The Masters Tournament Pimento Cheese Sandwich's Origin Story

Golf fans are gearing up for the annual Masters Tournament, which kicks off April 11 at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. But tournament attendees are excited about more than just the competition — they're also excited about the sandwiches. The Masters has some of the most affordable sandwiches in America, and well-priced fare has become an integral part of the Masters experience. That's especially true of the pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches, which have a longstanding rivalry for the title of fan-favorite (though diners sometimes combine them into one glorious super-sandwich). The pimento cheese, in particular, has become the stuff of Masters legend.

A staple in the Southern United States, a typical pimento cheese recipe combines sweet pimento peppers with shredded cheese and mayonnaise for a massively creamy spread. "It's definitely a regional food that got its start in Georgia and the Carolinas at textile mills when you needed a quick and inexpensive way to feed the workers that was packed with protein," Deana Tanner Bibb, the batch maker at Proper Pepper Pimento Cheese, told InsideHook. While some suggest pimento cheese sandwiches were introduced to the tournament by a local Augusta, Georgia couple who sold them to spectators for a quarter in the 1940s, they didn't make it onto the official menu until Nick Rangos, a South Carolina caterer, began supplying the club with his proprietary blend in the '50s.

The recipe has changed slightly over the years

The affordability of pimento cheese sandwiched between two pieces of white bread made the regional favorite the perfect addition to the Masters concession menu, which was intentionally low-priced. That's because former Augusta National chairman Clifford Roberts believed good deals added to the customer experience. Even today, the iconic sandwich costs just $1.50.

When the club switched pimento cheese suppliers in 1998, local WifeSaver restaurant owner Ted Geoffry worked tirelessly to make a copycat of Nick Rangos' recipe — and did, for all intents and purposes. But when club management decided to start making the spread in-house in 2012, Geoffry wouldn't fork over the recipe, and Masters attendees could taste the difference. Even still, the sandwich is considered a time-honored tradition. Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau marketing manager Keaton Thurmond told InsideHook, "Guests' fathers and grandfathers ate the same sandwich on the course and they still want to relive that experience as it's been for generations."