It’s Food That’s Fit for This Golf King
Guess what’s for dinner.
For the record:
12:00 a.m. April 8, 1998 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 8, 1998 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 9 Sports Desk 1 inches; 15 words Type of Material: Correction
Golf--In Tuesday’s editions, the year that Fuzzy Zoeller won the Masters was incorrect. Zoeller won in 1979.
Grilled chicken sandwiches.
Vanilla and strawberry milkshakes.
What, no chili dogs? Maybe next time.
You see, according to the guy who decided on the cuisine, he chose the first things that came to mind, probably even going so far as to check what was in the paper bag on his lap.
“They said you could pick anything you want,” Tiger Woods said.
And so he did. You can check your cholesterol level at the door tonight at the Masters champions dinner, where Woods has come up with a menu featuring food that has the fat content equivalent to the inside of a butter churn and more sodium than you could find in the Great Salt Lake.
It may be the first Masters dinner presenting a toy with every meal.
Normally, the yearly feeding ritual in the storied clubhouse at the end of Magnolia Lane isn’t that big a deal--unless you count 1989, when defending champion Sandy Lyle of Scotland served haggis. There weren’t many Masters champions in the clean-your-plate club that night.
But this year’s dinner is different for another reason. What would be on Woods’ menu became a topic of discussion once Fuzzy Zoeller made his ill-conceived remark that Woods should avoid ordering “fried chicken . . . collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
Anyway, now the menu, a la Tiger, is official.
Even Zoeller, who earned his green Masters jacket in 1980, will be on hand to sample it. So will the other former Masters champions who show up, which brings up another issue: Can 96-year-old Gene Sarazen relate to a cheeseburger?
“I don’t care too much for that menu,” Sarazen said. “Who ever heard of a cheeseburger as a dinner?”
Well, Woods, for one. The basic problem here is that there’s a 74-year age difference between Woods and Sarazen, who probably thinks golden arches are shoe supports for the very rich.
Then there is Woods, who basically doesn’t trust any food that can’t be eaten in a car. What he chose is entirely age-appropriate, which is why catsup will be very important tonight.
“Hey, it’s part of being young,” he said of his menu. “That’s what I eat. I’m sure that’s what they ate growing up and that’s just me.
“This is what I grew up eating and that’s what I still am eating. It’s what I like to eat.”
So there. Besides, other winners have served their favorites.
Englishman Nick Faldo ordered fish and chips for last year’s dinner. Texan Ben Crenshaw had barbecue in 1996, Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal had bluefish in garlic, oil and perejil--parsley--sauce in 1995, and Bernhard Langer had German wedding soup with turkey and stuffing in 1994.
Sarazen’s personal favorite remains the 1993 dinner, presented by Fred Couples. The meal featured chicken cacciatore with spaghetti on the side.
“Best one I ever had,” Sarazen said.
It should be pointed out that dinner guests have the option of ordering off the regular menu at Augusta National, which is what Sarazen intends to do tonight, so help him cheeseburger.
Sarazen also decided against Lyle’s haggis--minced sheep or calf organs mixed with suet, onions and oatmeal, then boiled in the stomach of the animal.
No matter how appetizing it sounded to Sarazen, he just had to say no.
“I had lamb chops,” he said.
As for Tiger’s dinner menu, well, let’s just say that although it may be nutritionally challenged, it is historic. It’s the first time French fries have been on the menu. Club co-founder Clifford Roberts had banned them from the deep fryer long ago because he considered them unhealthy.
Joan DeVito, a nutrition expert from Woodland Hills, said if Woods made a few alterations, the meal might not be so hard to swallow.
“I would say take out the cheese on the hamburger, double the lettuce, double the tomato, cut the mayonnaise, substitute coleslaw or a green salad for the fries, use frozen yogurt instead of ice cream and nonfat milk for whole milk,” DeVito said.
Presumably, other than that, it’s perfect. We need to remember that this is Woods’ choice, his menu, his food. Now, by gosh, roll down your window and start eating.
Besides, if anybody else doesn’t like the food, all he has to do is go out and win his own Masters and come up with his own menu. Either that or order the lamb chops with Sarazen.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
MASTERS TOURNAMENT FACTS
WHERE: Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Course
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Tiger Woods
TV: Thursday-Friday, USA
Sat.-Sun. Ch. 2