Charl Schwartzel made history last April when he became the first player ever to win the Masters by making birdies on the final four holes, and he would like to make even bolder history this year. He wants to turn the stately Champions Dinner into a cook-it-yourself barbecue.
"Their initial response was obviously, 'We'll come back to you on that.' I think it took them quite by surprise," Schwartzel said during the annual champions pre-tournament conference call with reporters. "Only thing that could stop me probably [is] if there's too many people. Then it's very difficult to do the meat yourself. We're still waiting for confirmation if it will be allowed."
To put it mildly, it would be a dramatic switch for one of golf's most tradition-rich occasions. On Tuesday night of Masters week every year, past champions gather, wearing the Green Jackets they earned by having won the year's first major, and have dinner in the Augusta National clubhouse. The reigning champion gets to choose the menu, which has run the gamut from cheeseburgers and shakes (chosen by a young Tiger Woods) to haggis (a Scottish dish made of sheep's organs, preferred by Sandy Lyle).
But Schwartzel would like to take it in a completely different direction. "In South Africa, we call it a 'braai,' " he said. "I just find that sometimes I don't enjoy these functions that are formal. You sit down, the food comes. I like it to be fun and relaxed, something that everyone will eat. That's what I do when I'm home on my off time, practically every night. I cook meat on the fire."
He hopes the menu will include lamb chops, steak filets, and "boerewors," a particular type of sausage that is famous in South Africa.