The Masters golf tournament is haunted by the petty specter of a pimento cheese sandwich

One of Augusta National's famed pimento cheese sandwiches resting on a green wrapper
Photo: Jamie Squire / Staff (Getty Images)

Ah, the Masters! The storied tournament during which the world’s top golfers flock to Augusta, Georgia to compete for a fancy little green jacket. (Can you tell I don’t watch golf?) This year’s tournament took place last weekend—and, in honor of the occasion, Atlas Obscura published a fascinating piece titled “The Sandwich Scandal at the Heart of the World’s Greatest Golfing Event.”

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The tale of intrigue, deception, and pimento cheese, penned by Luke Fater, centers on the tournament’s “behind-the-scenes devotion to aesthetic perfection.” That devotion extends to golf snacks—especially the golf club’s original pimento cheese sandwich. As a reminder, pimento cheese is a gooey, spreadable creation that combines sweet pimento peppers with cheese, mayonnaise, and spices. It’s also one of the most iconic, controversial dishes in the sports world, as Fater reports.

Fater’s article references Nick Rangos, the tournament’s longtime pimento cheese vendor who delivered his secret recipe to the grounds every April for 45 years. When the Masters chose not to renew his contract after decades of service, Rangos didn’t take the news well. He refused to share his signature recipe with his replacement, Ted Godfrey, who ran a franchise of a regional fried-chicken chain called—oh, yes—WifeSaver.

Godfrey reportedly spent months trying to recreate the recipe. “I can’t tell you how many 35-dollar cases of cheese we’d been through,” Godfrey told ESPN. Eventually a tournament worker revealed a frozen batch of Rangos’s original spread, allowing Godfrey to reverse-engineer the recipe and devise a passable spread. Finally, in 2013, the Masters took all concessions in-house. Godfrey was out of a job, and then refused to share his recipe with the new in-house chefs. Anyway, the saga is weird and very funny, especially considering the buttoned-up, private nature of the golf world. Check out Luke Fater’s full article here.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

I worked on a golf course for part of one summer. Not all golfers are assholes but enough of them are that I quit that job.