Kristy McPherson blogs about her experience playing in the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters.
After an exciting week at Kraft for me, Meredith Duncan joined me for my first every trip to the Masters! I have had the opportunity to play Augusta National twice, but I had never been up for the tournament. After staying two days to watch the big boys fight for the coveted green jacket, Meredith and I headed to my hometown of Conway, SC.
Hootie & the Blowfish is a popular band from South Carolina. For you young ones out there, the band is no longer playing together, but you have probably heard of the lead singer Darius Rucker. These amazing guys just finished their 15th year of their charity event, the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters (MAM) in Myrtle Beach, SC. This event brings in professional golfers and celebrities from all over to raise money for the South Carolina Junior Golf Association (SCJGA)!
Growing up through junior golf in South Carolina, our favorite tournament to play in was always the Caddy Classic. In this event, each player had the opportunity to win a caddy spot for one of the celebrities or professional golfers in the MAM! The order that we finished in determined the order that we got to pick in. I remember one year that I won and I received the first pick, being your typical 15 year old girl, I bypassed the pick of Tiger Woods and Brett Favre and jumped straight to “Zach Morris”, Mark Paul Gosslar from Saved By the Bell. Hey, I was the coolest kid in school when people found out I was going to caddy for Zach. But I was the dumbest kid in school when he didn’t show up and I ended up with no cute actor or no famous professional athlete to caddy for.
Now a dozen years later, I found myself on the other side of the ropes. I got the invite from all of the Hootie guys to play in the event this year for the first time. So I actually got picked by not only one junior golfer this year, but I had two nice young ladies caddying for me.
The celebrity in my group was Jim “Soni” Sonefield, who is the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Going to school at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC we saw the Hootie guys a lot at the golf course, but I had never played with Soni. I can’t say that he was the best golfer of the crowd, but it was better than I expected for sure.
The event is actually a three day event starting on Saturday night and ending Monday evening with a concert from Hootie and friends. The first two nights was a lot of meet and greet with the celebrities and pros. I met a lot of really cool people that were involved in the event, and was so grateful to be included in such an impressive crowd. Annika Sorenstam, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Murray, Josh Kelley, Charles Kelley, Kordell Stewart, Jerome Bettis, Michael Waltrip, John Daly, Edwin McCain, Kyle Petty and Rick Flair were just a few of the celebrites that joined Darius Rucker and the boys to raise money.
Monday morning was the big day on the course. It was a lot of fun to watch a lot of big names to get out of their element and have a great time on the golf course. It was so amazing to be in my hometown and to have so many people to come out and support me. One hole actually had a huge tailgate set up on the side of the fairway, and when I came through they were chanting my name and rushed through the fairway bunker to meet us on the fairway and get my autograph. It was pretty cool when I got a bigger response than Mr. John Daly who was playing behind me. I kinda felt like Lorena in Mexico for a minute…ok, maybe I wasn’t that cool, but the whole scene was kind of a surreal and I soaked up every single minute of it.
The day on the course took every bit of six hours. And after John Daly had got tired of waiting all day, he just kept hitting his tee shots right over our head hole after hole. I had to give him a hard time because you have the longest hitter in the world playing the same tees as a little girl. I would hope he could hit it over my head all day! So once the rain set in, and Daly took the liberty to play through us, we ended the day after 16 holes and prepared for the big concert that night.
The concert is always just a very relaxed night and used to always be my favorite part of the tournament. And even though the golf took the top spot in my heart this year, the concert was still a great evening. I had 16 of my family and friends from the area come meet to enjoy the event with me. After a pretty amazing evening, we called it a night and called it a weekend.
My first year was a pretty remarkable experience and I hope to be a part of the impressive event for many more years to come. I was very proud to be a part helping to raise money for an organization that got me started in this game that I love! Still no Zach Morris for me, but maybe one someday we will be paired together in this event!!