Patrick Reed has been waiting a long time for his meal – 15 years to be exact.
On Tuesday, Reed, who won last year's Masters, received his first champions Dinner at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for former winners and Fred Ridley, the club president.
The dinners are private affairs away from the netting galleries and click cameras & spouses – no spouses or media. They are held in the plantation-style clubhouse, inside the front door, 13 carpeted steps up the spiral staircase and to the right in what is called the library, a cozy room with bookshelves, a fireplace, a bronze sculpture by Bobby Jones and a portrait of Clifford Roberts, founder of a club, painted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who joined the club in 1948.
The Masters Club started the Champions Dinner during the 1952 tournament when the defending champion Ben Hogan gave a dinner for the previous winners. Hogan proposed the formation of the Masters Club, where membership was limited to Masters champions.
"I wish to invite you to a Augusta National Free Dinner," Hogan wrote in an invitation
"My only condition is that you wear your green jacket."
Honorary membership was also granted to Jones and Roberts. Later attendees included club and tournament presidents Bill Lane, Hord Hardin, Jack Stephens, Hootie Johnson, Billy Payne and Ridley.
As part of the tradition, the defending champion selects the menu and organizes dinner, where players in their green coats mingle with a drink before eating, overlooking the rear terrace, the putting green, the 18th green and the first tee.
Reed had finished a menu that he had already had in mind since he was a teenager.
"Oh, I knew that when I was 13," Reed, 28, told reporters at the players' championship. "It was always a rib-eye with bones, mac and cheese, creamed corn, creamed spinach. I'm going to make those boys a little fat.
" I could eat a rib-eye steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and mac and cheese, the same, "he said." It was one of those things where it was a pretty easy decision, it was just refining a bit and mentioning a number of options where guys who don't want to eat something heavily also a lighter one have an option. I just want everyone to enjoy the night and have something good to eat, whatever it is. "
The menu did not surprise triple Masters winner Gary Player, who is from South Africa." He is clearly a meat-and-potato-type guy-it seems appropriate a Texan chose this meal, " Player said.
The meal choices often reveal something about the player: where they come from, what they miss and what they really want to eat.
Previous winners have selected haggis (Sandy Lyle, 1989 ), Wiener schnitzel (Bernhard Langer, 1986), each (Mike Weir, 2004), meat pie (Trevor Immelman, 2009), fajitas (Mark O & # 39; Meara, 1999), paella (José Maria Olazábal, 1995) and cheeseburgers and fries (Tiger Woods, 1998) Jordan Spieth, a Texan, did a Texas barbecue in 2016.
Some men are custom animals, Bubba Watson served the exact same menu in 2013 and 2015: Caesar salad, grilled chicken breast with sides of green beans , mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread.
"All the interesting choices that different statements have made largely based on personality, geography and the message they sent to the other champions," said player. "The South African champions, for example, selected a typical braai or barbecue, with some very good South African wines. The international winners like to share their culture during dinner and show how the tournament has grown worldwide."
Player has selected their menus & # 39; s to show respect for all players and countries and to take note of how international the Masters have become.
Phil Mickelson, an American, chose paella in 2011, leaving him somewhat astonished.
"I love when the boys bring their culture," said Dave DiBenedetto, editor-in-chief of Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine that also deals with golf. "I was curious about Phil & # 39; s choice, but then I realized it was in honor of Seve Ballesteros."
Ballesteros from Spain, a two-time Masters winner, was sick at the time and could not make the tournament for years. Mickelson chose a Spanish menu, including gazpacho, tenderloin with manchego cheese and tortilla, and Spanish apple pie with ice cream.
"Phil took the honor to choose his own meal and gave that honor to a friend who couldn't be there because he was sick," DiBenedetto said.
The meals are almost always prepared by club kitchen staff, except Vijay Singh after his victory in 2000. The club allowed Singh to invite chefs from Atlanta who imported ingredients from Thailand for Panang curry with chicken, sea shells in garlic sauce and Chilean sea bass with a chili glaze, served in family style. After the meal, Singh brought the chefs to the dining room, where they were given a standing ovation
"It's always fun," said the player. "Many jokes. Stories. I sat next to Bobby Jones and cut his flesh while his hands were infused with arthritis. Ben Hogan thought it was terrible that it had become a signature session
" We always make jokes and laugh about the different menu choices , so we notice, "said player." Some enjoy the different dishes that the current champion selects, others choose to order something special to meet their nutritional needs, which is understandable. "
And If the dinner selection is not attractive, players can always order the menu.The turkey club is always a safe choice.