The Grale, the front nine

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My book titled ‘The Grale’ tells of a Excalibur like trophy made for the first historical 18 hole golf match in 1504, and the power it holds to the one who possess it, then and now.

                                                                           THE GRALE
                                                                        The Front Nine

                                                                                  BY


                                                                        Layne M. Barry

 

 

 I wrote this story to give golfers and non-golfers alike the history of the game — with a touch of mystical fiction.

Being a lover of the game, I had no idea when the game started. On the other hand, being of Scottish descent, I did know where the game started. But how many of us – weekend hackers or polished pros — know who played the first 18 holes? Who among us even knows why we play 18 holes?

After many hours of research, I had the setting for a great story that mixes history with a touch of fiction. The vision of this story formed in my mind like the perfect tee shot.

I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Like the perfect round, I was both joyful and sad when I finished.

 

 

                                                                ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would not have been able to finish this journey if it were not for the support, love and understanding of my family and friends – most of all Tracie. I thank you all.

Also I would like to thank Editor David,   Aka, UC Wheels. He did a great job, and wish Him speedy recovery battling his health Issues.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,  businesses, places, events, and incidents are  either the product of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

 

 

 


                                                                        First Chapter


This story begins as Scotland turns her attention from battling for freedom from England to the eternal struggles between Noble land owners, positioning themselves to get closer to the King, or even the throne itself. The year is 1502.

When Scottish Parliament was not squabbling over the affairs of the day, they would take their recreation outside with a game they called 'Gowf'. At this time, the King of Scotland, King James IV, succumbed to temptation of the game and purchased clubs and balls from a Bowmaker in Perth.

The King practiced every day, and even when the weather was poor, he practiced inside the Castle. This kept the servants as well as the occasional guests on their toes, ducking a shank now and then.

Two years had passed when the inevitable happens. A courier on horseback arrives at the kings Castle, carrying a let branded with the wax seal of the First Earl of Bothwell, Patrick Hepburn. King James is informed of the courier’s arrival and meets him in the reception hall.

The courier bows as King James takes the letter, opening it swiftly with a dagger he keeps tucked away in his vest pocket. As the King opens the letter, the courier corrects his posture with his head held high.

'I, the Earl of Bothwell, challenge you, King James IV, to a gowf match. I invite you to join me mid-day tomorrow at Bothwell Castle to discuss the terms.'

King James turns to the courier.

  "Tell the Earl I accept."

This is what the King had feared in the back of his mind for two long years. The Earl has won almost every match he has entered for nearly five straight years. Knowing this, the King feels his skills may be questionable against the Earl's. And knowing the Earl, the stakes will be high, possibly too high — perhaps for the future of Scotland itself. Only his determination and the luck of the gods can keep the balance of power safe and, most importantly, him on the throne.

To commemorate the match, the Earl has summoned a silversmith, named Alic MacCrey, who is known across Scotland for his craftsmanship. Alic stands in the great hall of Bothwell Castle to receive his instructions.

"I have challenged King James to a gowf match. I would like you to make a victor's trophy for the winner," the Earl explains.

Alic nods as the Earl continues. "This must be a special trophy, for it is to resolve all of our disagreements over lands and titles for many years to come."

Again, Alic nods.

"You have three days," the Earl adds.

Alic returns to his workshop that is set at the edge of a meadow. The location provides essential resources from a low lying ridge of trees behind it that has enough wood to heat the casting furnace and his shop on the coldest of Scottish nights.

Sitting at a table that is slightly tilted towards him, he begins to sketch. A vision forms in his mind from what the Earl had said. To be a silversmith, one must be a artist of the mind as well as the hand. This is what Alic liked to call 'the Mind’s eye.' Within an hour, he had what he wanted and began the preparations, calling for his assistant to set up the furnace.

Toshi, his assistant, is outside removing slag from the smelting cups and collecting some wood to fire the furnace. Toshi fled his homeland when the Emperor he served was overthrown. He boarded a Portuguese trade ship bound for lands east, leaving behind his family. In Japan, he was a master sword maker, perfecting his craft and creating the finest steel for Japan's royalty. He was unmatched by any other sword maker in the land.

As Toshi stokes the furnace, he watches Alic remove a small leather bag from a cabinet. Alic is the last of his kind; his father was a silversmith as was his father’s father — and so on for centuries going back to the times of Merlin and King Arthur. In the leather bag is a piece of metal that has been passed down through the centuries from the casting of the sword Excalibur. He understands the dreams he has had of a sword that would rule the land, but without a blade, are now coming to fruition.

The next day King James along with his captain of the Guards, William O'Barry, and a hand-picked group of men ride to Bothwell Castle. When the King and his men arrive, they are greeted by the Earl's servants in the great hall.  The King and the Earl are seated at a long table above the main floor where the Earl's men sit at tables across the room from the King's men.

Musicians are positioned to one side of the great hall.  They begin to play when the Earl nods slightly in their direction. He then leans in toward the King seated at his left.

"Aye Sir James, are you up to the challenge?"

Sir Hepburn then takes a drink from his chalice without looking at the King directly.

"Aye, I am."

The two men then turn facing one another with a steely glare for a moment and then a slight smile. The Earl swivels away, raising one hand in the air to call a servant.

"Bring me a fresh bottle."

The servant places the bottle in front of the Earl. Leaning forward, he grabs the bottle, removes the cork and fills two small cups, placing one on a tray for the servant to take to King James. The Earl, raising his cup, looks the King in the eye.

"When the bottle is done, the match will be done."

The King stands and his men immediately rise to their feet. The Earl and his men follow in kind, and the King raises his cup to give a toast.

"To those who are here, and those who have come and
Gone.”

Everyone raises their cups and joins in.

"Here! Here!"

All drink as the feast continues with more drinking, eating and entertainment.

As time passes, the Earl feels the weight of the bottle and stands, tapping the staff of Bothwell against the stone floor to silences the musicians. He then pours the last two cups from the bottle.

"Aye, there it is... eighteen jiggers, so we play
eighteen holes, agreed?"

"Aye, agreed," the King replies.

The two men then seal the agreement by inner locking arms, a custom created by the Greeks. Their Men pound their fists to the tables as they watch King and Noble locked in a steely glare – and then they drink.

The sun rises shinning a sliver of light across Alic's face as he rests his eyes for moment. Three days he's worked with Toshi's help prepping for each step, only stopping for food and drink. Still though, he is astonished that it came together so easily. One eye flickers slightly as the light awakens him, but his dreamlike thoughts continue. The bellowing of the furnace, the pouring of the steel and the weight of the hammer all fill his mind with a sense of exhaustion and satisfaction.

Alic stretches out his arms as he slides off the bench he has been resting on. He thinks how in three days he has done what would have taken him three weeks under perfect conditions. Making his way to where the trophy lays, he looks down and his bewilderment continues. It seems to have changed somehow; there’s more detail then he remembers. However, he dozed off only an hour or so ago. Could it be the lack of sleep? Blinking and then opening his eyes wide, he looks closer at the detail, not remembering exactly how he did it.

After a few moments, he is sure of it; somehow, someway,
the finish has changed, giving the trophy a luster and brilliance he has never seen before. The tales of the past ring true in his mind. That small piece of metal held the promise of an age long ago. The words of the Earl surface in his thoughts.

'To resolve all disagreements.'

Alic adds two words from his own lips.

"Between men."

‘That's it,’ he thinks. For centuries the 'common man' at the end of the day has settled his differences over a drink with his peers. Like the cup that held the essence of the King of Kings, all men find common ground through the spirits of their time, uniting and connecting through the soil of the earth.

