The Masters Champions dinner this year will have a slightly different atmosphere, with LIV Golf defectors eligible to play. Augusta National Golf Club announced last month that it will "invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters." And this could make for some tense moments during the annual tradition.
“I think the Masters Champions Dinner’s going to be a little tense compared to how it’s been in the past," said Jon Rahm ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, while Scottie Scheffler – winner at Augusta last year – has joked he may have to seat a two-time Masters winner at a separate table after seeing him on vacation.
“Yeah. I haven't seen many of the LIV guys,” said Scheffler. “I saw Bubba on vacation this year, and I told him that I was just going to have a separate table for him in the corner by himself (laughing) only kidding, obviously.”
Scheffler saw Watson and his wife while taking some time off in Tennessee. “Yeah, we were on vacation in Tennessee. I didn't know he was going to be there and I just walked into this restaurant and him and Angie were sitting there and I was like, Hey, man, what's up.”
Despite the acrimonious divide that LIV Golf has caused throughout 2022, by the time the Masters comes around in April, Scheffler believes that everyone can get together and cast their differences aside for a few weeks.
“I think for a few weeks a year we can put all that aside, especially with Augusta National being such a special place and with the history of the game and whatnot,” said the American. “I think we can put all our stuff aside and just get together for a fun meal, all in a room together and just kind of celebrate the game of golf and Augusta National and just hang out.”
The Texan can overtake Rory McIlroy and regain the World No.1 spot this week if he finishes solo-third or better in Hawaii and he will be hoping for another blistering start to the year, having won four times between February and April in 2022.
Ross Kilvington is a freelance writer from Scotland who has had his work published by acclaimed publications such as Nutmeg alongside popular online blogs including the Gentleman Ultra, North Section and Engrossed in Football. Ross holds a passionate interest in golf and tries to play as often as possible, although having two daughters under the age of four means his quest to break 80 will have to wait a little bit longer. He writes about golf in his spare time, most recently having an article published in the Golf Memories anthology Mind the Links, which was released in July with all proceeds going towards Alzheimer charities. With a handicap that floats between 13-14, highlights are few and far between on the golf course, with an eagle on the par 4 16th at Kinghorn one that stands out (it doesn’t matter that it was only 290 yards!).
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