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There’s no love lost between Masters champions Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson.

And it led to a frosty meeting when the pair came eye to eye at the Masters Champions Dinner on Tuesday.

Hosted by Augusta National each year, it is one of the most exclusive tea times in the world and has threatened to be a tense affair in recent years.

The Masters’ past champions list is composed of PGA Tour legends and current stars, as well as a handful of LIV golfers.

Before winning the Masters last year, Jon Rahm said the 2023 dinner was going to be a “little tense compared to how it’s been in the past”.

• Rory McIlroy ‘pleased’ despite scrappy opening round

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Fast-forward a year and the Spaniard’s Basque-inspired menu was set to be served up as Rahm slipped into the green jacket last April.

And on Tuesday, Rahm swept aside any concerns of awkwardness at the dinner table, when he was asked for his feelings ahead of taking on hosting duties.

“Well, everybody I talked to seems very excited about the menu, which, if anything, has put a lot more pressure on me, even though I’m not cooking,” he said. “So, yeah, I’m definitely a little nervous.”

Despite the menu being well received, Faldo was left with an unsavoury memory from the Champions Dinner, as he claims Mickelson avoided him.

“Phil was very quiet on Tuesday; he didn’t say a word,” Faldo explained on Sky Sports during the opening round of the Masters. “He was dead quiet, standing next to me. I wonder why.”

It comes after taking a fresh swipe at the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit earlier in the week, as he assessed Rahm’s chances of defending his title.

• Wyndham Clark takes shot at LIV Golf

• Tom Watson makes impassioned plea for golf peace

“He’s a hell of a player, but he’s going to have to make a little bit more effort to step it up and get the right intensity,” he told the Sky Sports Golf podcast.

“He has been playing resort courses in his shorts for the last couple of months and hasn’t really been tested yet.”

Faldo, who first earned his seat at the Champions Dinner table in 1989, has long been a critic of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

The Englishman said that ‘nobody is interested’ in it, after the news broke of a framework agreement with the PGA Tour last summer.

“They’re not going to get the sponsorship that they want. They call it a team (event) and it’s not because it’s stroke play.

“It’s only half a dozen [players] that are really current, half of the field I don’t really know, and half the field are there for the very nice last-placed money that you still get if you shoot 20-over.”

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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