AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Here's one subtle perk to winning multiple Masters titles: you can afford to be a bit more generous with your menu for the Champions dinner.
That's what Phil Mickelson decided with his pickings for Tuesday's ultra-exclusive soiree upstairs in the Augusta National clubhouse. His Spanish-themed menu, which features paella, prime rib with machango cheese, and a gazpacho salad, was conceived as a tribute to Seve Ballesteros, a player Mickelson remembers watching win the Masters when he was a boy; and who has been battling brain cancer the past few years.
"When I was ten years old watching Seve Ballesteros win in 1980, (I said) to my mom, 'I want to win that tournament. I want to be like that and win this event,'" Mickelson said/.
Mickelson originally hoped Ballesteros would be well enough to be at the dinner in person this week, even sending Ballesteros e-mails saying the dinner would be in honor. But when it became apparent the former Masters champion, who turns 54 this week, would be home in Spain, Mickelson still had a menu with the legend in mind.
"I wanted to kind of honor him," Mickelson said. "But unfortunately I don't think he's going to be able to make it. So our thoughts and prayers are going to be with him that evening."
*-- Sam Weinman *