All of Alic's thoughts collide in a moment of clarity. Only one word can fulfill the promises of the past, the needs of the present and the hope for the future. 'Grale.'

Out of the corner of Alic's eye, a movement breaks the cosmic mist that has enveloped him. Its Toshi rolling over on a Cot placed at one end of the shop. Alic watches Toshi as he carefully places the Grale in a box filled with curled wood shavings, closing the lid.

Toshi stretches out, rolling over one last time. He sits up and rubs his eyes before standing and leading Alic out the back door of the shop. A large oak cask full of spring rain water stands in the morning shadow of the shop. Dipping their hands into the cool water chilled by the night air, they quickly plash it onto their faces.

Both men steep back into the light, eyes closed, allowing the rays of the sun to warm their skin. Alic lifts one eye, looking at Toshi and wondering if he knows. ‘Did he see the Grale before me?’ Alic wonders.

The same morning sun that dries Alic and Toshi's faces shines through the pained glass window of the King's chamber. He sits reviewing new commissions for the court and Royal Guard. The King's chamber is a special place for him, containing paintings of his family and prizes from battles won. His most prized hangs higher than the rest, the 'Auld Alliance' with France which documents the invasion of England by King David II at Hexham in 1346. It’s the battle that gave Scotland its freedom.

King James thoughts are broken by the sound of a knock at his chamber door.

"Aye, enter."

Looking up, he sees William step quickly before him and bow before placing papers on the table.

"What do you think of this match, Sir William?"

William places his left hand on his sword as he steps towards the window.

"I don't trust him. It may be a trap."

"Aye, the Earl can be devilish,"

The King pauses, joining William gazing out the window for a moment, having thoughts of battles of long ago.

"William, at the match, have your men close, for the Earl may have treachery on his mind," the King instructs.

William steps back from the window and bows, leaving the King in silence.

A late morning breeze ruffles the leaves of the trees behind Alic's shop. Inside, he sits at his drawing table with quill in hand as he looks up to see Toshi working on a small wooden box. Satisfied with the focus he sees on Toshi's face, Alic feels that his assistant is unaware of the condition of the Grale. He turns his attention to the scroll he is drafting.

After completing the scroll, he places it in the cabinet where he kept the small piece of metal, and then he finishes packing the Grale for delivery to the Earl. Toshi takes notice of Alic placing something in the cabinet before he goes back to work on his box. Alic prepares for his presentation to the Earl by dressing in the finest cloths a silversmith could own. Checking to see that all fits as well as it can some ten years and many haggis later, he exits the backroom and instructs Toshi to place the box containing the Grale in the back of the wagon.

Alic snaps the reins, and his mule Isabel bobs her head, placing one huff in front of the other down the road as Toshi watches the pair drift out of sight.

Toshi returns to crafting his box. As time passes, curiosity gets the best of him, and he makes his way to Alic's cabinet. Searching the shelves and drawers, he finds the Grale scroll. He returns to his work table and begins to copy Alic's words in his native language, and after he copies it completely, he places Alic's scroll back in the cabinet.

During the hour or so ride to Bothwell Castle, Alic's mind races with thoughts of the Grale and the powers it may possess in the hands of the right person. Does he tell the Earl? Or does he give the scroll to the winner of the match? Well, at this moment it would not be possible to give the scroll to the Earl, for it is safe back in his shop.

After careful mental debate, which Alic always thought to be the best way to pass time while alone, he decides on a plan as Isabel clears a rise in the road and Bothwell Castle comes into view. He will draft a simple document at the Castle for the Earl.

At Alic's shop, Toshi puts the finishing touches on his puzzle box. The top of it is inlaid with fine pieces of pearl shell cut into Japanese characters. He uses the shells he collected from the shores of Arstruther, just south of St Andrews on eastern side of Scotland. With selection of materials being scarce, he is only able to use half of the 46 Japanese characters involving the riddle that will open the box. This riddle, he thinks, will challenge the most sophisticated mind.

'To rule with a sword that has no blade.’

Toshi places the scroll in the box and then carefully slides the lid that contains the unlocking mechanism. The lid holds twenty-three characters in three rows of eight, thus leaving one empty space to move the five characters needed in the proper place that will open the box. With the lid seamlessly in place, he slides a wooden rod, half the size of a shaft of an arrow, from one side of the box to the other. He knows when the rod is in place, feeling the tension of a small coil of steel. A clicking sound as light as a whisper provided by a notch in the rod confirms the two pieces are locked together.

His breathing returns to normal as he mixes tree sap with the slightest amount of whisky to thin it. With a small cut of straw dipped in hot wax, he quickly touches the finished side, a around piece of pearl shell. He allows the wax to cool, carefully turning it over. With the tip of a quill, he takes a drop of the whisky sap mixture and lightly touches the shell before placing it over the rod.

With his hand smooth and steady, he waits for the whisky sap to harden, wondering why Alic left the scroll instead of take it with him. Using a small knife that has been warmed by the stone of the furnace, he touches it to the wax and melts away the straw.

Toshi’s thoughts continue: ‘We have worked many trophies in the past, and each time Alic has written a scroll to commemorate its creation. This time though is most certainly something different.

Lit by the midday sun shining through rafters of the ceiling, the pearl shell gleams, casting colors upon Toshi's face. To the naked eye, the box appears to have no top and no bottom. Only the twenty-three characters set perfectly in balance and harmony crest the top with the Grale's inscription. 'To rule with a Sword that has no Blade.’

Toshi takes a finely rubbed cloth and wraps the puzzle box, lightly binding it with leather straps. Again, he wraps the box with cloth and leather, placing it into a larger box lined with wood shavings ready for the journey home.

Alic flips the reins to the left, coaxing Isabel through the stone pillars that mark the entrance to Bothwell Castle. As he draws closer, his heart begins to pound, fearful the Earl will be able to see through his deception. The wheels of the wagon clack against the steel strapped wooden bridge that crosses the mote. Reaching the Castle gate, he is stopped by the Earl's guards.

"I carry a special delivery for the Earl," Alic says.

One of the guards looks in the back of the wagon to see a single wooden box. He nods to the other guard to let Alic pass. Isabel pulls the wagon from the shadows of the Castle gate as guards watch high upon the ramparts. Isabel is stopped once more by two guards at the steps that lead to the great hall where the Earl awaits Alic's arrival.

Stepping down from the wagon, Alic retrieves the box as a guard at the top of the steps pulls a rope that rings a bell, signaling the inner guards to open the doors to the great hall. Alic enters and walks across the stone floor with the box held in front of him. The Earl sits in his tall wooden chair padded with sheep's wool and the finest deer skin.

Alic stops when he reaches a table in front the Earl, and he places the box on it as the Earl steps down from his chair.

"Are you happy with it, silversmith?"

Alic bows and then nods.

"Aye, I am my Lord."

The Earl places both hands on the box.

"I will be the judge of that."

"Yes, my Lord."

The Earl slowly lifts the lid, and a glow illuminates his kilt before finally resting upon his face.

"Aye, well done MacCrey, here is your fee."

A servant steps in from the side holding a tray with a pouch of silver, and Alic removes the bag. The Earl, still gazing into the box, lifts his right hand and acknowledges his receipt of the coins.

"Yes, yes," the Earl says.

"My Lord, in my haste, I was unable to complete the
Trophy's description".

Alic is then led by two guards down a hallway to a small room where he finds a writing desk with quill, ink and parchment.

