Everyone knows about the green jacket every former champion of the Masters dons, but the tournament that’s been around since 1934 has several other traditions as well.
Getting to enjoy a free meal every year on the eve of the Masters, courtesy of the previous year’s champion, is one of the former champions’ favorites among them.
It’s the golf world’s most exclusive invitation-only dinner just for former Masters winners and the Augusta National Golf Club chairman.
The Champions Dinner began in 1952 when Ben Hogan came up with the idea and offered to host the first gathering. Since then it has become an annual tradition at the Masters for the last 58 years.
Every year the champions of the Masters gather on Tuesday night of Tournament week to welcome the previous year’s winner into the club. Officially known as the Masters Club, over the years this gathering of golf’s greats has become better known as simply the Champions Dinner.
The previous year’s winner selects the menu for the event and pays for all of his guests to enjoy the feast. The menus usually are associated with the host’s native country, which can sometimes be a good thing and other times, not so much.
This year Miguel Angel Cabrera of Argentina becomes the newest member of professional golf’s most exclusive club. And he’s prepared quite a menu for the dinner. Check out what he has in store for the dinner, as well as the menus over the last 10 years.
Cabrera will be bringing his home to Augusta this year with a classic Argentinean feast with plenty of carne.
For appetizers the menu will be featuring beef empanadas and locro, an Argentinean stew with beef, bacon, chorizo, corn, and beef.
There will also be several salads to choose from, including ensalada criolla (diced tomatoes, onions, and green bell peppers), ensalada de papas (potato salad), ensalada de arugala con zanahoria asadas y queso parmesano (arugula salad with grilled carrots and parmesan cheese), and ensalada de remolachas y huevos duros con mayonesa (beets and hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise dressing).
And of course, what would an Argentinean meal be without the grill. Cabrera’s menu will feature an assortment of carnes asadas a la parrilla con chimichurri (grilled meats with chimichurri sauce). There will be Chorizo (pork sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), mollejas (sweetbreads), lomos enteros (filet mignon), vacio (flank steak), and costillas (short ribs).
What’s a meal without dessert?
The menu closes with tonino del cielo (caramel flan), panqueque de dulce de leche (dulce de leche crepes), and grappa (Italian pomace brandy).
South African Trevor Immelman served a little-known dish called bobotie, which is a minced meat pie with an egg topping.
His menu also featured sosaties (chicken skewer), spinach salad, and milk tarts. Lastly, he brought out an assortment of South African wines.
Zach Johnson served Iowa beef, showing homage to his roots, and Amelia Island shrimp from Florida, which was a favorite dish of his wife Kim.
Rumors have it that Johnson wanted to have the menu prepared by the chefs of Ruth's Chris, his favorite restaurant, but was told he’d have to have the Augusta staff prepare the meal, as per tradition.
Phil Mickelson had an old-fashioned barbecue in 2007. His menu featured barbecued ribs, chicken, sausage, pulled pork, and coleslaw.
Of course, this being his second time around, Mickelson probably felt he didn’t need to spend quite as much as the first go.
Tiger Woods' fourth time hosting the event featured a Mexican-inspired feast. He had stuffed jalapenos, quesadillas, salsa and guacamole, and a greens salad to start. He followed that with steak fajitas, chicken fajitas, Mexican rice, and refried beans.
For dessert, just some nice and simple apple pie and ice cream.
Mickelson finally won the Masters after what seemed like a lifetime attempting to do so. For his first Champions Dinner, Mickelson served up a nice meal for the room full of winners.
His menu consisted of lobster ravioli in a tomato cream sauce, Caesar salad, and garlic bread.
Mike Weir gave his guests a taste of home with a Canadian-inspired menu.
He served elk, wild boar, and arctic char. And to drink, Weir brought with him an assortment of Canadian beers.
In his second consecutive year hosting the dinner, Woods complimented his repeat title with a repeat meal. Just like the previous year he served sushi, sashimi, porterhouse steaks, and grilled chicken.
But he stepped it up with the side dishes and dessert. Woods had the chefs prepare a salad, crab cakes, asparagus, and mashed potatoes.
And for dessert, an elegant chocolate truffle cake topped with berries.
Woods had matured quite a bit since his first time hosting the event in 1998—more on that later.
In 2002 he went with a compliment of sushi and sashimi dishes for an appetizer, and grilled chicken and porterhouse steaks for the main course.
The dessert was vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake with ganache (French chocolate cream) filling.
In one of the most popular dinners in the event's history, Vijay Singh went all out in 2001.
For appetizers, his menu featured seafood tom kah (coconut soup) and chicken panang curry. The main course consisted of rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked filet of Chilean sea bass, and baked sea scallops with garlic sauce.
The dessert was lychee (Chinese berry) sorbet.
In 1998, Woods was just a 22-year-old kid enjoying life, and his selection for the Dinner reflected that.
In what was arguably the most informal of all Champions Dinners, but likely one of the most popular as well. Woods served cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and strawberry and vanilla milkshakes.
“Hey, it’s part of being young," he said. “That’s what I eat.”
In 1988, Sandy Lyle of Scotland prepared an infamous feast that churns the stomach of most people.
He served haggis, a Scottish dish that’s made of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, minced with suet, oatmeal, onions, and herbs. It’s then boiled in a sheep’s stomach.
Luckily, the guests of the Champions Dinner are not required to eat what the host is serving if it isn’t to their liking. They can always choose to order off the standard Augusta clubhouse menu.
Obviously, 1988 was a year many former champs chose to do so.