April 6, 2011

This is a great story, one that’s indicative of what Masters week is all about. Phil Mickelson’s touching tribute to two-time Masters champion Seve Ballesteros, battling brain cancer in his home country of Spain.

Seve isn’t coming.

But that does not change the magnitude of the gesture, nor the impact.

It’s one thing to be honored through a dinner, but to be honored at the dinner is the greatest tribute. And that’s exactly what Phil Mickelson will be doing for Seve Ballesteros at the Champions Dinner Tuesday night at Augusta National.

Mickelson, winner of the 2010 Masters, gets to set the menu for the exclusive meal reserved only for those who have earned the green jacket. He’s using the opportunity to pay homage to his cancer-stricken mentor and friend.

“I just sent him an e-mail saying that if he were able to come and feeling healthy enough to be able to make this tournament, I would love to have the dinner be something that he would like, like a Spanish dish of paella or whatever he thought would be appropriate; I wanted to kind of honor him,” Mickelson said at a press conference for the Masters in February.

Many winners use the dinner as a way to celebrate and share their roots. But it’s also a reminder to those present (and to the field) who currently holds the torch. Last year, 2009 winner Angel Cabrera did an Argentine asado of grilled meats like blood sausage and chorizo. Vijay Singh, who won the Masters in 2000, put on a spread of tom kah soup, panang curry, and rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce for the dinner in 2001.

“Unfortunately I don’t think he’s going to be able to make it,” Mickelson said. “Given some e-mails we’ve received, I don’t think he’s planning on attending. So our thoughts and prayers are going to be with him that evening.”

And the Masters Club will have the food of Seve’s nation on its plates. Mickelson is offering a mixed salad with sherry vinaigrette and olives, seafood paella, and an apple empanada for dessert.

Ballesteros might not be at the Champions Dinner in person, but Mickelson’s tribute will keep him very present on the minds of his fellow champions.

Not only is Phil a fan favorite, but he’s a class act – something a certain “Mr. Woods” could take a few pointers from.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:24 | Comments (4)
4 Comments
  1. Good on Phil … and Seve. Tiger still has a substantial portion of his fortune but he has pretty much lost everything else. His game, his family, and the respect he once had are nothing but a memory. Charlie Sheen’s belly flop off the high dive isn’t nearly as spectacular. Self-inflicted wounds can be overcome but you have to own them. Tiger’s wounds own him.

    Comment by Rob — April 6, 2011 @ 8:30 am


  2. I think Tiger’s been getting bad advice from his handlers. I think most people are forgiving by nature (not that Tiger needs their forgiveness), but if he had come back with some humor and loosey-goosey to add to the humility (false or otherwise), I think he’d be welcomed back with open arms. And it might be easier on him to. A few smiles, some self-deprecating humor, and some banter with the galleries wouldn’t hurt, and would go a long, long way. Right now, he’s just not a very likeable character. But maybe he never was to begin with.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 6, 2011 @ 8:48 am


  3. That’s not him, GWS. He’s aloof. I don’t think he can win the gallery back but he can help his public image some when the cameras are rolling. He can turn on some charm at the podium on occasion and he should do more of that but humility doesn’t come naturally to him. He’s a shell of what he was.

    Comment by Rob — April 6, 2011 @ 10:03 am


  4. Sadly, I agree with you there, Rob.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 6, 2011 @ 9:02 pm


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