By Mike Pomranz
Updated April 08, 2015
Credit: © Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy

The Masters Golf Tournament is “a tradition unlike any other.” Part of that tradition is the Champions Dinner, an event held the Tuesday evening before the tournament starts. Dating back to 1952, the defending Masters champion hosts a meal for all of the previous Masters champions.

Over the years, this seemingly innocuous event has occasionally courted almost as much attention as the tournament itself. Fuzzy Zoeller notoriously brought the dinner to the forefront of golf conversations in 1997 with his fairly racist suggestion that soon-to-be-victorious Tiger Woods shouldn’t serve fried chicken and collard greens at next year’s dinner. In the end, the then-22-year-old Tiger—the Masters’s youngest-ever reigning champion—fittingly offered up cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes instead. In 1989, Scottish golfer Sandy Lyle turned some stomachs when he showed up in a kilt and served a menu of that old Scottish favorite, haggis. And Lyle hasn’t been the only golfer to bring a national flair to the menu: Canada’s Mike Weir served elk, and South African Trevor Immelman went with bobotie (minced meat with an egg topping).

Yesterday was Bubba Watson’s second time hosting the event (he first won the Masters back in 2012), and speculation was running rampant about what might be on the menu. After last year’s tournament victory, Watson shocked a lot of people by celebrating at, of all places, a Waffle House—chowing down on a double grilled cheese with hash browns (and leaving a $148 tip).

Some people wondered if this foreshadowed a possible Waffle House-sponsored Champions Dinner for 2015. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards. “You can’t use a name brand,” Watson told reporters.

In the end, Watson—who has openly said “I eat plain”—went with the exact same, very simple menu he served up back in 2013: Caesar salad, grilled chicken breast, green beans, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and confetti cake with vanilla ice cream.

Hey, that meal was good luck the last time he served it—though he did have to wait a year before winning his second Masters. Maybe plan on the next Bubba victory coming in 2016. If so, I think we can take a guess as to what 2017’s Champions Dinner menu will look like.