With the door open and two men standing guard, Alic spends the next hour composing a scroll for the Earl. He chooses his words carefully as not to reveal the unexplainable transformation of the Grale. When he is finished he sprinkles the scroll with stone that has been finely ground, allowing the ink to dry quicker. He sweeps away the unused grains of stone, leaving the scroll upon the table. Stepping through the open door, the guards escort Alic to his wagon.

As Alic guides Isabel through the arched stone gateway with the weight of silver that lies light in his pocket, He is satisfied by having not divulged the true nature of the Grale in the Earl's scroll. Crossing the stream that lies north of Bothwell Castle, the conflict in his heart is washed away by the afternoon light and blue sky. He whistles a Gallic tune to rhythmic beat of Isabel's huffs as they make their way home.

Back at Bothwell Castle, the Earl's confidence swells. In a trance-like state, he is captivated by the sure brilliance of what lay in the box before him. Suddenly, the sound of the brushed bronze knocker on his chamber door breaks the spell cast upon him by the shiny object.

"Aye, what is it!"

"The silversmith has finished and is gone my lord."

The Earl lowers the lid of the box. "Enter."

A guard pushes open the heavy door, bows and hands the scroll to the Earl before turning and closing the door behind him. With the Grale in one hand and his scroll in the other, more now than ever he feels victory will soon be his in the days to come.

Morning dew cascades down the long blades of grass that grow along the mote of the King’s Castle. The sun climbs, warming the stone wall that holds the stained glass window of King James’s personal chambers. He awakens from a restful night of dreams of what has been and of what has yet to come. He stretches his arms and then his legs, pushing himself off the high posted bed and resting his feet onto a sheepskin rug.

Taking his chamber robe that lay at the end of the bed, he places it across his shoulders and steps to the window, looking out upon the land he loves, Scotland.

Standing still, a thousand thoughts race through his mind, for it is the day of the match. He has had many victories on the field of battle, though today may not be one.  After all, the Earl has studied the game for three years longer than he. Moving away from the window, he enters his cloak room where all types of shirts, vest, cloaks, robes and coats hang on brass hooks. His pants hang folded in half on brass rods at one end of the room along with three types of kilts — ceremonial kilts, clan kilts and a battle kilts. At the other side of the room, set high in the wall, is a five foot round window.

With the early morning light, the area closest to the outer wall is dark enough that he retrieves a section of straw by the fireplace in his sleeping chambers. Holding it to the glowing coals of the fire, it burst into a flame. He quickly protects the flickering light with his other hand. Entering the cloak room, the King lights two of twenty four candles set upon large silver holders that decorate the room.

Now, having the right amount of light, he selects the perfect shirt for the day. On his way to choose a kilt, he grabs a smooth finished leather vest with silver buttons, a new trend from the current toggles. Hanging before him are his many kilts, thinking. If the day is to be won, he thinks, it will be a battle, and so he selects appropriately.

Placing his attire for the day on a table in the middle of the cloak room, he returns to the main chamber room where he kneels down and takes a combination of straw and wood chips and places it in the center of the fireplace. Like before, he goes to his sleeping chamber, lighting a piece of straw and carrying it back to the main chambers fireplace.

Starting a fire for some at his level of royalty would be considered a servant’s task, because with just a pull of a single rope the Castle would be at his chamber door. However, the King is a man’s man. He continues the battle for a free Scotland, where free Scots can forge their lives by their own hands. Getting to his feet, he stretches, arms out, turning his shoulders from side to side. The benefits of being King cannot be denied as he walks to an area near his chamber door where three ropes hang.

The rope on the right, its fine yarned tassel has been dyed red, summons the guards. The middle rope goes to the kitchen, and it’s dyed green. The third rope is blue for the maid. Pulling it twice at this time in the morning can only mean one thing — it’s time for a hot bath.

At Bothewll Castle the servants perform their morning duties as the Earl sits, enjoying his morning meal with the Grale close by. Placing knife and fork on his plate, a servant standing to the side removes it as another sets a tray containing a jug of hot herb mixed with cider. Pushing his chair away from the table and taking the jug with him, he grabs the box containing the Grale and makes his way to the armory.

Walking the halls of Bothwell Castle, he sips his cider with the feeling that insurance may be needed to win the day. Reaching the armory, he pushes the door open with his shoulder without spilling a drop of cider. Sitting in a chair with his feet propped up on the back of another, the Earl's head swordsmen Klaus Kergun sharpens a dagger.

Klaus gets to his feet quickly when the Earl enters, standing perfectly still as the Earl sets the box on a table.

"At ease, Kergun."

The Earl steps over to Klaus, holding his cider in one hand and placing the other on Klaus’s shoulder.

"Today is the day the balance of power changes hands."

Klaus responds with a sinister grin.

"Aye, my Lord."

 

 


                                                                                   Second Chapter

Across the Scottish moors, King James makes his final preparations for the match when he hears a knock upon his chamber door.

"Aye."

"It is I, William my Lord."

"Enter," replies the King.

William, in light battle dress, steps into the King's chamber.

Turning his head, the King say, "Today is the day, may the Lord bless us with victory."

The two smile lightly at one another and nod.

The King helps one of his footmen in the stables attach a long leather bag to a special rack that sets in place of a saddle. A five foot plank of wood at the top of the rack sits on its edge with holes representing each hole played. As the King tends to his horse, William, claymore strapped to his back, mounts his horse and nods to the King before riding off with his men.

The King too mounts his horse and, with his footman and clubs in tow, rides to the area where the match is to take place.

The King emerges from the trees and sees the Earl standing in the clearing with his footman at his side. Dismounting, the King tugs on his vest to straighten out the riding lines.,

The King turns and says, "Aye Sir Hepburn. Who goes first?"

The Earl lifts his chin slightly.

"Aye, axes?"

King James nods, "Aye, axes."


The two footmen run to their respective lord's horses and return with the axes. The King and Earl turn
facing a fallen tree with its core clearly exposed. The Earl lowers his arms and bows his head, giving the
King first throw. As the King prepares to throw, William and his swordsmen set deep in the woods on horseback. The king wets his thumb and slides it across the blade of the axe. Holding the sharpened steel out in front of him, he takes aim. The King pulls his arm back and then swiftly thrusts it forward in a mighty throw. The axe cuts through the air and strikes just off center.

The Earl approves. "Fine throw my lord!"

The Earl steps forward, takes aim and throws. The axe spins through the air and skips off the King's axe, hitting the outer edge. The King grins slightly.

"Aye. A fine throw!"

The Earl's eyes turn in the King's direction with an unsavory glare. The two men move to the first hitting area. The King takes a club from his footman and a ball from his kilt pouch. He clips at the ground with his club to make a perch for his ball.

"Show me what you've got, Sir James," says the Earl.

King James replies, "Alternant shot, first one in wins?"

"Aye."


The King takes a wide swing sending the ball about fifty yards, and then he strikes his club lightly to the ground in frustration. The Earl responds with a grin.

"Aye. Great shot my Lord."

The Earl places his ball and takes his swing, hitting the ball fifty yards past the King's.

The Earl looks over at the King with a grin.

"That's how it's done," he says through his smirk.

As the two men walk to their balls, the Earl's head swordsman, Klaus, lies waiting in the woods with his men.
Likewise, William and his men are across the field of battle, keeping pace with the match.

Both men hit their balls to the landing area, but the King plays first, as his ball is furthest from the hole. Swinging the mallet gently, he sends the ball rolling to the hole and watches it slow, stopping on the edge.

The Earl stands over his ball, hitting it with such ease that it rolls gently into the hole. His footman removes a small flag from a leather bag, and places it into the first hole in the rack on the back of the horse.

The Earl lifts his ball from the hole. He turns, tosses it in the air, and catches it, as he looks over at the King.

