Former New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, Orlando ‘El Duque’ Hernandez and Jim Leyritz are scheduled to participate in the 27th Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am on April 9-10.
They are expected to be joined by golfing legends Nancy Lopez and John Daly, wrestling legend Ric Flair and several more celebrities and pro golfers at the Barefoot Resort Dye Club.
But for the second straight year spectators won’t be able to see them participate.
The band and organizers are running back 2022, as for the second straight year the event won’t have spectators and the golf tournament will be held over two days after being a one-day tourney for its first 25 years.
The charity event pairs paying amateurs with pros and celebrities, and regularly sold out with 6,000 spectators or more prior to being canceled for two consecutive years in 2020-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re keeping the same policy as we did last year. We’re going to give it another run,” said tournament director Paul Graham. “With it being new and just coming off Covid for two years and not having an event, we were just happy to have an event last year.
“We’re not ruling out that we change some things again and maybe have spectators on a day or both days, [but] this year we will not. We’re still examining that for future years, definitely.”
The three-day Hootie MAM event includes sponsor and VIP events such as a welcome party on Saturday, April 8, silent auction and pairing party gala on April 9, and concert at the House of Blues on April 10
Professional golfers participating include Woody Austin, Tommy Gainey, Ken Duke, Billy Hurley, Robert Gamez, Chris DiMarco, Chesson Hadley, Tim O’Neal, Tom Purtzer, Charlie Rymer, Conway native and former LPGA player Kristy McPherson, and social media star and former pro Paige Spiranac.
PGA Tour members who will be playing in their first MAM include Heath Slocum, Arjun Atwal, Carson Young and Will Gordon.
Some of the participating pros will play both days. “We’re happy that they’re willing to do the work and help us out,” Graham said. “By making these changes there’s some newness to it, and the days feel a little bit easier because it’s a little bit less teams every day. It ran really well last year operationally, and of course the band and all their friends put on an incredible show on Monday night.”
Committed athletes include former MLB pitcher Scott Erickson, cyclist Christian Vande Velde, former NFL players Antonio Freeman, Jimbo Covert, Victor Green, Jim McMahon, Corey Miller, Raleigh McKenzie and George Rogers, who won the Heisman Trophy at South Carolina, and N.C. State national championship basketball player Derek Whittenburg.
Actors include John Ashton, Donovan Carter, Anthony Michael Hall, Debbe Dunning, Paula Trickey, Richard Shelton, Kevin Sorbo, DB Sweeney and Alex Thomas.
A multitude of musicians joining the four Hootie members include Brandford Marsalis, Jamey Johnson, Thomas McClary of The Commodores, American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, Jason Scheff of the band Chicago, Dan Tyminski, Tim Nielsen of Drivin’ n Cryin, Christian Kane, Colt Ford, Sarah Faith and Hannah Ellis.
“The celeb list has grown quite a bit so we’re packed with celebrities this year,” Graham said. “We’re pretty pleased with the field.”
Graham said some pro golfers will likely be added to the field, and they could be PGA Tour or LIV Golf members. “There are guys out there who have the invite so we’ll see where it takes us,” Graham said.
The MAM raises money for junior golf and education charities and initiatives in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the event raised $250,000 last year, Graham said. It has raised more than $7 million in its 26 years and is responsible for the creation of a $3 million endowment, according to organizers.
This year’s event will run through Easter weekend. “With the economy the way it is right now and with Easter hitting us we’re probably going to feel it a little bit this year,” Graham said. “But we’ve done it for so long and had so much success in the past, the Hootie Foundation is in great shape.”
There is still availability for at least a couple teams to participate. Interested players can contact Graham at email@example.com.