‘I about gagged’: This Masters Champions Dinner dish had players breathing fire

Masters champions at 2023 Masters Champions Dinner.

Past Masters champions gathered for dinner Tuesday evening at Augusta National.

getty images

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The spiciest thing at the Masters Champions Dinner had nothing to do with LIV Golf.   

It was the tortilla soup, a blend of chicken broth, onions, garlic and, presumably, no shortage of chili powder and/or cayenne pepper.

A sample of the reviews from the distinguished guests:

Sandy Lyle: “I had to sort of swab the top of my head because it was perspiring.”

Nick Faldo: “One spoonful was too much for me. It was way too hot, too spicy.”

Fuzzy Zoeller: “I about gagged — waaaa, hoohoo, baby!”

Danny Willett: “I ate it, but I did look over at Scottie and ask if he was trying to kill us.”

Scottie is, of course, Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion and host of the Tuesday-evening supper on the second floor of the clubhouse. When the club first announced Scheffler’s menu — cheeseburger sliders, firecracker shrimp, chocolate chip skillet cookies — one observer quipped on Twitter that it looked more like a meal you’d grab at Applebee’s than Augusta National. But little did the golf world know that among Scheffler’s offerings was also a dish that would test the limits of his guests’ palates — and stomachs.

“I think [Fred] Couples was like holding his throat, oh, my god,” Lyle said. “So it caught a few people by surprise. I think we needed some more yogurt out there and stick some yogurt in it, and that would have calmed it down.

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“I suppose it’s a little bit like when I had haggis. A lot of people didn’t know what haggis was.”

A better comp was probably Vijay Singh’s fiery Thai feast from 2001, which included the likes of chicken panang curry, sea scallops in garlic sauce and Chilean sea bass with a spicy glaze. Of that meal, Gary Player quipped, “I think I spent more of the next 24 hours on the loo than on the course.”

The exact ingredients of Scheffler’s peppery bisque are unknown but tortilla soup is typically made by sautéing onions, garlic and cilantro and then adding chicken broth and various spices. To thicken the base, chefs add shredded chicken, tomatoes, beans, cheese and crushed tortilla chips.  

How much spice to add is up to the chef’s — or Masters champion’s — discretion. And in Scheffler’s case, he clearly did not skimp.

“It had a little bit of kick in it, yeah, I have to say,” said Jose Maria Olazabal, the 1994 and ’99 winner. “I don’t think all of us managed to finish it.”

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.