"Aye. It be like that, and only seventeen more to go," the Earl said with a smile before turning and walking away.

The King picks up his ball with a scowl. He tosses his club to his footman and follows the Earl to the next hitting area.


Back at Alic's shop, he sit once again at his drawing table and reads over the Grale scroll. Adding the final touches, his words fall form his quill like honey from the golf gods themselves.

'To whom that holds it, who is pure of heart, will rule
Righteously as with a sword, that has no blade.'

He dries the ink, shakes away the unused grains and places it on a table in the open to dry.

Toshi has taken Isabel to town for supplies. Dust rises from the steady pace of Isabel's huffs as she pulls Toshi into the seaside village of Arbroath. After supplies have been collected, he makes his way for the harbor. The same harbor where he first touched Scottish soil.

After Wrapping the reins around the railing, he steps down from the wagon. He removes the tightly bound bundle and carries it to the desk of the harbor master. Greeting Toshi with a smile, he remembers the first time he laid eyes on the light footed man from the orient. Toshi places his package on the counter and shows the harbor master the port of destination and name of the village. After the information is transferred for shipping, his package is tagged and placed aboard a tall ship bound for lands west.

Across the open water of 'futh of forth bay,' the King and Earl are on the tenth hole. With the Earl having honors, he places his ball. Beaming with confidence, he takes a large swing and sends the ball left into the woods. It strikes one of his swordsmen’s horses in the ass, throwing the rider to the ground. The Earl acts as if nothing happened.

The king's footman giggles, but he stops as the Earl turns his way. The King steps up to place his ball saying.

"Aye. If it be like that, it be a long day.”

Placing his hands closer together on the club, he takes a smooth full swing and strikes the ball perfectly. It lands two hundred yards out. A smile come to the King's face as he turns to see the Earl stomping off to the woods.

When the Earl reaches the woods he finds his swordsman standing next to his horse with the ball at his feet.

"What are you doing here?" the Earl says to him.

"It was your orders sire," the swordsman replies.

The Earl pokes the swordsmen in the ribs with his club.

"Aye, but not where I'm hitting the ball."

The King looks over at the Earl, shaking his head as he watches the Earl's swordsman saddle up and move up the course. The Earl stands over his ball that lies on the edge of a pile of horse manure. He closes his eyes slightly and tilts his head away from the ball as he swings.


Striking the ball sends a spray of manure out past the tree line and leaves his ball behind the King's. His third
shot comes up short of the landing area.

"Give me the mashie," the King says to his footman.

The King addresses the ball and knocks it eight feet from the hole.

"The gods smile upon you today, my Lord,” the footman says.
"Aye, that may be true," He replies.

The weather has changed dramatically going from sunny skies to a gray haze.

The King makes his putt and takes the hole. They trade off winning holes until they reach the last hole. The Earl is up by one. The Earl, having honors, places his ball and looks to the hole.

"Aye… Sir Patrick," the King says.

Ready to strike his ball, the Earl's face turns from a look of focus to a cold stair.

The King continues.

"If I take the hole it’s a tie. No winner!"

The Earl turns from his ball.

"Aye. I don't see that happening." He smiles then turns back to his ball.

"But is that a chance you’re willing to take?" the King adds.

The Earl turns his eyes from the ball and steps towards the King..

"The first one in wins. Agreed, Sir James?" the Earl says with a grin.

The way in which the Earl addressed the King was inappropriate, but the King holds his composure knowing he has gotten into the Earl's head.

"Aye. Agreed".


The Earl steps back to his ball, hitting it more than a hundred and fifty yards. The King places his ball, steps back, checks his grip, places his hands closer together, and looks down the long stretch of grass to the hole.

Heavy clouds darken the sky as the King makes a beautiful swing sending the ball past the Earl's by fifty yards. The two men and their footmen walk off the hitting area. They’re followed by a Monk who has been keeping a record of the match. Klaus and his men emerge from the tree line, some distance behind the monk. When the Earl reaches his ball, it lies in a clump of thick grass.

He turns to his footman and say, "Get me the Racker."

His footman goes to the horse and pulls the club from the leather bag and returns. With the King standing close by, he asks.

"Aye, Sir Patrick. Why do you call it the Racker?" the King asks.

The Earl takes his club from the footman.

"Aye 'Cuz I racker things with it!"

The King smiles back at the Earl with a tilt of his head.

The Earl take his swing, lifting the ball high into the air. A large chunk of grass is dislodged from the earth, and the club snaps in two. The Earl throws what is left in his hands at his footman, who ducks just in time.

The King has started walking to his ball when he sees where the Earl's has landed

"Aye. A fine shot my lord."

His comment is intended to be more of an insult than a compliment.

The sky grows heavier with clouds as the King makes his way to his ball. The distant sound of thunder can be heard as a light rain begins to fall. He now stands over his ball, then turns to his footmen saying.

"Bring me the Troonr," the King says to his footman.

"Aye, my lord."

He runs to the horse and returns with a smile. The King smiles and accepts the club, but his smile quickly fades as he turns to address the ball. Looking to the landing area and then back to the ball, he takes his swing. A great crack of thunder is heard as the club strikes the ball, and it startles the horses.

His ball lands some thirty feet from the hole, while the Earl's next shot lands a foot past the hole. With the King some twenty yards behind him, the Earl quickly gets to his ball and taps it in. The Earl removes the ball from the hole in celebration.

"Victory!"

At this moment the Monk who has been fallowing the match steps forward a and removes his hood in the heavy drizzle. By this time Sir William has dismounted and stands green side as does his counterpart.

"Nay,” the Monk announces. “By all rights the King has
the honors!"

Standing next to the Earl is his head swordsman Klaus who reaches for his blade. The Earl quickly lays a hand upon Klaus.

"Not here," he whispers.

"The King has the field," the Earl says calmly with a slight bow.

The King nods and to his footman says.

"Bring me the Cleek."

Sir William watches the Earl and his companion while the footman retrieves the King's club. As the Earl looks on, the King stands over his ball. All eyes are upon him as swords lie ready to be unsheathed. The king looks down the leather wrapped wooden shaft of his club and then to the hole. He pulls the club back and through, sending the ball on its way with a tail of water trailing behind it.

The Monk has his hands folded in front of him and prays that cooler heads prevail. The ball turns towards the hole and it slows coming to a stop on the edge. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strike the ground on the edge of the green between the Earl and the King's men, the ball drops into the hole.

"For the Lord our God, has chosen his victor," the Monk exclaims.

As the Earl watches the King's men celebrate their Lord's victory, a sinister plan begins to form in his mind.

The King walks towards the Earl with William at his side.

"A fine match played, Lord Bothwell," says the King.

The Earl takes the Kings hand.

"Aye, indeed. Please join me tomorrow, my Lord, so we may
celebrate your victory in the great hall of Bothwell Castle
properly, out of this ungodly weather."

With silence followed by a smile, the King nods.

"Aye. It would be my honor."

The Earl and the King step away as William continues to stare into the eyes of Klaus Kergun.

Klaus leans towards William and says, "Be careful my friend."

"Careful? Careful is for nuns and small children,"

Placing his hand on the sword that lies at his side, he adds,  "My friend."

The two men then part ways.

With the Monks scapula heavy upon his shoulders from the rain, he draws his hood over his head as the King and William mount their horse. He watches them ride across the open land to the Castle. The Monk and the King's footman take shelter on the tree lined road that leads to the Castle.

