More Than 40,000 Spectators Attend Inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic

The first-ever Myrtle Beach Classic, a PGA TOUR event sponsored by Visit Myrtle Beach, concluded on May 12, 2024, after four days of championship golf, significant fanfare and substantial projected economic impact to the community.

Held at the stunning Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., more than 40,000 spectators attended Wednesday through Sunday. On Saturday, the Classic shattered attendance projections with 15,281 ticket holders participating — over 5,000 more than expected. Additionally, viewers from across the country tuned in as Golf Channel provided eight hours of live coverage.

“This high-profile sporting event not only enhances our area’s reputation as The Golf Capital of the World but also reinforces the strong community spirit that defines the Grand Strand. It’s been remarkable to see everyone, from local families and volunteers to visitors of all ages, come together to make this inaugural event a standout success,” said Karen Riordan, President and CEO, Visit Myrtle Beach.

Darren Nelson, tournament director, also praised the community and the more than 1,300 volunteers who contributed to the Classic’s first-year achievements. “With the continued dedication and support from the Myrtle Beach community, the event is poised to continue to grow and evolve, further spotlighting the Grand Strand as a premier destination for golf and recreation,” Nelson said.

In total, 132 players and their caddies took to the greens on Thursday and Friday with the field tightening by Round 3 on Saturday and the final round on Mother’s Day Sunday. Fan favorites included 16-year-old junior amateur Blades Brown, who made headlines as he entered the final round in the top 20, and tournament champion Chris Gotterup, who closed with a four-under 67 for a six-stroke victory to clinch his first PGA TOUR win.

Gotterup was presented with the Classic’s distinct golf swing-inspired trophy created by renowned local sculptor Bryan Rapp of Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, S.C., and an ocean-blue jacket custom designed and tailored by Jonathan Smith of Myrtle Beach. After receiving the championship trophy, Gotterup remarked, “I just want to thank everyone this week for the support. What a great first event. I’m sure it’s a big success for Visit Myrtle Beach and I’m honored to be the champion. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

Aside from its sporting success, the Myrtle Beach Classic was highly regarded for its scenic beachfront location, family-friendly atmosphere, fan zones with entertainment and two free concerts. Families took advantage of the free entry for children 15 and under, bringing a youthful energy to the crowds and fostering a love for golf among a new generation.

As one of the youngest players to compete in a PGA TOUR event, Brown attracted a large crowd of spectators, especially the young fans for which he signed autographs for. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had at a golf tournament, from the fans to my play to my family being here. I’ve never had that many people following my group before,” Brown said.

Spectators were also greeted by North Myrtle Beach-native Vanna White of “Wheel of Fortune” fame who played in the Pro-Am Tournament on Wednesday, May 8, and shared enthusiasm over the PGA TOUR selecting her hometown community. “We all know Myrtle Beach, we relate Myrtle Beach to golf, and it has been that way for a long time. It’s time the PGA TOUR came here,” White said.