The Champions Dinner at The Masters: What's On the Menu?

Plus: Who started the Champions Dinner tradition at Augusta?

Charl Schwartzel's Champions Dinner barbecue
Charl Schwartzel originally hoped to grill his barbecue Champions Dinner himself. He didn't get to do that, but Augusta National chefs prepared his menu selections. David Cannon/Getty Images

The Champions Dinner has been an annual tradition at The Masters since 1952. The idea is simple: Winners of The Masters are members of an exclusive club, so they get together each year on the Tuesday night of tournament week to welcome the previous year's winner to the club. That club is officially known as the Masters Club, but everyone knows the gathering as the Champions Dinner.

The previous year's winner gets to select the menu - and he also has to pay for producing that menu.

Over the years, the dinner fare has ranged from cheeseburgers to sushi to haggis*.

But the former champs aren't required to eat what the defending champion selects. If the reigning champ's taste isn't to the taste of other Masters winners in the room, they can order off Augusta National's regular menu (which includes steaks, chicken and fish dishes).

Our favorite Champions Dinner menu was the one offered by Tiger Woods in 1998: cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, and milkshakes. Hey, Tiger was only 22 at the time.

It's difficult to find info on Champions Dinner menus from the early days of the event, but more recent menus are reported in the media in the weeks leading up to The Masters.

Menus from the Masters Champions Dinner

Here is a sampling of Champions Dinner fare (the source for most of the pre-2000 menus listed below is a 1999 article in The Augusta Chronicle by Emily Sollie):

Danny Willett, 2017: The Englishman chose a traditional British meal. Willett's menu started with mini cottage pies (similar to shepherd's pie but made with beef rather than lamb). The entree: a traditional "Sunday roast" ((prime rib, roasted potatoes and vegetables, Yorkshire pudding). For dessert, apple crumble and vanilla custard.

And a finish of coffee and tee with English cheese and biscuits, plus a selection of wines.

Jordan Spieth, 2016: Salad of local greens; main course of Texas barbecue (beef brisket, smoked half chicken, pork ribs); sides of BBQ baked beans, bacon and chive potato salad, sauteed green beans, grilled zucchini, roasted yellow squash; dessert of warm chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream.

Bubba Watson, 2015: Watson served the same menu he did in 2013.

Adam Scott, 2014: Surf-and-turf on the grill, including Moreton Bay 'bugs' (lobster). Started with an appetizer of artichoke and arugula salad with calamari. The main course of Australian Wagyu beef New York Strip steak, served with Moreton Bay lobster, sauteed spinach, onion cream mashed potatoes. Desserts of strawberry and passion fruit pavlova, Anzac biscuit and vanilla sundae.

Bubba Watson, 2013: Traditional caesar salad to start. Entree of grilled chicken breast with sides of green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni, and cheese, served with cornbread. Dessert of confetti cake and vanilla ice cream.

Charl Schwartzel, 2012: An opening course consisting of a chilled seafood bar, which includes shrimp, lobster, crabmeat, crab legs, and oysters.

The main course is a "braai," a South African barbecue, which includes lamb chops, steaks, and South African sausages. Dessert of vanilla ice cream sundae. Also in the mix are salads, cheeses, plus sides such as sauteed sweet corn, green beans, and Dauphinoise potatoes.

Phil Mickelson, 2011: A Spanish-themed menu with seafood paella and machango-topped filet mignon as the entrees. Also includes a salad course, asparagus, and tortillas as sides, plus ice cream-topped apple empanada for dessert.

Angel Cabrera, 2010: An Argentine asado, a multicourse barbecue featuring chorizo, blood sausage, short ribs, beef filets and mollejas (the thymus gland, aka sweetbreads).

Trevor Immelman, 2009: Bobotie (a spiced minced meat pie with an egg topping), sosaties ( a type of chicken skewer), spinach salad, milk tart and South African wines.

Zach Johnson, 2008: Iowa beef, Florida shrimp.

Phil Mickelson, 2007: Barbecued ribs, chicken, sausage and pulled pork, with cole slaw.

Tiger Woods, 2006: Stuffed jalapeno and quesadilla appetizers with salsa and guacamole; green salad; steak fajitas, chicken fajitas, Mexican rice, refried beans; apple pie and ice cream for dessert.

Phil Mickelson, 2005: Lobster ravioli in tomato cream sauce, Caesar's salad, garlic bread.

Mike Weir, 2004: Elk, wild boar, Arctic char (that's a fish), Canadian beer.

Tiger Woods, 2003: Tiger brought back the porterhouse steak, chicken, and sushi from his 2002 menu. Also on the menu were sashimi, salads, crab cakes, asparagus, mashed potatoes and a chocolate truffle cake.

Tiger Woods, 2002: Porterhouse steak and chicken with a sushi appetizer.

Vijay Singh, 2001: Seafood tom kah, chicken panang curry, baked sea scallops with garlic sauce, rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked filet Chilean sea bass with three flavor chili sauce, lychee sorbet.

Mark O'Meara, 1999: Chicken fajitas, steak fajitas, sushi, tuna sashimi.

Tiger Woods, 1998: Cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes.

Nick Faldo, 1997: Fish and chips, tomato soup.

Ben Crenshaw, 1996: Texas barbecue.

Jose Maria Olazabal, 1995: Paella (a Spanish rice dish) and hake (whitefish), plus tapas.

Bernhard Langer, 1994: Turkey and dressing, black forest torte.

Fred Couples, 1993: Chicken cacciatore.

Sandy Lyle, 1989: Haggis, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips.

Bernhard Langer, 1986: Wiener schnitzel (breaded veal).

(*Haggis is a Scottish specialty. Take sheep organs - heart, liver, nd lungs - and mince. Add minced suet, oatmeal and onions, and boil the whole mixture inside a sheep's stomach.)

Who Started the Champions Dinner?

We noted at the top that the Masters Champions Dinner dates to 1952. How did it start? Who came up with the idea? Ben Hogan is the man who suggested it. That first dinner in 1952 was arranged by Hogan. The following year the gathering was formalized into the Champions Dinner we know today.

Dear Cliff:

I wish to invite you to attend a stag dinner at the Augusta National on Friday evening, April 4th, at 7:15 p.m. It's my wish to invite all the Masters Champions who are going to be here, plus Bob Jones and Cliff Roberts. The latter has agreed to make available his room for the dinner party and I hope you can be on hand promptly at 7:15 p.m. My only stipulation is that you wear your green coat.

Cordially yours,
Ben Hogan