PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa nailed the Champions Dinner he didn’t know he got to host

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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The Masters isn’t the only major that has a champions dinner. Didn’t know that? Don’t feel bad; neither did reigning PGA champion Collin Morikawa –“DC” for defending champion as they are calling him this week – who is also the guy who set the menu and picked up the tab. When asked if he was aware of this tournament tradition, Morikawa chuckled and said, “No. But I’m glad it is.”

Much like at the more ballyhooed winners-only Champions Dinner held each year on the Tuesday of Masters week at Augusta National, the ticket to admission to Tuesday night’s soiree at the PGA Championship is having hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy. But there is one difference: Spouses and family members of past champions are included. Morikawa, who said he loves food, had the honor of selecting the menu and he offered plenty of options.

“It was kind of how much food can you just throw at everyone,” he said. “But no, I gave people the option of fish or fried chicken, so either you go healthy or you don’t go healthy.”

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Here’s the menu and our grades:


Harding Park Clam Chowder or Cobb Salad

Grade B: Nice tip of the cap to TPC Harding Park being the site of his PGA victory last year and who doesn’t like a Cobb salad?


Pan-seared Cobia with lemon caper sauce or fried chicken with four-cheese creamy mac n’ cheese

Grade B: I would’ve gone with filets and Chilean Sea Bass, but the only champions dinner I’m hosting is for my fantasy league. The Mac ‘n cheese alone almost brought it into the A range.

For the table to share

Platters of sliced porterhouse, parmesan creamed spinach, roasted brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, asparagus.

“Everyone was loving that, just to kind of pick on,” Morikawa said of the Porterhouse strips and sides. “It’s a great family style, and obviously going through COVID and everything, you’re so used to takeout boxes – maybe I should have given everyone a takeout box and just told them to go eat in their room. That would have been new.”

Grade A: Solid choices. Garlic mashed would’ve made it an A+.


House-made ice creams (Vanilla, chocolate, banana), platters of warm chocolate chip and red velvet cookies.

Grade: A. Simple yet delicious. Extra credit for the cookies being warm and everyone may not agree with Morikawa and me here but banana ice cream instead of strawberry was an inspired choice.


Sauvignon Blanc, Nautilus Estate

Chardonnay, Ceritas

Merlot, Duckhorn

Cabernet Sauvignon, Caymus

Grade: A. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not too familiar with those whites and would’ve gone with Cakebread as my Chard but the reds are strong to very strong.

“It’s an honor to continue the tradition of choosing tonight’s dinner menu. It’s a mixture of selections I trust you will enjoy,” Morikawa wrote on the menu.

“It was just good to have people, like, share food and just have people talk to each other while they passed the plates. I think we all missed that,” he added. “The dinner was just kind of put together, foods that I love, and it was an awesome night really.

“It was so cool to talk to a bunch of champions, not just champions that I know, but just guys that are older that aren’t on Tour anymore, just to kind of hear stories from them. It’s a really meaningful night.”

As for the stories that were told, those will be guarded by Morikawa like state secrets. Asked to share his favorite, he demurred and said, “Well, I’m not going to tell you that.”


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