The Masters week is never short on tradition. Another of those fine traditions is the Champions Dinner. The host this year is naturally a certain Englishman who became the first since Nick Faldo to win the coveted title and the revered Green Jacket. Danny Willett will be hosting a fine dinner, Tuesday night, exclusively for his elite club of champions.
Willett has chosen a menu that is simple, English and elegant. The meal includes mini cottage pies, a Sunday roast, apple crumble for dessert and some coffee and tea. The tea, as you might have expected, will be Yorkshire tea. After all, Willett is a man that appreciates his roots just as much as he respects tradition.
“I could have gone a bit off the wall and a bit crazy, but I want people to actually enjoy what they’re going to have and for it to not be too indifferent to what they would enjoy and they like,” Willett told the media in Augusta.
The Champions Dinner was conceived by the great golf legend Ben Hogan. After all the man knew a thing or two about the value of tradition. It was Hogan that proposed a “Masters Club” meant exclusively for men that won the title, with the chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club included as an honorary member.
Hogan hosted a dinner for all his past champions, proposing to form the club and start this treasured Tuesday night tradition. Arnold Palmer was in attendance since 1959 and the room is certain to feel heavy in his absence this year. The ever-popular champion passed away in September last year and his memories are sure to turn the dinner solemn later tonight.
Here is a quick look at what some of the other recent champions served up on their dinner table –
- Jordan Spieth (2016): Texas barbecue
- Bubba Watson (2015): Grilled chicken (and confetti cake)
- Adam Scott (2014): New York strip (with Australian bay bugs)
- Bubba Watson (2013): Grilled chicken (and confetti cake)
- Charl Schwartzel (2012): Filet mignon, lamb chops, chicken breast and borewors with monkey gland sauce, dauphinoise potatoes, sautéed sweet corn and green beans
Schwartzel did serve up a fancy menu but found it hard to stand up and deliver his address to the champions. “I’ll never forget it,” Schwartzel told Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press. “I was pretty calm and everything went well as you got there. The most nerve-wracking thing was saying the speech. So you’ve got this massive table, probably 15 guys sitting on the sides, three at the end. Out on the middle of the left-hand side was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, right next to each other, all three of them.”
It will be Willett’s turns to tame his nerves on Tuesday night. And perhaps start a great new tradition to honour the late Palmer.