The Tradition Behind the Masters Tournament Pimiento Cheese Sandwich

Masters Tournament/Facebook

Attending the Masters is a golf lover’s dream. Fresh blooming azaleas line the lush fairways and perfectly groomed putting greens as crowds gather near their favorite competitor hoping for a hole in one. It’s the caviar of Southern sporting events, but you won’t find any caviar at Augusta National Golf Club’s concession stand. When golfers and spectators get hungry for a midafternoon meal they reach for a classic—a $1.50 green plastic-wrapped pimiento cheese sandwich.

The pimiento cheese sandwich—a pimiento, cheese, and mayonnaise blend on white bread—has become as iconic as the trophy green blazers. It’s simple and it’s good, and most importantly, it’s tradition.

The original creator of the Masters’ pimiento cheese sandwich was Nick Rangos from Aiken, South Carolina. He supplied the tournament with the Southern staple for 45 years until the club switched contracts and began using Wife Saver—a local restaurant chain that was already making another Masters’ favorite, fried chicken sandwiches. Nick refused to share his secret recipe, so it was up to Wife Saver to recreate it.

Luckily, they got pretty close. But another vendor change in 2013 meant another secret recipe withheld, more changes to the spread, and ultimately, some very upset pimiento cheese sandwich patrons. Some claimed there was more spice, and others agreed more mayonnaise had made it gummy. Whatever the case, it wasn’t the same and folks weren’t happy.

Fast forward to today, and it appears the pimiento cheese sandwich has somehow been returned to its previous glory. Whether it was a midnight epiphany by an Augusta National Golf Club chef or just enough taste tests, no one is exactly sure, and no one is sharing the truth. We may never know the exact ingredients of the Masters’ pimiento cheese, but while we’re guessing and catching up on the tournament, this is the recipe we’ll be snacking on.


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