Masters Champions Dinner a night Sergio Garcia will 'never forget'
Leading up to Tuesday night’s Champions Dinner, Adam Scott had one piece of advice for host Sergio Garcia.
“Serve good wine,” said Scott, who won the Masters in 2013. “I learned that’s most important.”
Garcia took notice, serving multiple Spanish wines, as well as a lobster rice dish for the main course. According to Garcia, the night “was something I’ll never forget.”
“Very, very special,” Garcia said. “It was a great night — so much fun.”
Garcia began the evening with a speech, and although he wouldn’t state exactly what was said, the Spaniard admitted it came from the heart.
“I didn’t write anything down — no notes,” Garcia said. “I wanted to speak from the heart. I wanted everyone to know how much this meant to me.”
In addition to this being Garcia’s first Champions Dinner, it was also the inaugural feast for Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley.
“You could tell he was very excited — probably as excited as I was when it was my first time in the room,” Scott said of Ridley. “The chairman spoke briefly, and it was just an outstanding evening, as always.”
Arguably nobody at the dinner knows Garcia better than fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal. However, the two-time Masters winner said he chose not to give a speech.
“This was Sergio’s night,” Olazabal said. “It was all about him and he did a great job as host. It means so much to have him (in the room) now.”
In all, 31 former champions attended the dinner, while two past winners were noticeably absent. Doug Ford and Jackie Burke Jr., both 95, did not make the trip to Augusta National.
For Burke, missing the Champions Dinner is not uncommon. The Houston native — who shares a locker with Tiger Woods — has not attended the event since 2011.
“It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know the new guys,” Burke, the 1956 Masters winner, told The Augusta Chronicle last year at Champions Club outside Houston. “I won’t go back — it’s too hard for me now. You have to drive 150 miles from Atlanta.”
Ford, the 1957 Masters winner, had not missed a dinner before this year.