What Is The Famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich Taking Over The Masters?

Golf is nothing if not traditional, and the Masters Tournament is perhaps the best example of the sport's peculiarities. The first of four major annual golf tournaments, the Masters is scheduled for the first week of April each year. It corners the market on traditions and rules that may seem antiquated and even bizarre to outsiders, and that extends to the food served at the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course.

Patrons (that's what observers of the Masters are called, rather than fans or spectators) may not be able to use cell phones or wear ballcaps backwards, but what they can do is purchase a traditional pimento cheese sandwich for a mere $1.50. You may know pimento cheese as your favorite topping for crackers or the all-important spread on fried chicken sandwiches, but at the Masters, it's sandwiched between two pieces of white bread. 

And these simple sandwiches aren't some newfangled addition to the golf tournament; they have been served by Augusta National for more than forty years. They have remained extremely popular and people look forward to them every year, including Michelin-starred chef, Thomas Keller. So, what's so special about Augusta National's take on the classic pimento cheese sandwich? 

Keeping it simple

What makes the Masters' version so noteworthy? Pretty much nothing, except its adherence to tradition. You won't find versions gussied up with crazy ingredients like bacon on the greens at Augusta. Nope, it's plain white bread, filled with a mixture of processed swiss and American cheeses, chopped pimentos, mayonnaise, and paprika; all made fresh daily.

Golf spoke with Thomas Keller, who's attended the Masters several times and serves his version of the pimento cheese sandwich at golf events in Napa Valley, and he said, "It's everything you could ask for, right down to the soft white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth."

The rest of the menu at Augusta National reveals a quirky list of traditional southern fare – like pork Bar-B-Que, a chicken biscuit (only served until 10 a.m.), beer, white wine (no red), southern cheese straws, and a Georgia peach ice cream sandwich. The priciest item on the list is the white wine, which costs a mere $6. The star, however, is that pimento cheese sandwich. Where else can you get something so satisfying, wrapped in Augusta-green plastic, of course, for a mere $1.50?