With the conclusion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the imminent start of the Players Championship, the march towards Augusta has well and truly begun.
Whilst fans get increased coverage, year-on-year – media coverage now includes practice rounds, hours of range interviews and expert insight – previous Masters champions are invited to the Masters Club Dinner, a gathering of previous green jacket-holders, held on the Tuesday of Masters week, this year being the 4th April.
The traditional get-together was started by 1951 Masters champion Ben Hogan, who formed a letter to Augusta National co-founder and then-chairman Clifford Roberts:
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.
There have been some wonderful menus, from sushi and wagyu beef, served by Hideki Matsuyama, to Danny Willett’s traditional English roast dinner and apple crumble and custard.
We haven’t seen Scottie Scheffler’s 2023 menu yet – it might yet contain chipotle – but there has already been a bit of fun surrounding his version of the Masters’ dinner invitation.
In a nod to the seemingly never-ending row between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the defending champion seemed to have sent out his invite, with a caveat –
“LIV guys kindly meet on the 9th green at 9pm.”
Twitter member @TwoInchesShort posted a photo of the world two’s invite, calling him a “savage” for his addendum:
Scottie’s a savage for this ? pic.twitter.com/L33t7HlBw6
— Two Inches Short (@TwoInchesShort) March 4, 2023
Of course, there’s been a bit of photoshopping from the original – thankfully posted by 2008 champion Trevor Immelman, who ramped up the honor by tweeting:
This will be my 15th Champions Dinner, still feels like the first.
— Trevor Immelman (@TrevorImmelman) March 5, 2023
The split between the two factions – PGA Tour and LIV – has increased even further recently with the PGA Tour plans for ‘designated’ events in 2024 – lucrative tournaments with limited fields and no cuts – being compared to the plans that Greg Norman’s tour had from the very start.
Certainly, two of the most outspoken LIV players have joined the war of words, with Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter amongst many that have trolled Jay Monahan’s plans.
Whilst the LIV players are currently arguing against their ban from the PGA, those that qualify may take their place at Augusta, with Augusta National at pains to cement their tradition of allowing the best players in the world to compete at Magnolia Lane.
That, of course, includes 2012 and 2014 Masters winner Bubba Watson, a good friend of the defending champ, but still someone he told is “going to have a separate table for him in the corner by himself.”
Scheffler was only joking, as was the person responsible for the fake Master’s invite, but he might find that reality is a long way from his hope:
“I think we can put all our stuff aside and just get together for a fun meal, all in a room together and just kind of celebrate the game of golf and Augusta National and just hang out.”
Good luck with that one, Scottie!
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