‘The bill was quite hefty’: What it’s like to host the Masters Champions Dinner

The Champions Dinner is among the most storied traditions in golf.

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Ed. note: Just as Augusta National is the ultimate insiders’ club, the Masters is the ultimate insiders’ tournament. Nearly nine decades after the storied venue was founded, the Augusta Experience has remained shrouded in mystery. To unlock some of its secrets, we asked those who have been part of the experience to describe one element of what makes Augusta Augusta and the Masters the Masters. The sixth installment of our “What It’s Like…” series (below) was contributed by two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer.

Previous installments: Being a Masters rookie | Sinking green-jacket dreams at 12 | Working on the Masters grounds crew | Staying in the Crow’s Nest | Hitting a ceremonial opening tee shot

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Being fortunate to win the green jacket on two occasions, in 1985 and 1993, I had two opportunities to pick the menu for my fellow winners. The choices I made both times said a lot about where I was in my life.

The first time, I selected sauerbraten, my favorite German dish. The key is to marinate the beef for two or three days so that it is so soft and tender you won’t even need a knife. The meal also included red cabbage and an incredibly delicious dumpling known as spaetzle. If you haven’t had spaetzle, you have really been missing something. Then I topped it off with Black Forest cake. My mom made an awesome Black Forestcake when I was a kid.

Langer marked his 1993 Masters win with a Thanksgiving-themed dinner. getty images

The chefs at Augusta were just as awesome. They really did their homework to make sure every part of the meal was authentic. I was thrilled when the guys told me how much they enjoyed it. Nobody turned it down.

The second time, I went with the typical Thanksgiving meal: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce — the works. I didn’t pick that meal only because I loved the food. I picked it because I wanted to give thanks to the country that had become my new home — I had lived in America for about a decade by then — and to the Lord. I had become a Christian by 1994. The food on this occasion was just as incredible.

The bill for the two meals was quite hefty, especially when you add in the drinks, but I didn’t mind one bit. I’m sure that’s how every champion feels. I remember sitting in that room the first time realizing that I was going to be part of this for the rest of my life.

With reporting by Michael Arkush

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