Water fills a creek as it twist and turns passed Alic's Shop. Inside he juggles buckets and pots anticipating
the elusive rain that dances across the rafters of the shingled roof. When he finally has the drops of rain corralled, Toshi enters through the back door after placing Isabel in the barn.

He tells Alic that on the way back from picking up supplies a Monk was on the road who said something about, “the Lord our God has chosen his victor.”

"Did the Monk say who the victor was?" Alic asks

Toshi shrugs his shoulders. Alic paces the rain spotted floor for a moment while Toshi goes back to the barn and returns with the rest of the supplies. Alic asks one last question.

”Which way was the Monk headed?“

Toshi with his arms full, tucks what lies in his right arm under his chin and points towards the Castle of King James.

The next morning the King rises to a day not unlike any other day, but this day he feels different. His awareness is keener than ever before as he looks out over the lands of the Castle and beyond. From the results of yesterday’s match, he has retained lands, titles and possibly much more — the throne itself.

Brushing these thoughts aside, he begins preparing for the celebration at the Earl's castle later that day, and he hears a knock at his chamber door.

"Aye."

"It is me my lord."

"Enter."

William enters as servants assist the King with his attire.

"What of your thoughts of yesterday?" the King asks William.

"If it weren't for a bolt of lightening from the heavens,
it may well have been bloody".

The King sends the servants to retrieve his clock.

"Aye, that be the truth. The Earl is one not to let go
easily".

William steps forward.

"Aye sire. That being said, attending tonight's celebration may be a trap."

"I am sure of it,” the King replies.

William steps back as the servants return with the King's clock, frustrated with the Kings easiness.

"Then why attend, my Lord?”

The servants place the cloak on the King's shoulders.

"When facing an opponent, whether in battle or in commerce, you must never blink, for in that moment all could be lost."

The sound of Hoff's travels across the Scottish moors as the King and William followed by eight swordsmen on horseback ride to Bothwell Castle.

The Earl leaves his chambers of Bothwell Castle making his way through the long hallways and down spiral steps. He removes a lit torch half way down to the dampest dark levels of the Castle.

The sounds of the torch’s rippling flame are drowned by steel upon steel as he nears the end of the hall. Pulling the through bolt and pushing the door open, he finds Klaus sparring with a dark haired beauty. Her moves are quick and precise, catching every advance Klaus uses until their swords cross, bringing them inches from each other.

Looking into the deep brown eyes of the black haired beauty, Klaus steals a kiss. She responses with a smile. Quickly raising her right leg, she thrusts it into Klaus's chest and knocks him to the ground. With the same speed and agility, she spins, drops to one knee and holds her sword and dagger in a cross.

Klaus catches his breath, lying on his back.

"Aye, the will of a man, the cunning of a lion, if only your brother was more like you, my Joanna," says the Earl.

Joanna stands, sheathing her sword and dagger. She steps forward and lends a hand to Klaus, pulling him to his feet.

"Father, he is doing what you have asked of him."

The Earl turns to Klaus, "Leave us."

Klaus bows before the Earl and then exits the room. The Earl moves to a rack of armaments, taking his finger sliding it down the blade of a sword.

"Aye lass, he is. But it takes more than the study of books and scrolls to rule a kingdom."

Turning, he finds the young, clear eyes of his daughter, Joanna. He steps forward and holds her firmly by the shoulders.

"Today is a day of greatness; today is your day."

Joanna responds with a smile of proud innocence.

As father and daughter share a moment, the tower bells begin to ring. Resonating through the halls and washing into the lower levels of the Castle, the sound grabs the attention of the Earl. Placing a kiss on Joanna's cheek, he heads to the great hall to greet his guest.

The sun sets high in the sky as King James along with Sir William and his men dismount. An uneasy feeling rises in William as his eyes scan the guard placements on the walls and the courtyard below noticing the lack of it, as they enter the great hall. The Earl makes it just in time to hear his court herald.

"My Lord, King James the IV of Scotland."

As before, King James and the Earl are seated at the head table, but this time word of the match has traveled far. Many Royals and Nobles have attended the celebration. William and his men sit near the entrance of the great hall.

The great hall is great indeed, for the Earl has spared no expense in two year renovation in preparation of a day such as this. The hall boasts a twelve foot high outer stone wall with small windows near the top. Supporting wood rafters connect a larger ninety foot main beam that stretches from the tall entrance doors to the massive fireplace. The inner wall is structured with archways that open up into the main level of the Castle.

Some of the finest craftsman in Scotland were commissioned to complete the Earl's vision. Most astounding, three round silver trimmed wooden framed chandeliers hold five rows of candles. Hanging above each chandelier is a large round disc of polished steel adding reflected light into the room. The large doors that swing into the great hall were cut from two trees that had grown side by side in the black forest of England.

The decorations are simple but striking. Large greenery twisted like rope hangs from the chandeliers just feet above the guest. Like an archers bow, they reach the outer and inner walls. Massive wreaths pined with fresh fruit hang centered on torches placed throughout the great hall.

A light chatter resonates through the great hall created by the guests who are seated at long tables in a horseshoe like manner, for no one can be seated with their back to the King. The chatter quickly fades as Sir Patrick Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, stands filling his goblet then the King's. This is looked upon by attending royals as insulting, if not poor etiquette.

The King stands and lifts his goblet, as do his men who are at the back of the room.

"Too all that are here, and too those who have come and gone," the King exclaims.

Lifting his goblet higher, he adds, "Too Scotland!"

All in the great hall respond, "Here, here!" and drink.

The Earl strikes his staff to the floor.

"Let the entertainment begin," the Earl announces.

Musicians enter from the side, making their way to the center of the room followed by female dancers. Large trays are carried in, filled with haggis and fresh game. The largest two trays are placed at the head table.

In the midst of the celebration, William watches as Klaus backs into an archway disappearing in the dark. William’s curiosity grows in the moments that pass. He makes his way through the guests as they mingle and discuss the topics of the day. Sipping his ale, William draws closer to Klaus's shadow. He sees Klaus with someone slightly shorter and slim in the shoulders wearing a hood.

Klaus and the mystery person part ways as William quickly steps back into the light of the great hall. He watches Klaus reenter the celebration near the head table. With his eyes locked upon the man in black, he sees him nod to the Earl who responds with a light wave of his hand.

William turns, moving back to his seat with eyes engaging every corner of the great hall, ready for the unexpected. After sometime, the Earl stands with the staff of Bothwell in hand, striking the ground twice. This echoes through the great hall as the music stops. The musicians and dancers clear the center of the great hall, and two of the Earl's guards carry in a large chest.

At this moment more than any other, all eyes are upon the Earl. For the royals in attendance, it is important that he makes this look good for his plan to succeed.

The two guards place the chest on the table in front of the King, the Earl removes the scroll from his cloak handing it to the King who sets it down next to the chest. William stands followed by his men who pound their fists on the table most spiritedly in acknowledgement of their Kings victory on the field of battle. The Earl’s men rise slowly, joining in less enthusiastically.

The King lifts the lid of the chest, and sees a finely finished wooden box inside. As the King lifts the lid of box the chest begins to fill with light. The Earl looks over to see a reaction that surprises him, as King James quickly and calmly closes the lid to the box. He picks up the scroll from the table and removes the box from the chest.


Placing it under his arm, he turns, bowing to the Earl and then the guests, an unusual act by a King. A great believer in the words of the Holy Book, one phrase comes to mind as he steps down from the head table.

'Walk unafraid with a humble heart.'

But not to forget to carry a large sword is always understood, as William and his men follow the King through the large doors of the great hall.

