Champions Dinner began as simple gathering

It began as a simple gathering for former champions in 1952 and has evolved into a much-discussed culinary feast.

The Champions Dinner, or Masters Club, is the Tuesday night affair that pays tribute to all Masters champions.

The defending champion selects the menu and serves as host for the dinner, which is open to the winners and the club chairman.

Ben Hogan gets credit for coming up with the idea, and in the early days the choices were pretty simple. But in the past three decades, an array of food has been served, including haggis when Scotland’s Sandy Lyle won and Moreton Bay Bugs for Australian Adam Scott.

HOW IT STARTED
Ben Hogan wrote a letter to Augusta National Chairman Clifford Roberts inviting him to a dinner for previous winners, and the Masters Club was born.

The first Champions Dinner was held Friday, April 4, 1952, at Augusta National’s clubhouse.

Nine Masters champions – Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Henry Picard, Jimmy Demaret, Craig Wood, Claude Harmon, Sam Snead and Hogan – attended the inaugural dinner.

Past champions Ralph Guldahl and Herman Kaiser did not attend the Masters that year.

According to The Augusta Chroniclearchives, the new club’s first official act was to make honorary members of Roberts and Bobby Jones, Augusta National’s president.

JUST A TASTE

Take a closer look at some of the dinner menus champions have selected over the years:

Charles Coody, 1972
-- New York strip steak with mushroom caps
-- Brie with peach nectar

Bernhard Langer, 1986
-- Wiener schnitzel and spaetzle
-- Black Forest cake

Sandy Lyle, 1989
-- Jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail
-- Broiled pompano
-- Haggis
-- Neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes and mashed turnips)

Ian Woosnam, 1992
-- Leek and potato soup
-- Leg of lamb with sweet meadow hay
-- Apple pie
-- Ice cream

Jose Maria Olazabal, 1995
-- Collard green soup
-- Txitxarro en salsa verde
-- Prime New York sirloin steak
-- Roast rack of lamb
-- Broiled chicken
-- Asparagus
-- Baked potato
-- Roasted herb new potatoes

Ben Crenshaw, 1996
-- Certified Angus beef brisket
-- St. Louis-style pork ribs
-- Hill Country sausage
-- Peach cobbler

Tiger Woods, 1998
-- Cheeseburger
-- Grilled chicken sandwich
-- French fries
-- Strawberry and vanilla milkshakes
-- Strawberry shortcake

Vijay Singh, 2001
-- Seafood Tom Kha
-- Chicken Panang curry
-- Baked sea scallops with garlic sauce
-- Baked Chilean sea bass filet with three-flavor chili sauce
-- Rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce
-- Lychee sorbet

Mike Weir, 2004
-- Lobster in puff pastry
-- Wild boar and chanterelle mushroom bundles
-- Sockeye salmon tartare
-- White and green asparagus salad
-- Roasted rack of elk
-- Fried chicken
-- Filet mignon
-- Sauteed pompano

Trevor Immelman, 2009
-- South African spinach salad
-- Babotie with yellow rice: traditional curried meat with fruit
-- Chicken sosaties: grilled chicken and vegetables on skewers
-- Melktert: Traditional milk tart
-- South African wines

Charl Schwartzel, 2012
-- Sliced biltong
-- Boerwors with monkey gland sauce
-- Dauphinoise potatoes
-- Vanilla ice cream sundae
-- Crispy meringues

Bubba Watson, 2013
-- Caesar salad
-- Grilled chicken breast
-- Green beans
-- Mashed potatoes
-- Corn
-- Macaroni and cheese
-- Confetti cake
-- Vanilla ice cream

Sources: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta Chronicle archives

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