Michaux: Watson staying mum on menu for Champions Dinner
Bubba Watson finally revealed his Champions Dinner menu for his green-jacketed peers.
“We are definitely going to have food,” Watson promised Monday in a teleconference with Augusta National Golf Club announcing his promotional trip to New York next week on behalf of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.
The 36-year-old Watson enjoys playing a cat-and-mouse game with anyone who inquires about what he plans to serve his fellow champions at the annual Tuesday night dinner in the Augusta National clubhouse before the Masters Tournament. He kept it a secret when he played host the first time as defending champion in 2013 and will again this year.
“It’s the one chance that I can just hold everything from everybody, so I’m doing it,” Watson said. “And I might never get that chance again.”
Two years ago, Watson served caesar salad and grilled chicken breast with sides of green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. Dessert was a confetti cake with vanilla ice cream. He would not say if this year’s menu would be different.
“I knew what the menu was before I even won,” Watson said. “I let them know and told them the same thing – I’m not going to tell anybody until Wednesday morning when they find out. Unless Nick Faldo tweets it again right after he leaves the dinner.”
Faldo tweaked Watson on Twitter immediately after leaving the 2013 dinner: “-@bubbawatson you had a year to decide on, grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni & cheese!!! #HappyMeal #PlayLikeaChampion”
Watson admits his tastes tip toward the simple.
“I eat plain,” he said, revealing that in both years that he won the Masters he ate one or two burritos every single night (including before attending the Champions Dinner) that consisted of only chicken, rice, black beans and cheese.
“So maybe this year I should do all burritos again,” he said.
His favorite dining spot when he went to school at Georgia was the lunch counter at Ad Drug in the Five Points district of Athens. He’d frequent it with teammate Dave Miller and coach Chris Haack, ordering a cheeseburger and milkshake every time.
He’s also partial to Mellow Mushroom and famously ate a post-Masters meal last April with his wife, Angie, and friend, Judah Smith, at the Waffle House on Wheeler Road. He ate a double grilled cheese with his hashed browns “scattered and covered.” He left a generous $148 tip for the wait staff.
He also ordered six milkshakes just before midnight at the Steak n’ Shake on South Belair Road, leaving a $24 tip on that tab.
If you’re guessing he’d get Waffle House to cater the dinner this time, you’d be wrong.
“You can’t use a name brand,” Watson said of the club’s rules that forbid commercialism.
“Augusta called and started asking what I wanted within a week after” winning, Watson said of his first go-round as host. “So they knew within two weeks but they wouldn’t tell. This year, not one call. They figure it’ll be easy to get whatever I want.”
One thing you can be sure of, the main course won’t come out of Ike’s Pond or any other body of water. Watson declined to eat the surf portion of Adam Scott’s surf-and-turf dinner – Morton Bay Bugs, a crustacean native to the waters off the Gold Coast of Australia.
“I didn’t eat the bugs,” Watson said. “I don’t eat seafood. The steak was real good, though.”
On Monday after playing this week at Bay Hill, Watson will go to New York to promote the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship that will take place at Augusta National the Sunday before the first practice round of Masters Week. He’ll appear with the green jacket on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday night.
The next day he’ll be joined by 10-year-old Kelly Xu, who last year became the first female champion at Augusta National by winning the 7-9 girls division. Xu will return as one of 80 finalists this year, this time in the 10-11 age group.
Watson and Xu will be guests on CBS This Morning, ESPN’s SportsCenter and Golf Channel before finishing the day at the New York Stock Exchange.
“As a kid, I would be honored and thrilled just to try to compete and have a chance to make it to Augusta National,” Watson said, “so this is one of the best things that I’ve seen in recent years to grow the game of golf.”
If Bubba needs any menu advice, Xu said she would serve Brunswick stew, cornmeal, cornbread, sweet corn, sweet tea, and hot peach cobbler as her Champions Dinner menu.