The King pauses for a moment, standing by his horse, before handing the box to William so he can tie it to the Kings saddle. Guards carry a wooden platform and place it next to the King's horse so he may mount more easily dressed in his royal attire. In the saddle, the King pulls back on the reins, turning Apollo's head towards the gate and home.

The King and his men ride hard towards the setting sun as the shadows of evening chase the light of day across the sky. They slow their horses entering the forest. Overhead, the branches weave a web reveling stars to the east as William moves up next the King saying.

"Aye, that was not what I expected".

The King looking at William and smiles. "Aye"

 Suddenly an arrow strikes William in the right shoulder from the trees, taking him off his horse. Masked horsemen ride into the King's men with swords drawn.

"Ambush! Protect the King," William yells as he gets to his feet.

William, arrow protruding from his shoulder, draws his sword with his left hand deflecting strikes from masked assailants. The King dismounts and joins his men in the fight. The sound of steel and horses fill the air as William becomes engaged with one of the masked swordsmen. They cross steel close enough for William to see the dark captivating eyes of his opponent.

With cat-like reflexes, the masked assailant breaks the arrow from William's shoulder, then raises a leather boot to his chest, kicking him to the ground.

In that same motion, the slender assailant spins and cuts the ropes holding the box tied to the King's horse, catching it before it hits the ground.

Out of the corner of his eye, the King sees William fall. Deflecting several thrust of steel, he makes his way to William. As the masked one with the box mounts a horse followed by the others, they all ride off into the dark. With help from his men, William gets to his feet.

"I'm sorry my Lord, your prize is gone," he says.

Placing a hand on William's shoulder he replies.

"Aye, but not to worry lad. Is anyone else injured?" he asks.

"Nay Sire."

"Nothing more than a scrimmage it seems." the King responds.

William is assisted to his horse as the King adds, "Let’s be off before any more ill fate befalls us."

With their senses sharp by the engagement, they mount up and continue the ride home.

A lone rider crosses the Scottish countryside at a fast gallop with help of a rising moon. The horse breaths heavily as the rider holds the box in one hand and the reins in the other, Leaping over fallen trees and clear streams to find the shortest path to Bothwell castle.

 

 

 
                                                                             Third Chapter


The sound of huffs resonate in the courtyard as the rider dismounts with the box and enters an empty great hall where only the Earl awaits the spoils of his plan.

The King, now in his chambers, tosses his clock from his shoulders across the table. This movement causes him to hold his side with one hand and steady himself on the table with the other.

The echoing heels of the masked raider carry through the great hall as the box is placed on the table where it sat just hours before.

By candle light, King James reaches into his vest pocket as the Earl places his hands upon the box, feeling the sensation of victory once again, fills his veins.

As the Earl begins to lift the lid of the box, King James removes an object from his vest pocket that illuminates his chambers. In this moment, the Earl discovers the box is empty.

King James carefully lowers himself in a chair near the fireplace of his sleeping chambers, realizing for the first time he had been wounded during the ambush. In his hand is the likes of something he has never seen before. Its brilliance casts him into a sleepy day dream where words are spoken but from who he cannot see. The power of the voice rolls like waves of an ocean crashing suddenly with a knock on his chamber door.


Inconsolable by his daughters hand Joanna, the Earl sits silently contemplating the possible actions the King may take. He begins to quill a decree vowing to his successors to regain the Grale at any cost, within the rules of engagement. He pledges to bring honor back to the house of Bothwell.

 

 King James turns his head to see the chamber door swing open as a man in strange clothing and an odd looking hat gestures to the King to follow him, then disappears. Feeling no effects of his injury, he walks to the door and removes a torch on the wall before entering the dark hallway. Walking with the torch held out in front of him, a shadow of a man begins to form in the distance cast by a light brighter than the torch he holds. A gentle wind begins to move the flames of his torch as the light becomes brighter. Shielding his eyes, a voice speaks to him.

"You know what has been."

With the wind becoming stronger, King James continues to move forward, following the shadowy figure as the flames of the torch whip wildly.

"Who are you?" the King asks.

The shadow stops as does the King. As the shadow turns towards him it becomes larger, twice the size of any man the King as ever seen. Still the King holds his ground as the shadow spreads its arms and speaks in a booming voice.

"I am the Spirit of the game!"

At that moment everything goes black, no sound, no wind, only the light of the torch he holds as his eyes adjust to the emptiness. In the distance a small light appears, blinking his eye's he moves towards it with the torch held firmly leading the way. The light grows larger and becomes a type of looking glass. Holding the torch to the side as not to cause a reflection, he sees a thick mist blowing by this odd window, like a storm.

Peering through the window in an eerie silence, he hears the voice once again.

"You know what has been."

Out in the mist he sees shapes begin to form as the voice continues.

"I will show you what is yet to be."

 

Startled, the King steps back, for the view is vast, like from the eye of an eagle soaring high. Moving forward carefully as not to fall through, he sees men in unfamiliar clothing swinging clubs. Then the image is washed away like sand and replaced with another of a man holding a trophy of clear brilliance unlike anything he had ever seen before.

Mesmerized, the voice surprises him.

"The spirit of my game will travel to faraway lands."

More visions of men and women playing the game as he shakes his head.

"The game will envelop the world, and the world will come
Here to play the game," the voice adds.

Once again all goes black as King James closes his eyes for a moment; he then hears the voice once again.

"Open your eyes Sir James."

King James opens his eyes slowly, not feeling the weight of his feet upon the ground. He sees before him a large image of the Grale shinning ever so brightly. Like soft thunder the voice continues.

"Unto you, King James of Scotland holder of the Grale Who has seen the future. Hold true, for men will travel
great distances to possess it. They may prove to be victorious, but the Grale must remain in the land it was
cast from."

The Kings eyes grow heavy as the image of the Grale drifts in the darkness. A feeling of peace and warmth surrounding him is interrupted by a knocking sound and a voice like from across the foggy moors.

"My Lord, are you well?"

His body feels heavy, like thick mud. He pulls himself to consciousness, recognizing the voice of his chamber maid Heather. He finally opens his eyes to the morning light of a new day. He realizes he had fallen asleep in the in front of the fire still holding the Grale in his hand. He places it on the hearth of the fireplace. The pounding of his chamber door continues by Heather and now Sir William.

"Aye! Aye! I'm awake!" the King says.

The noise stops as he makes his way to the door favoring his right side.

Across the Scottish land, Joanna sits in her sleeping chambers as thoughts of the past evening’s events boil in her mind. She stands dressed in her morning cloak and starts to pace the floor.

'I was just following orders. No harm was to come to anyone, who released the arrow striking William' she thinks.

She didn’t know who her prey was.

In the chaos, it was impossible to keep track of the others in the raid. Rage followed by shame, then fear for her father’s misguided attempt to acquire more land and power. She decides to go see the King asking for his forgiveness.

After making her decision, she fills two pales of spring water from a large barrel in the corner of her sleeping chamber. She then hangs them over the fire to warm for her bath. Next, she must choose the appropriate attire to wear. She opens the doors of a large, finely finished wood cabinet that her father had made for her while in France. It is called an 'Armoire' she remembers.

With the doors open she finds two pairs of shoes, two dresses and her battle wear. She is just a simple girl.

King James sits on a stool as his wounds are bound by the royal physicians.

"My Lord, we must track down these night assassins," William pleads.

Sir James winces as the physicians tighten the last wrap.

"Aye, and where would we start?"

"With Sir Hepburn of course!" William replies.

 

King James stands slowly as chamber maids place a morning robe over his shoulders.

"There is no direct connection that I see," the King reasons.

"I see, I see the dark eyes of a she devil," William says intently.

