Padraig Harrington set an Irish menu at this year's champions dinner on Tuesday night when he hosted the annual get together of USPGA winners past and present at Hazeltine golf course
Harrington, who won the USPGA title at Oakland Hills last year, called in the help of his wife Caroline to prepare the menu and confessed he wasn’t the biggest fan of Irish cuisine!
He even said he didn’t like bacon and cabbage (known more commonly in the U.S. as corned beef and cabbage).
"I don't like it," Harrington was quoted in a Canadian Press article. "When it comes to Irish food, you're limited in what you can choose."
Well, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Harrington hasn’t been keeping up to tabs with Chef Gilligan’s latest recipes, isn’t it!
Maybe he hasn’t tried bacon and cabbage Gilligan style! That might change his mind.
We’ll forgive you this time Padraig, because in fairness, you represented us like the great Irishman you are with the menu and sneaked the smelly cabbage on to the appetizers options.
For starters, Padraig had leek and potato soup, and you don’t need me to explain the importance of the spud to us Irish. Not my favorite soup, but not the worst either. Solid effort off the tee Padraig.
Another option was warm cabbage salad with bacon and Roquefort. You might not love it Padraig, but you got it on the menu, wouldn’t doubt ya Paddy boy!
Then for mains the champs had an option of Irish Beef Stew braised in Guinness with colcannon, or grilled salmon with Irish champ and seasonal vegetables (beef or salmon in plain man’s talk).
For anyone who has ever attended a wedding, a funeral or any function that involves a gathering of Irish people together, beef or salmon are staples on the entrée list.
Like his five wood at the 17th at the British Open last year, Padraig just hit the perfect one with this choice.
There’s nothing like a good Irish stew to give former champs the strength to muster another challenge for the Wannamaker trophy.
And Irish stew braised in Guinness! Brilliant! Sticks to your ribs and gives you energy for days.
Tiger would have had to hit the gym for a workout after that dish. Or else he could have elected grilled salmon with Irish champ.
The healthier option, and no less succulent, this dish is a good one for the non-meat eaters and is very hearty Irish fare, like a solid layup at a long par five (and if you have heard about the length of some of the par 5’s at Hazeltine, you’ll know what I mean).
For dessert, the choice was Irish whiskey cake, cheesecake with a Bailey's caramel coulis or Irish pudding.
Irish whiskey cake, say no more. Whiskey doesn’t translate in Gaelic to mean “water of life” for nothing.
And could any self -respecting Irish dessert menu be complete without Baileys on it? Again a masterstroke, like many of the great putts Padraig has during a great career to date.
The last choice was Irish pudding. I have no idea what that is, but I am sure if it is Irish pudding, then it must have tasted lovely.
Harrington, always the gentleman, credited his wife Caroline for her input, and said he enjoyed the process of putting the night together.
“He (Harrington) was very charming. He was extremely humble and told a few Irish jokes,” said Patrick Hunt, member of the executive board at Hazeltine, of Harrington’s performance as host.
I’m pretty sure all the champions, past and present, enjoyed the meal too, and I hope that Harrington gets many more chances to host champions’ dinners.
If he tries Chef Gilligan’s corned beef and cabbage, then he might be inspired to bump it up to the entrees next time.
Good luck this week Padraig.