Tiger Woods missed this year’s Champions Dinner, a cherished Masters tradition

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Drew Davison
·2 min read
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Tiger Woods continues to recover from a single-car accident in February, which is why he missed this year’s Champions Dinner at Augusta National Tuesday night.

It’s one of the most cherished night’s in golf as every green jacket recipient attends and toasts the reigning champion. Oh, all at the winner’s expense too.

As Woods quipped on Twitter Tuesday, “I’ll miss running up @DJohnsonPGA’s bill at the Champions Dinner tonight. It’s still one of my favorite nights of the year.”

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The “favorite night” line is echoed by any former champion.

Charles Coody, a TCU product who won the prestigious event 50 years ago by outlasting Jack Nicklaus in 1971, has attended every dinner since.

“Until I’m not physically able to go, I don’t intend to miss one,” Coody said during a recent interview. “I consider it not only an honor, but a privilege, to go.”

Coody reflected on a couple of the more memorable dinners he’s attended.

In 1989, defending champ Sandy Lyle started the tradition of the players choosing the menu when he offered haggis, a traditional Scottish savory pudding comprised of sheep innards and spices served in the animal’s stomach lining. “When I found out what haggis was, I decided to have a steak,” Coody said.

Then, in 1998, Woods had just won a green jacket at age 21 in 1997. Woods decided to do a menu suited for college-aged kids with cheeseburgers, french fries and milkshakes. Once again, Coody opted for something else.

“The first time Tiger won, he had some sort of publicity about really liking cheeseburgers,” Coody said. “I told him, ‘Tiger, no way you’re getting out for a cheeseburger.’ The defending champion pays for the dinner. I had the best steak you can have.”

Coody chuckled about that dinner.

Woods upgraded to a porterhouse steak the next time he hosted in 2002 and 2003. When Woods hosted last year, his menu featured steak and chicken fajitas, sushi and sashimi and, yes, milkshakes once again.

Johnson’s menu this year included a main course of filet mignon and miso-marinated sea bass with mashed potatoes and spring vegetables as sides. Dessert was peach cobbler and apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

“The dinner is a very important night for a lot of the past champions and the current champions who are still playing,” Coody said. “Everybody really looks forward to it. There’s a considerable amount of past champions who are no longer with us — the Hogans and Nelsons and Demarets. You miss them not being there because they were such an integral part of everything, and I really loved listening to their stories.”