THE STORY OF THE DARIUS RUCKER INTERCOLLEGIATE
Seven years ago, former South Carolina men’s golf head coach and current women’s golf associate head coach Puggy Blackmon came up with the idea to pair a collegiate golf tournament with a popular rock band. His idea soon turned into a reality after he joined the women’s golf program as an assistant coach in 2010.
Blackmon took the first step in creating the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate when he pitched the idea to Rucker at Bulls Bay Golf Club in Charleston, where the musician was playing a round with some members of the Gamecocks’ women’s team. Rucker, the lead singer of the Grammy-Award winning rock band Hootie & the Blowfish and a South Carolina alumnus, immediately showed interest in joining the efforts to create the annual golf tournament.
Finding a venue for the event was the next step, and Blackmon had a clear number one choice. Long Cove Club had a history of putting on top-class events, and it seemed to be the perfect fit for a collegiate golf event. “Everything that Long Cove does is first class,” Blackmon said. “When they hold an event, they go to great lengths to make it special.” Blackmon approached Long Cove Club head golf professional Bob Patton about hosting the tournament, and Patton presented the idea to the Members of the prestigious golf community. The pieces were put in place after Long Cove Club’s membership approved the plan, and the event took off under Staunton T. Oppenheimer, who served as the tournament chair for the first two years.
Now in its seventh year, the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate will once again provide the unique combination of collegiate golf and music. Rucker, now a star country singer who boasts multiple top hits, looks forward to the event every year when he gets the chance to perform in front of a small crowd in an intimate setting at one of the top golf communities in the country.