The Masters, at Augusta National Golf Club is considered by many, the most important golf tournament in the world. Not only are the best players competing, but what else makes this event so special is the rich traditions and strict enforcement of fan rules.
Augusta National was the dream of golf legend Bobby Jones. A dream he saw come true. Here is Jones teeing off on the unfinished course in April 1932.
Augusta National looks much different today. Today's entrance – Magnolia Lane. Even the most seasoned golfers experience goosebumps as they drive toward the clubhouse.
Founders Circle will take your breath away.
The fragrant azaleas and majestic lob lolly pines are stunning
The course is perfect in every way
Yet, there is much more to this magnificent event - its traditions. Here are just a few of the many that have evolved over the years: • No other sporting event has fewer commercial interruptions. • The Ceremonial Tee Shot with the Big 3 – Arnold, Jack, and Gary. Sadly, now, it is the Big 2 with Arnie’s recent passing. • Magnolia Lane & Founders Circle. Patrons wait for hours to walk the lane and take pictures by Founders Circle. • The Par 3 Tournament. Note: No winner of the Par 3 has ever won The Masters. • The Champions Dinner. The winner can choose the menu. • Skipping balls across the water of # 16. • And…The Masters Menu, which includes the iconic Pimento Cheese Sandwich. For years, the price has been fixed at $1.50, with soft drinks the same. A family of four can often eat for $20.00.
Please be patient, I will share my famous, authentic recipe at the end.
Another impressive tradition is the required and strictly enforced patron behavior. At The Masters, fans are referred to as ‘Patrons.’ Green jacketed Marshall's are everywhere… to enforce the following: • No electronic devices – PERIOD! • No weapons, even if patron has a permit. • No chairs, strollers, backpacks, purses larger than 10 x 12.” • No pets. except service animals. • No running anywhere on Augusta grounds. • No shouting of common or creative golf slogans, including names. • Autographs allowed in designated areas only. • No ‘buddy’ ticket or badge swapping. • No golf shoes with metal spikes. • No coolers or personal food • No littering.
There is more than a little decorum expected at this tournament. Truly, “a tradition unlike any other.”
And as promised earlier, here is my famous ‘traditional’ Augusta National Pimento Cheese Sandwich recipe, given to me by friend who once lived in Augusta.
The Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Note: His recipe was given in ‘approximate’ measurements. • Equal amount of extra sharp yellow Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack (app. 12 oz each). • 8 oz pack of cream cheese – room temp • Jar of pimentos - drained • A big pinch of salt • Really big pinch or two of coarse ground pepper • Couple dashes of hot sauce. I make my own from Bhut Jolokia’s (Ghost Peppers). Go easy with the hot sauce…mix… taste…mix… taste. The heat can creep! • Mayo…little at a time. “Good Mayo” • Nice soft white bread
Directions: Grate the cheese by hand. I use a standard box grater. Mix together in a large bowl. Pinch off little chunks of the cream cheese and distribute around the bowl on top of the cheeses. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix by hand as you would a meatloaf. Then add a couple globs of mayo. CAREFUL, you can always add more, but removing too much is a bit tricky. Keep mixing, squeezing, turning over until you have the consistency you want. All the colors should be evenly distributed. I like mine with a little texture…not too creamy, so go easy on the mayo and don’t squeeze the life out of it. Place in airtight container in the fridge. Take out about 30 minutes before serving. Spread evenly on one slice of bread, being careful not to tear the bread. If you decide you want a little creamier sandwich, ‘slather’ a little mayo on each slice of the bread before adding the pimento cheese.
Makes several sandwiches or fewer if you like them “Mike-Sized” – ½” to ¾” thick. Never said they were healthy. Monday is for dieting.
There you have it my friends…an “Authentic Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich” straight from Augusta. After you make your own, you can pave the way with a traditional Gin & Tonic or complement the sandwich with your favorite beer. Or be a good role model for the kids and pass around the soft drinks. Add a hand full of chips and a Kosher pickle and let the ‘uhms’ begin.
By the way: Here are my top three come Sunday evening: 1. Dustin Johnson 2. Jordan Speith 3. Adam Scott
It is true, Southern charm and tradition(s) are alive and well…at The Masters.