NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Is Hootie going high-tech?
Event officials said Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, is kicking in $290,000 for the 2007 event, to be held April 9 at the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort.
It's the first time the popular event has had a co-sponsor in the five years it's been played on the Grand Strand. In recent years, marketing giant Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, which is credited with luring the tournament from Kiawah Island, has been the sole backer. MBGH is contributing $300,000 this year, tournament chairman Paul Graham said.
The Intel deal is for one year, with company and tournament officials to meet after the event to discuss a possible continuing relationship, Graham said. "We both agreed it would be a good, exploratory deal. So far, we feel confident that they'll want to be involved long term."
Intel has plans to broadcast an edited version of the post-tournament concert on two company Web sites, intelentertainment.com and intel.com. It will also be shown on the tournament's official site, www.hootiegolf.com.
The event has drawn marquee golfers in the past, including Tiger Woods in 1998 and Arnold Palmer last year. J.B. Holmes, Rucker and Dan Marino led their six-person team to the tournament win last year and a team led by South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier finished second.
Celebrities on tap for this year's pro/am include Holmes, Spurrier, jazz musician Branford Marsalis, John Daly, Jason Sehorn, Andy North, Dwight Clark, Jim McMahon, Sterling Sharpe, country singers Steve Azar, Johnny Lee and Jake Owen, and actors Gary Valentine (King of Queens), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules and Andromeda), Anthony Anderson (The Departed) and Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights).
Other pro golfers in the field include Woody Austin, Lee Elder, Robert Gamez, 2002 PGA Champion Rich Breem, Ricky Barnes, Mark Lye, Troy Matteson and Erica Blasberg.
Tournament organizers expect to set a record with ticket sales. Proceeds have set a record every year the event has been on the Strand, with last year's $450,000 take a 6 percent improvement on 2005. Ticket revenues go to the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation and the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, which supports the educational needs of South Carolina children. All four members of the band - Darius Rucker, Dean Felber, Jim "Soni" Sonefeld and Mark Bryan - hail from the state, and the group formed at the University of South Carolina.
Tickets for the Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro/Am are $10 (children 12 and under free) and are available at the Barefoot Resort pro shop, the House of Blues Myrtle Beach (site of the post-tournament concert) and all Ticketmaster locations.
March 21, 2007