The King now rests in a large chair by the fire, breathing slowly.

"Aye, and who might that be, Sir William?"

"Lord Bothwell's daughter," he mutters.

"Aye," the King chuckles. "A fine lass in a dress and
quick wit, if I remember."

"Even quicker with steel, my Lord."

William moves closer to the fireplace as the King looks up at him.

"You, bested by a woman," the King says spryly.

The King sees the gazing look of revenge similar to a scorned lover on William's face. He reaches inside his morning cloak to hold his wound,

"All will heal in good time my friend, no real damage Done. Only my side and your pride," the King adds.

"My Pride!" William quickly replies.

King James raises his hand, stopping William from further rage.

"What is done, is done. For whoever is responsible, they
gained nothing and bare a great burden."

He takes a slow easy breath, looking back to the fire controlling the pain to his side by pausing for a moment in silence. Just the sounds of the fire fill the air as William's passion for retribution possesses his thoughts.

"What will keep them from trying again my Lord, not having
what they seek?" William asks.

"What they seek cannot be measured by anything in this
World."

A puzzled look crosses William's face as the King looks up.

"No matter, it's all in the hands of the gods," he adds with a slight smile and a wink.

"Your secret is safe with me. If it is the dark eyed Beauty that has wounded your heart, as well as your
pride."


Stepping from the tepid water of her bath, Joanna wraps herself in a sheep's wool robe. She dips small piece of cloth into the bath and removes the remains of charcoal around her eyes. Thoughts of Sir William race through her mind as she stands by the fire to warm her feet.

In that moment when they had locked eyes, her hesitation, if one second more, would have given him the upper hand and her fate, as well as her family’s, would have been sealed forever.

Her heart beats like the drums of a battle march as she takes a deep breath, the fire pops, spitting out a hot ember on to her foot.

"Ahoo!"

Quickly flicking it back into the fire, hopping on one foot she makes her way to a chair. Taking the back side of the damp cloth she presses it against her foot. She is no stranger to pain, and it will take all the strength of her soul to see her through this day.


William leaves the King's chambers and heads for the stables to check on his horse’s injuries. He hears the sound of huffs on the cobble stone courtyard while tending to his horse. Stepping back out of the stall he catches a glimpse of a woman rider, side saddle. He moves quickly to the entrance of the stable to see her dismount and enter the Castle.

"Shit," He mumbles.

King James sits at his writing desk with Quill in hand. He begins to put to parchment what the spirit of his dream requested of him when he hears the rams horn from the Castle wall, signaling someone's arrival. Lifting the top of the desk, he places the document inside and then makes his way to the reception hall.

Sir William enters the reception hall from a side door that opens to a narrow hallway. From the shadows, he sees Joanna asking the court councilor for an audience with the King. William watches as the court councilor nods and turns, followed by the dark eyed beauty. Walking ever so softly as not to be detected. He pauses for a moment behind each column that divides the dark hallway from the main hall.

King James, now seated on the throne of Scotland, watches as his court councilor presents Joanna.

"Sire, the Duchess of Bothwell."

Joanna bows as the King nods slightly.

"Yes Duchess, what is on your mind?"

Looking in her eyes he sees strength and honor as she answers.

"My Lord, the house of Bothwell has heard of a unfortunate incident was purported upon you and your
men."

The King listens to what the young Duchess has to say and more so what she is not saying. He replies softly, knowing this is a time for diplomacy.

"Aye, but I am not sure I understand."


"But William! He was," Joanna responds quickly.

She stops at the sight of William stepping from the shadows with his shoulder bandaged as the King gestures with his hand.

"Oh Sir William, unfortunate? Nay, poor horsemanship I say," the King says, looking to William with a smile.

"A wild boar, is that right?"

Joanna eyes shift between the King and William, speechless, as William plays along with the King’s performance, restraining the urge to take the dark eyed beauty to the lists.

Joanna struggles with the ease in which the King is conducting himself.

"Aye my Lord," William says.

Then turns his eyes to Jo, a name from their youth she did not mind as he remembers adding.

"But something spooked the boar," he adds.

Joanna's heart rises to her throat; her eyes begin to soften in the direction of William.

"Duchess, did your father send you here?" the King asks.

"Nay my Lord, but regrets…"

King James interrupts her.

"He 'Regrets'?"

"He feels responsible," she continues.

The King stops her again.

"Responsible? How so?"

Her mind scrambles for a reply feeling a tightening trap of words as William rolls his fingers along the handle of his sword.

"Aye my Lord, if he would have sent an escort with you, then perhaps this may have been averted."

Feeling confident in her choice of words, this clearly shows on her face.

King James turns his head to William with a light chuckle and a smile.

"The Kings men need no escort."

The King looks back at Joanna.

"How can I hold your father responsible for what does not exist, or a wild boar for that matter."

Joanna feels the noose of words loosen around her neck, but puzzled by the words the King has chosen. King James
gestures to his court councilor and then addresses the Duchess.

"Tell Sir Hepburn his feelings and regrets are well felt here on the Throne of Scotland."

"Aye, I will my Lord."

She smiles and bows. As she rises, her eyes slide towards William who nods with a slight smile. Now with the court councilor by her side, she takes the folds of her dark green and blue dress, pulling them as she turns. With the stride of half Duchess- half warrior, she leaves the castle headed home.

Word of the ambush travels quickly, arriving at the door of Alic's shop by way of a local farmer delivering his goods. By his own eyes, he tells Alic of Sir William's injury and whispers of the King being wounded as well. Understanding that time is of the essence he must inform the King of the true nature of the Grale.

He removes the scroll from the cabinet and places it inside a leather bag, swinging it over his shoulder. Stepping out the back of the shop, he hooks Isabel to the cart and sets off for the King's Castle.

Joanna's arrival back at Bothwell Castle is relayed to
Sir Hepburn, where her departure was not. The Earl sees Joanna in the entry hall from atop the open staircase.

"Out for a morning ride I see?"

Her steps slow to a pause. "Yes, father."

"Aye, but a bit overdressed, aren't we?"

Looking down, holding the sides of her dress, she lifts it slightly.

"Aye, if one is too enjoy the beauty of the forest, one
mustn’t spoil it with steel and arrows."

She bows lightly and continues on her way.

The Earl is not completely convinced of his daughter’s sudden sense of oneness with nature. He returns to his study and summons Klaus to find out the true whereabouts of her ride. As he waits for word of Joanna's morning gallop, he finishes the House of Bothwell decree to regain possession of the Grale. His mind spins with thoughts of where his loyal Joanna may have went.

Now completely enthralled with the possible destination of her morning ride, he places the quill down. Standing with hands clasped behind his back, he begins to pace the floor. How long was she gone? Focusing on the first frame of reference, did she leave this morning? Or last night? In either case, how far could she ride and return by three quarter sun?

The list of towns and villages is long, and so he starts to eliminate possible destinations by her intentions. If she was out to shop for silk and fine cloth, then it would have been west to Coatbridge or Glasgow. No, for she had no packages. If she were looking for some new steel to wield, then it would have been south to Uddington or maybe Hamilton. No, for she was not dressed for that. She could have headed East, but there's nothing in Livingston but farmers and drunkards.

It must be north to Cumbernauld or Falkirk, His pulse begins to quicken as her destination becomes more clear.  Gazing out the window of his study that faces north and remembering he had only seen her wear that dress twice before — both times it involved a man. The unthinkable begins to manifest in his thoughts, knowing beyond Falkirk the road leads to the Castle of King James.

