Last year’s dinner, however, took an emotional turn when Palmer was persuaded to speak after being given his piece of Augusta National history.“Arnold stood up and started speaking and you could tell it was straight from the heart. It was pretty emotional and then he nudged Jack [Nicklaus] to get up and help him out,” Trevor Immelman said. Everyone in that room has won the Masters, so they know how they did it.
“People get their spots and just stay there,” Immelman said.
“But what broke the ice last year was a presentation was made to Arnold [Palmer] in the middle of the dinner and he felt he should speak and it was a very emotional speech.” The presentation was a piece of the iconic Eisenhower tree on the 17 hole, which was lost in an ice storm in 2014.
Normally, Ben Crenshaw serves as the emcee of the event and he introduces the defending champion, who makes a few comments, followed by chairman Billy Payne who gives an overview of the club and any changes that may have been made since the previous year’s tournament.
– In official publications it’s referred to as the Masters Club, but to anyone with even a passing interest in golf it’s simply the Champions Dinner.
The club is limited to winners of the Masters and Augusta National’s chairman, who is granted a honorary membership, and the annual dining options – Angel Cabrera, for example, served grouper ceviche over plantain chips in 2010 – are the only real public glimpses most ever get into the Tuesday tradition, but last year’s Champions Dinner was different.
“Last year, [Adam] Scottie was kind of asking me where he should sit and I kind of dragged him down to our side on the far corner.