The Masters Champions Dinner: What is it, when is it, who's invited, who started it
CMC Masters

The Masters Champions Dinner: What is it, when is it, who’s invited, who started it

A photo of a pin flag at the Masters Tournament

The Masters Champions Dinner is one of the great traditions of the Masters Tournament, and it's one of the most difficult dinner reservations to get in the world.

The Masters Champions Dinner is held annually on the Tuesday night before the Masters, with all living Masters champions invited to participate in the meal as well the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. The participants meet up on the second floor of the Augusta National clubhouse.

The Champions Dinner was created in 1952, with Ben Hogan getting credit for inventing it, as a gathering of former winners, with nothing particularly fancy about it. However, it has evolved over the years into a rite of passage for the previous year's winner into an exclusive club of Masters winners, with the defending champion serving as host and picking the menu for the meal.

Masters champions tend to pick their favorite meals for the Augusta National staff to prepare; the meal isn't catered, even if the champion wants a specific type of food. Tiger Woods went for cheeseburgers and milk shakes in 1998, a reflection of being the youngest Masters champion in history. Jordan Spieth went with Texas-style barbecue in 2016. Adam Scott went with an Australian-inspired meal, including prawns (shrimp). Everyone is a little different. Champions can order off the regular Masters menu if they're not interested in what the defending champion would like to serve.

Ultimately, the reigning champion is picking up the tab for the night at the Masters Club.

Over the years, the title of unofficial Champions Dinner host has rotated, with Byron Nelson holding sway and Sam Snead holding court for years. These days, two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw is the master of ceremonies. There's a bit of an unofficial seating chart for the meal, too, with friendly players gathering together and sharing stories among themselves and the broader group.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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