Club and TPC Sawgrass.