Dan Hampton Leads Team To Chicago Cup Victory

November 13, 2009

hampton group.jpgDon Arndt Jr., decked out in a short sleeve Chicago Bears shirt on an idyllic fall afternoon in early November, was taking pictures with his cell phone and sending them to his buddies at work, taunting them with images of a Myrtle Beach golf trip.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton was battling his teammates to-be in a high stakes match on the Norman Course at Barefoot Resort.

Meanwhile, 670 The Score radio host Dan McNeil was broadcasting his radio show from Barefoot’s clubhouse deck.

That’s before the Chicago Cup got underway.

Chicago sports radio station 670 The Score held a contest over the summer, giving away a pair of Myrtle Beach golf trips with the winners competing against each other for the Chicago Cup. Each trip winner got to bring two friends. One team was paired with Pro Football Hall of Famer and 670 personality Dan Hampton and the other teamed 670 host Dan McNeil.

Don Arndt Sr., who partnered with McNeil, and Jim O’Keefe, who played with Hampton, won the trips. The four-night vacation included direct air service from O’Hare to Myrtle Beach on Spirit Air, and accommodations and golf at Barefoot Resort, home to four elite courses.

“Winning the trip was beyond belief,” O’Keefe said.

While the trip was a contest prize, it played out like so many other Myrtle Beach golf junkets. O’Keefe brought Jim Abele and Mike Setze,  guys he has known since he was seven and played golf with for 41 years. Arndt brought his son and one of his buddies.

The fact that the two groups competed for the Chicago Cup and free entry into the 2010 World Amateur Handicap Championship was almost secondary to the good times. With daytime highs in upper 60s and low 70s, average November temperatures along the Grand Strand, the Windy City area residents enjoyed a reprieve from Mother Nature.

“I think we have (Chicago) beat by a good 30 degrees,” Don Arndt Jr. said of the weather with a smile.

When the groups got down to the business of golf, they played the Norman Course on Friday and the Fazio Course, one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, according to Golf Digest, on Saturday.

“The golf courses and the designers are great,” Setze said of Barefoot. “The conditions were fantastic.”

The experience extended beyond the course. Everyone stayed in a luxury condominium overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway at the Yacht Club.

“They are phenomenal,” Setze said of the accommodations. “The common living area was really nice. It’s great for a golf trip.”

Throw in dinner at Greg Norman’s Australian Grille and a couple nights on the town, and the Chicago Cup participants got a full taste of the Myrtle Beach golf experience.

“I love it,” O’Keefe said. “I can’t wait to come back.”

O’Keefe’s next trip to Myrtle Beach may coincide with the World Amateur because his squad pulled away on the back nine to secure the Cup.

When the Chicago Cup golfers take their next golf vacation, there is little doubt where they will go.

“If you are getting in an airplane, this is the place you want to come,” O’Keefe said. “You have courses at every level, you have food, accommodations, everything. It’s all here.”

With Spirit offering daily non-stop service from Chicago to Myrtle Beach from March through November, the Grand Strand is as easy to access as it is fun.