AUGUSTA, Ga. — A year ago Ben Crenshaw fretted over how carefully he might have to choose his words as host of the Masters Club dinner. It marked the first year in which the annual Tuesday night affair would include a number of former winners who had joined the fledgling LIV Golf League.

This year, he’ll introduce the first LIV player to be the guest of honor, 2023 champion Jon Rahm, at the event more familiarly known as the Champions Dinner. But this time Crenshaw has not lost a wink of sleep. He knows exactly what to say when the winners of the green jacket convene upstairs in the clubhouse here at Augusta National Golf Club. It will come from the heart, as most things from Crenshaw do, and it will be inspired by his unique experience as a two-time winner of the green jacket.

“Spanish players have had a distinct impact on the Masters when you think about it, and Jon follows in the footsteps of countrymen who have enjoyed a lot of success at Augusta,” Crenshaw said. “It’s been an honor to have a personal connection to that.”

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The 72-year-old Texan is referring to his two Masters victories in 1984 and ’95—or, more precisely, the celebrated aftermath of each that has a distinct Spanish flavor.

Enjoying the 40th anniversary of his first win, a two-stroke victory over Tom Watson, Crenshaw had the privilege of being helped into his green jacket by the previous year’s winner, as tradition dictates. The ’83 champion happened to be Seve Ballesteros. When Crenshaw won again 11 years later with an emotional one-stroke triumph over Davis Love III, it was Jose Maria Olazabal waiting to put the jacket on him.



He only came to this realization a few weeks ago, and it relieved him of any trepidation he had been feeling. No small thing because he gets nervous about his role as master of ceremonies every year and it tends to intensify as the calendar flips to March.

“I was always such a huge fan of Seve Ballesteros, so having him there for the green jacket ceremony was a thrill for me,” Crenshaw said. “And Jose Maria is such a gentleman and great in his own right. I feel very fortunate to have shared those moments with the two of them.

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“That’s something that I’ll enjoy sharing as it relates to Jon joining the list of great Spanish players to have won the Masters, which, of course, also includes Sergio Garcia,” he added. “We all miss Seve, so any occasion to talk about him is special, and I can bring it around to Jon, who adds another special chapter to the Masters.”

Crenshaw has hosted the Champions Dinner since 2005, taking over at the request of fellow Texan Byron Nelson.

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