Postcard from Augusta: The Masters is no joke when it comes to food

The Masters is a terrible place to lose weight, even with those walks up and down the hilly course.

The good folks at Augusta National really make it hard on you because they offer an endless supply of food, including doughnuts, sandwiches and candy like Peanut M&Ms and Snickers bars. Not good.

They also have a full-scale restaurant/dining room on the premises of the two-story Press Building. The Southern fried chicken is to die for. But as my buddy Jim Souhan from the Minneapolis Star Tribune found out, hats must be removed to eat there. “A second offense,” Jim said, “is probably a caning.”

Now it may not be the same acclaimed fare as what defending champion Sergio Garcia planned to serve at Tuesday night’s Champions Dinner. Garcia’s menu included an international salad as a starter, arroz caldoso de bogavante — a traditional Spanish lobster rice — as the primary meal; and his wife Angela’s tres leches cake, for his favorite dessert.

Dressed for success: Phil Mickelson showed up Tuesday with a long-sleeved, buttoned-down white shirt when he played the back nine with sometimes fierce rival, Tiger Woods.

“I always give him a little bit of grief about that,” a curious Woods said. “The only thing that was missing was a tie.”

Said Phil later in response, “I have a tie.”

No phones allowed: Augusta National takes few things more seriously than its ban on cell phones by fans and reporters on the course. The phones are strictly prohibited from the lavish, 128-seat Interview Room as well as the balconies and entrance to the Press Building.

Texans Unite: Ran into Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw as he checked in. He’s a fellow Daily Texan alum and is covering his ninth Masters, with his last coming in 2007 when he covered eight consecutive tournaments.

What, no charge? Never have gotten over the fact that Augusta National offers free parking.

Took me 45 minutes to get to the course Tuesday even though the house I share with fellow writers from the PGA Tour is probably no more than two miles away. We get special parking privileges as well in a lot that’s less than a block from the media center.

Green or greasy jacket? When Garcia was asked about any stains on the green jacket he might have gotten when he wore it away from the course, he said he took pictures from tons of people in New York City on the Monday after he won last year and noticed “two big grease stains on it.” Panic set in.

“I’m thinking, my God, I’ve had the jacket for a day-and-a-half, and already I have two massive stains on it,” Garcia said. “We took it to the dry cleaner and they did a good job. Oh, that was tough.”

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