Food & Drink | April 10, 2021 1:55 pm

The Masters’ Weirdest Scandal Involves Pimento Cheese

A modest sandwich with a grand history

Pimento cheese
You wouldn't expect it to be at the center of a controversy, and yet...
Michael Coté, CC BY 2.0

Sporting events are not generally known as places where you can find a good deal on food. For the most part, going to a a major league sporting event involves paying far more for a sandwich or slice of pizza than you would nearly everywhere else. One exception to this is The Masters, where you can purchase a pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50. A recent article in The New York Times dubbed the Amen Corner concession stand at Augusta National Golf Club “one of the great bargains in sports.” But even something as delicious as a pimento cheese sandwich isn’t without its related controversies.

A new article by Luke Fater at Atlas Obscura explores an unexpected scandal involving the cheese sandwiches in question. Reading this, you might wonder if pimento cheese can spark a scandal; rest assured, it can.

At the heart of the matter is the pimento cheese recipe developed by Nick Rangos. The cheese available in Rangos’s South Carolina establishment Woodruff Drug was so highly regarded that The Masters came calling, hiring Rangos in the 1960s. That working relationship lasted for 45 years, before the tournament opted to work with another vendor. Rangos, frustrated by this decision, kept his recipe to himself.

History then repeated itself: Ted Godfrey, who followed Rangos, figured out Rangos’s recipe (or something that tasted virtually identical to it) — only to also withhold that recipe when The Masters again opted to work with a different source of cheese (in this case, handling concessions in-house) in 2013. Tournament attendees hadn’t noticed the changeover from Rangos to Godfrey, but they did notice this one — and it’s been hotly debated among golf fans and cheese devotees ever since.

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