Last year’s Masters champion
As the current titleholder and first Japanese Masters champion, Matsuyama gets to host the exclusive dinner, choosing a menu filled with yakitori, sashimi and A5 Wagyu beef. The complete menu is as follows:
Appetizers: Assorted sushi, sashimi and nigiri and yakitori chicken skewers
Main dishes: Miso-glazed black cod with a dashi broth and A5 Miyazaki wagyu ribeye with mixed mushrooms, vegetables and sansho daikon ponzu
Dessert: Japanese strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and amaou strawberries
Par for the course of this annual tradition, Matsuyama shares his home culture through the food. Sushi, sashimi, nigiri and yakitori are all staple food items of Japan. Miso glazed black cod is also a classic preparation of the fish. Miyazaki wagyu is a type of wagyu (Japanese cow) from the Miyazaki prefecture. It’s been highly ranked at wagyu judging events and served by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck for Oscar dinners.
The dessert course features prized Amaou strawberries grown in the Fukuoka prefecture of Japan. Their name is an acronym representing the best qualities of the fruit. In Japanese it stands for “amai” (sweet), “marui” (round), “okii” (big) and “umai” (tasty).
When asked about the upcoming Masters tournament and dinner, Matsuyama told the Associated Press, “Of course, I’m looking forward to returning to Augusta National as the defending champion. There are some expectations from myself, whether it’s pressure or not, but looking forward to it and also at the same time trying to prepare the best I can.”
“The same with the Champions Dinner. I don’t speak English very well and so it’s kind of a two-sided coin. I’m looking forward to it, of course, to be with all those great past Masters champions but, at the same time too, very nervous about the speech I will be giving.”
The Masters Champions Dinner was first hosted by Ben Hogan in 1952 after he won his first Masters the previous year. The event is hosted at the Augusta National Golf Club and is exclusive for only Masters winners or honorary inductees, usually taking place on the Tuesday of Masters week, which takes place this year April 4 through 10.