No, I’m not kidding. So you’re probably wondering why the hell does Luke Donald have $80,000 worth of beef. Well, that’s easy! — last November, Luke Donald won the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Miyazaki, Japan, where they breed cattle that live more luxuriously than you or I, so the winner receives a nice check and one of these delicious-tasting cows, according to ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell.
When he realized what he had won, he tried to ship his prize cow to his home in Chicago, but he quickly found out he wouldn’t be able to physically bring the live animal back to the United States. Now, most people would have just sold the cow back for cash. Not Luke, though, because he’s a foodie, so he realized this cow would make some darn good steaks.
Well, Luke wasn’t going to give up, so he called Nick Kokonas, a partner with celebrity chef Grant Achatz at Alinea, “one of the most universally acclaimed restaurants in the country,” which had imported Miyazaki beef before the USDA banned it in 2011.
Then, there was a lot of back-and-forth between Kokonas and an importer, according to Rovell’s report:
In the weeks that followed, Kokonas said he was asked through an importer if he wanted the whole cow.
“Yes, we want the whole cow,” Kokonas said. “Luke won the whole cow, didn’t he?”
The next communication from Japan was that the cow was actually still alive, so the meat wasn’t available.
Kokonas then brought in Shane Lindsay, who runs a food importing company called Northwest Earth & Ocean. Lindsay became the point person between Donald’s cow acquisition team and those in Miyazaki.
Then, the story changed. It wasn’t actually one cow. Donald’s group needed to specify the cuts that they wanted and how many pounds of each they were requesting. After way too many emails, over a period of months, an agreement was finally reached.
Donald would get about 200 pounds of Miyazaki beef. Lindsay would receive the shipment at his warehouse, cut it up into individual portions and flash freeze it until the golfer was ready to take delivery.
Finally, six months later, Luke threw some of his very expensive dead cow on the grill and dined on “definitely the best beef I’ve ever had.” I mean, given all the trouble he went through, you’d think this meat turned into diamonds when cooked!
Oh, FWIW, Tiger Woods’ girlfriend Lindsey Vonn won a cow at the 2005 Downhill World Cup. She didn’t want to exchange it for cash to some dairy farmers, so eventually, a deal was worked out so her pet cow lived out its days in Austria.