Scottie Scheffler has picked his menu for the Champions Dinner on April 4. What will he say to the past champions, which includes many members of LIV Golf, such as Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson, his former partner at the Zurich Classic team event?
“I haven’t totally decided what I will say,” said Scheffler, who has the honor of hosting the dinner as the defending champion, during a media call Wednesday ahead of the Masters, which begins on April 6. “I’m aware I have to say a few words, but, for the most part, it’s kind of a group thing. I’m not quite sure what the vibe will be like, but I think we are all there to play in the tournament and celebrate the Masters and celebrate all being past champions.
“I think the dinner will be really special for all us to be able to gather again and I am sure we will put all that other stuff aside and have a good time together. Just because guys joined another tour doesn’t mean I’m not friends with them anymore and think differently of them as people. They are still my friends and we are all just gonna hang out and have a good time.”
— The Masters (@TheMasters) March 15, 2023
There’s a good chance it will be awkward between Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who had emerged as ‘frenemies’ in recent years and now find themselves on opposite ends of the LIV-PGA Tour kerfuffle, and extra chilly with Garcia, who didn’t hide his feelings about the PGA Tour and DP World Tour on his way out the door.
“We as a whole need to honor Scottie, Scottie’s the winner, it’s his dinner,” Tiger Woods said last month. “So making sure that Scottie gets honored correctly but also realizing the nature of what has transpired and the people that have left, just where our situations are either legally, emotionally, there’s a lot there.”
Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champ, echoed Tiger, saying cooler heads should prevail and the dinner will be a celebration of its champion.
“I’ve had a couple of conversations with the powers that be,” he said. “We all look through the lens of what that evening is established to be and what it forever is going to be and the mere fact that we are honoring another man. That’s going to be my outlook and how I’m going to approach it. Bottom line, that guy played really good last year and deserves a celebration and all of us to be there and let him buy me dinner.”