It’s funny the way golf fans cherish the release of the Masters Champions Dinner menu considering it’s a meal we’re certainly not invited to. (Although Mike Weir, if you’re reading this, enjoy!)
But the point isn’t the food. The point is the decision-making. One of the best parts of watching golf is seeing top pros make decisions under pressure situations in real time. There’s a far different timeline for the Champions Dinner; green jacket winners have nearly 12 months to announce their menu. How do they think about a menu?
We don’t know what it’s like to win a Masters — again, except for you, Mike — but we do know what it’s like to look at a menu and salivate. So even though only a couple dozen men get invited, all of us get to have an opinion. Enter Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk is not yet much of a golfer. “I probably played about one round total of golf in the past six years,” he said on Friday at the Valspar. Still, he’s been getting in some reps on some simulators, he said, and he loves mini-golf. Plus he sees the game as a part of the next stage of his life.
“I’m telling you right now, I’m just really young still — been living the fast life, but I’m starting to calm down more and I feel like golf is going to be one of my games in the future,” he said. “I will be playing in pro-ams, eventually. I would say I’m going to be a par guy one day.”
Mark it down: Gronk, future Par Guy. Anyway, he has already turned into something of a golf fan. He showed up at the Valspar Championship on Friday — his second consecutive year at the event — and said he was having a blast.
“I was also playing cornhole while watching everyone play golf. So I got to do some activities — because I love activities,” Gronkowski said in a feel-good exchange with the media. “It’s an awesome atmosphere around here. It brings the Tampa Bay community here together. Just this weather is just spectacular. It’s 85 degrees out. There’s two clouds in the sky, the sun is just beaming down on everyone. It’s just a good day to feel good.”
It’s hard to listen to Gronkowski describe life without smiling.
On to the important business: Gronk’s Champions Dinner menu.
“My menu would be cheeseburgers, chicken finger subs, buffalo wings with blue cheese on the side, and of course my lovely ice shaker here. Just getting a little at all times, baby.”
The menu actually has something in common with Scottie Scheffler’s selection this year: a selection of cheeseburger sliders, served “Scottie-style,” will serve as a first course.
“Yeah, well, we’re just alike. He’s a good guy,” Gronkowski said.
While other former athletes have forged fast friendships with current pros — J.J. Watt and Jon Rahm have been comparing notes recently, as one example — Gronk hasn’t taken his game to that level yet.
“I actually never really met any professional golf players ever. I really haven’t,” he said. There was one exception, though.
“I met Tiger Woods one time real quick. He was in the big golf tournament up in New England [we’re guessing here he meant the PGA Tour event at TPC Boston] and he was working out at our facility. Oh, yeah, and he just walked by, and I said, ‘What up, Tiger?’ And he said, ‘What up, Gronk?’ I shook his hand. So that’s the only professional guy I’ve ever met, I’m pretty sure.
Gronk had one final important note to add.
“But I did meet Shooter McGavin before, actually, and if you ask me, he’s the No. 1 most professional golf guy ever. I met Shootah.”
He said that last bit with emphasis. Then he made a series of finger-gun motions and added a few shooting noises to go with ’em.
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