Masters 2024 Champions Dinner: Jon Rahm’s menu, plus other Augusta traditions

Jon Rahm – Masters 2024 Champions Dinner: Jon Rahm's menu, plus other Augusta traditions
Jon Rahm welcomed 33 previous Masters winners to his Champions dinner on Tuesday evening - The Masters

The Champions Dinner is a time-honoured Masters tradition and this year Spaniard Jon Rahm devised the menu.

On the Tuesday evening before the tournament, past winners of the Masters gather in Augusta National’s clubhouse for a celebratory meal. It falls to the defending champion to decide what food will be served which, given the international flavour of the Masters roll of honour, has brought cuisine from far and wide.

The event is always a cause of curiosity among golf fans, and has been the source of particular intrigue since the launch of Saudi-backed LIV Golf which fractured the sport and made for awkward conversation around the table last year. Rahm joins Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia as past champions at Augusta who have defected to LIV.

What is the Champions Dinner?

All of the surviving Masters champions who can attend sit down over dinner in their green jackets two nights before the tournament proper.

The tradition was started by Ben Hogan in 1952 and is officially known as the Masters Club Dinner.

The previous year’s winner chooses the food, while the quality and breadth of Augusta’s wine cellar is legendary.

What did Jon Rahm serve this year?

Rahm’s accent has a distinctly American twang now, but he could barely speak English when he arrived at Arizona State University on a golf scholarship.

He hails from a town called Barrika, just north of Bilbao in the Basque country, and his Champions Dinner menu reflected the food of the region as well as his grandmother’s cooking.

A selection of pintxos was served to start, a form of tapas so named because of the skewer or cocktail stick that usually holds the dish together, as well as chicken croquetas, tortilla and his grandmother’s classic lentil stew.

Guests chose between Basque ribeye steak or turbot, before a puff pastry cake called milhojas was served for dessert.

What have previous winners served?

Scottie Scheffler 2023

‘Scottie style’ cheeseburger sliders and firecracker shrimp were appetisers, but what made them Scottie style? Fries inside the burger bun it turns out. Then came tortilla soup, before a choice of Texan ribeye steak or redfish and chocolate-chip cookie and ice cream for afters. Pleasantly varied.

Hideki Matsuyama 2022

Matsuyama paid homage to Japanese cuisine with a selection of sushi and sashimi to start before Wagyu beef (which means the cow benefited from massages and exposure to classical music before coming to rest on Ben Crenshaw’s plate), mixed vegetables and ponzu dressing. Japanese strawberry cheesecake or fluffy sponge cake with strawberries and cream was served for pudding.

Dustin Johnson 2021

A choice of garden or Caesar salad to start was an uninspired choice. Fillet mignon a surprisingly delicate cut of steak for DJ to choose, perhaps he was calorie counting. Peach cobbler for dessert was a clever nod to Georgia’s most famous fruit and there was also the choice of apple pie.

Tiger Woods 2020

Sushi to start before a taste of Woods’ southern Californian roots with steak and chicken fajitas, refried beans and Mexican rice. Desserts also had a Hispanic touch with classic flan, churros with chocolate sauce and sopapillas. Well-balanced selections, but it was Woods’ fifth go at it.

Patrick Reed 2019

More Caesar salad to start. Then prime bone-in cowboy ribeye with mac and cheese, creamed spinach, corn and steamed broccoli as the main event. The presence of tiramisu as a dessert confirms Reed has ventured out of his hotel room on trips to Italy, with vanilla bean creme brulee, chocolate crunch and praline cheesecake also on the menu. Evidently, Reed has a sweet tooth.

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, right, of Spain, helps Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed is a Masters winner but one of golf's more divisive figures - AP/David J. Phillip

Sergio Garcia 2018

Garcia’s starter was an ‘international salad’ with ingredients representing each nationality in attendance. A commendable attempt at diplomacy, although you wonder how it all came together. Then came Spanish lobster rice, the sort of option you go for when Augusta National pays for the ingredients. Dessert was a cake made by wife Angela.

Danny Willett 2017

Americans unfairly dismiss English food as bland, unseasoned slop and it was up to Sheffield’s Danny Willett to change that impression 12 months after his shock win. Mini cottage pies to start surely did little to dissuade them that we are stodge merchants, but roast beef and Yorkshire pudding offered the heritage by which our cousins across the Atlantic are often seduced. Apple crumble and vanilla custard for dessert. Tasty, but might leave you rolling up and down the hills of Augusta.

Jordan Spieth 2016

Salad to start (again), although perhaps wise to err on the side of lightness before a Texas barbecue spread which featured beef brisket, smoked half chicken and pork ribs, with baked beans and other sides. Like Scheffler, chocolate-chip cookies and ice cream for dessert. If Spieth talks as much at the table as he does on the course, you wonder how he found time to eat it all.

Bubba Watson, 2015 and 2013

Caesar salad to start (surely now a Masters tradition in itself). Grilled chicken breast for main course is austere, the go-to choice of disciplinarian Italian football managers and safety-first wedding planners. The remainder of the menu is Dr Atkins’ worst nightmare with mashed potatoes AND mac and cheese AND cornbread. Confetti cake keeps up the wedding vibe.

What are some other Masters traditions?

The Crow’s Nest

A small and plain flat at the top of the clubhouse, the Crow’s Nest is where the amateurs who have been invited (or in reality, qualified) to play in the Masters stay. The likes of Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have all slept there. Called the Crow’s Nest because it can only be reached by ladder. Hardly luxurious.

The Butler Cabin

Constructed in 1964 and named after Augusta member Thomas Butler, the Butler Cabin is a property close to the clubhouse where the Masters winner is presented with his green jacket. It looks as if he is sitting down for a fireside chat with the previous winner, Augusta’s chairman and CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz. Critics suggest it is one of the most toe-curling presentations in all of sport.

The Champions Locker Room

It does what it says on the tin: only past Masters champions are allowed to change into their spikes in the Champions Locker Room. An exclusive enclave within an exclusive enclave.

The Par Three Contest

Augusta also has a nine-hole par-three course which hosts a competition on the Wednesday before the tournament. Players tend to be joined by wives, children and other family members for a light-hearted knock-around. They do keep score, but no player has ever won the Masters after winning the Par Three Contest, leading to suggestions it is cursed.

Skimming across the 16th

On the par-three 16th during their practice rounds, players will place a ball on the downslope at the front of the tee and try to skim their ball across the water, bouncing bomb style. The galleries around the hole get involved, and some of these shots have even been holed (they do not go in the record books of course).

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