Terry’s Top 10: Monday After the Masters Moments
Golf fans are thrilled that Masters week is here, but those of us on the Grand Strand get more excited that the Monday After the Masters Pro-Am is near.
The 17th annual event, hosted by S.C.’s own Hootie and the Blowfish, has found its home on the Grand Strand for the past nine years, bringing big-name celebrities and national attention to the Grand Strand. Locals and tourists have made the tourney a huge success, hopefully with many more years to come.
In preparation for next Monday’s activities at Barefoot Resort and the after-party at the House of Blues, here are my top 10 memories from the tournament:
10) The first and perhaps worst memory of mine from the tournament came years before the Monday After the Masters moved to the Grand Strand. After winning his first Masters in 1997, Tiger Woods made a brief appearance in Myrtle Beach before going to Columbia to play in the tournament. He stopped at All-Star Cafe and slipped out the back door while we reporters were waiting for him out front. He hasn’t been back since so I’m still waiting.
9) The tournament’s first year in town set the tone for its new home on the Grand Srand in 2003. More than 5,000 fans turned out, the weather was picture perfect and the star-power loaded team of Tom Watson, Hootie frontman Darius Rucker and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. I was wondering if they subtracted strokes for having the biggest gallery of the day.
8) The 10th annual event celebrated more years in business than number of actual holes played as the tournament was called after nine holes due to heavy thunderstorms. Rain kept stars in the clubhouse and fans huddled under tents before players were ushered off the course. Former Chicago Bears’ punky QB Jim McMahon took the name of the course a bit too literally, playing the final holes barefooted.
7) John Daly provided the laughs for the 2005 tournament, chucking his wedge into a water hazard, hitting golf balls off of beer cans and generally acting like a buffoon at Barefoot. After a day that included as much drinking as golfing, Daly somehow took the stage at the House of Blues at the after-party and performed an ear-piercing version of Rolling Stone.
6) Marino won his second Monday After The Masters, but Daly stole the show again before the tournament even began. At the pre-tournament auction, Hootie and the Blowfish auctioned off their first tour van, a 1993 Econoline Conversion Van that was featured on MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.” Daly picked up the high-mileage clunker for a cool $160,000, or about 10 times the blue book value. Must have been the beer.
5) Cold temperatures put a damper on the party atmosphere galleries had come to expect at the tournament and even kept many fans away, but the Grand Strand may have gotten its most exposure yet at the 2007 event. The Golf Channel broadcast a recap of the tournament on national television, which was basically a 30-minute info-mercial for Myrtle Beach and the golf industry. It’s good to see charity rewarded.
4) Of all the big-name celebrities to play in the tournament, I got the chance to meet and chat with one of my personal heroes in Tony Kornheiser, a sports columnist for The Washington Post and host of ESPN’s popular talk show “Pardon The Interuption.” T.K. joked about his surprising popularity as an “an old, bald guy” and his ailing golf game. “I’m horrible,” he said. “So if I hit one good shot then I’ve had a great day.”
3) “Cinderella story, coming out of nowhere, he’s got a 5-iron, about 190 yards from the hole and … oh, he really got a hold of that one!” For you “Caddyshack” fans who can quote the classic golf movie scene by scene, then you know that means the arrival of actor Bill Murray at the 2009 Monday After the Masters. I swear I would rather laugh at watching Murray play 18 in a pro-am than Tiger Woods in the final round of a major any day.
2) “Whoo!” signaled the addition of pro wrestler Ric Flair to the Monday After the Masters field, and he wasn’t the only one shouting out his signature call. Fans all over the course made Flair a crowd favorite, somewhat surprising since he is the only “rassler” in a tournament featuring big-name sports, movie and music stars. Fans would really love to see Flair body-slamming Daly on the 18th green.
1) This year’s Monday After the Masters could prove to be the most lucrative yet thanks to the involvement of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show. The two have been pubbing the event and Myrtle Beach golf on a daily basis to a national audience and they will play in the tournament for the first time, so this could be a big boost to the event and the local golf industry. The event is already sold out, and hopefully the same will be true of local courses.