Hours pass as the Earl becomes enraged by his daughter’s betrayal. Klaus finally arrives with confirmation of Joanna's visit to the King's Castle. Staying as calm as possible, Lord Hepburn stands by the window with his back to the door when Klaus enters.

"My Lord, Joanna has been to the Castle of the King."

The Earl clinching his fist.

"What has she told them?"

"Nothing my Lord."

The Earl loosens his fingers placing them on the stone windowsill.

"Then why go?" Stepping forward Klaus replies.

"Possible my Lord, to find out what they know."

Taking his right hand, the Earl strokes his chin as he turns facing Klaus.

"Aye, the question is what do they know?"

"My informant reports that Joanna told the King you were not responsible for their misfortune on the road
last night."

The Earl turns back to the window to see the sun resting on the highlands.

"What of the Kings reply?"

Klaus clears his throat.

"He could not hold you responsible for what does not exist, and something about a wild boar?"

A slight smile emerges on the Earl's face remembering some years ago Sir James and he were hunting game when a wild boar charged them, leaving Sir James with leg wound and a boar dead from two of his arrows. As the sun sinks behind the lush green hills of the north, there will be a few more sunsets in his future, for now.

 

Alic arrives as the suns setting glow dances along the water that flows under the wooden drawbridge to the King's Castle. Pulling lightly on Isabel's reins, she comes to a stop in front of two guards.

"State your business"

"I must see the King," Alic responds.

"Its late silversmith, come back tomorrow, now be off."

Alic sees the only way he's getting in is be bold.

"I am responsible for the attack on the King and his men!"

Alic is quickly removed from his wagon and placed in a room with one small window set high in the wall out of reach.
As the door behind him closes he can hear the steel bolt slide into place sealing him in.

Sir William is on his way to join the King for dinner when he is told of the silversmith and his clam. Passing through the kitchen, the smell of sage and rosemary surrounds him as he enters the dining hall.

"Aye Sir William, you’re just in time. Friar John here is about to grace us with his latest batch of Scotch."

William slides out a chair from the table across from Friar John.

"Aye, Friar John never misses the mark with his brew."

Friar John cuts away the dark wax from the cork with a dagger he keeps under his cowl. Taking the dagger’s edge he slips it between the cork and bottle, prying the cork free. As Friar John begins to fill the three cups in front of him, William leans back in his chair rubbing his shoulder.

"It seems someone else feels gilt over last night’s Events," William says.

King James takes the silver cup that is handed to him by Friar John. He looks over to William.

"Aye, and who might that be?"

William picks up his cup that Friar John has slid in front of him. The three men hold their cups together as King James offers a toast.

"To those you are here, and those who have come and gone, To Scotland!"

William and Friar John reply, "Here, Here," and they drink.

After downing their rich and well-aged scotch, William replies to the King.

"A silversmith, my Lord."

As a large tray of food is placed on the table between the three men, King James reaches for a well roasted leg of lamb.

"Well, let’s hear what he has to say."

Sir William gestures to a guard standing nearby to retrieve the silversmith.

The room grows dark as the shaft of light from the small window begins to fade. Alic starts to question his approach in entering the castle. Suddenly, the sound of the steel bolt startles him as two guards step into the room. One holds a torch while the other grabs Alic by the arm and forces him into the hallway.

"The King will see you now," a guard says.

Alic enters the dining hall with the guards at his side, and they present him at the far end of the table. Friar John recognizes Alic; Alic requested him to bless the reconstruction of his furnace some five years ago.

"I know this man," the friar announces.

Alic smiles and nods to Friar John as William takes a sip from his cup.

"Well silversmith, what part do you have in all this?" William asks.

Alic bows and then addresses the King.

"My Lord, Sir Hepburn commissioned me to make a trophy
for…"

King James holds up his hand before Alic can utter another word and gestures to the guards.

"Leave us!"

When the guards are clear of the room King James gestures for Alic to come closer. Moving slowly, holding his leather bag tight, he stops near Sir William. As a close friend and advisor to the King on religious matters, Friar John remains.

"Aye, you were saying?" the Kings encourages.

The King looks into the eyes of the silversmith.

"The Earl asked me to make him a trophy for the match my
Lord, he said it was to be special."

"Just how special?"

"It’s better if I show you my Lord."

Before Alic can reach inside his leather bag Sir William has a Dagger drawn to his throat.

"Aye, no foolish moves old man."

Alic slowly places his hand inside the bag and removes the scroll, setting it on the table. Sir William withdraws his dagger and places it in his kilt, and he hands the King the scroll. Sir William places his left hand on Alic's shoulder and guides him into a chair at the table.

King James removes the red silk band around the Scroll.

The King's eyes reveal to Alic that the words of the scroll have a greater meaning then he had ever realized. A presence fills the dining hall as King James places the band over the scroll. Friar John fills their three cups, and King James takes the bottle pouring one more.

"Aye, MacCrey, join us in a toast."

King James slides the cup in front of Alic.

"Aye My Lord."

All lift their cups in a toast.

"To Scotland," the group proclaims.

As the years pass England continues to push into the lower parts of Scotland, offering the Nobles there more land and titles in support for the King of England. In 1508 the Earl dresses for battle in a last attempt to show his support for Scotland and its King. The loss of the Grale stains his soul but not his loyalty to his country — nor the man he stood as proxy for at his wedding in 1502 to Margaret Tudor, the Daughter of Henry VII, The King of England.

Strapping his blades to his armor he accepts his fate, for the future of the house of Bothwell does not lead to the Throne. Knowing full well any day in battle may be his last, he tightens his forearm guards as Klaus Kergun enters his chambers.

"The men are assembled my Lord and await your orders."

Sir Hepburn closes his eyes slowly takes a deep breath, his last in the rich red sandstone walls of Bothwell Castle.

At the Battle of Brinston, Lord Bothwell would fall, along with Klaus and two thirds of his men. King James watches
as his Scottish forces are soundly defeated. Returning north to the throne of Scotland, he finishes what he started, a document protecting the Grale for centuries to come.

The sedge of Scotland's southern boarders comes to a head on the same ground that took the life of Lord Bothwell. This would be known as the battle of Branxton, the last and largest between the two warring thrones which leaves Scotland free – less their King.

In the days following the battle, Sir William cleans out a chest in a room the King used in preparing for battle, and he finds a small wooden box. He removes it from the chest, places it on a table. Opening the lid to find a shiny metal object and a scroll.

Remembering a document the King had been writing, he rushes to the King's chambers. He ruffles through a few rolled parchments in a round basket in the corner before he finds the one he’s looking for. In the next few hours he realizes what must be done to unite the nobles of Scotland, not in war, but in a challenge of skill.

In remembrance of the King, every year a tournament is held in his honor, known as the 'Grale match.' The Grale is Presented to the winner, who vows to return the following year to defend his victory, but Grale remains in the castle. Three hundred years would pass before the Grale would be lost.

 


Time passes like waves crashing upon an endless shore, lifting a great white mist into the air. The age of the Grale has been forgotten, and this shore is of a new land. A land filled with the King's vision and the spirit of the game.

 

                                                                          Fourth Chapter

                                                                            Present Day

Two men stand waiting as a large crowd settles in anticipation of a voice that announces.

"The final round pairing in the 2015 AT&T Pro Am. From the United states welcome, Bob MacCray"

Bob nods to the applause from the gallery, and then addresses the ball, hitting it down the fairway 293 yards. Bob picks up his tee.

"From Japan, welcome Jay Chou," the starter announces.

Jay steps to his ball and makes a beautiful swing, sending his ball fifteen yards passed Bob's. Jay picks up his tee and heads straight down the fairway with Bob close behind.

"What a great swing" comments Jim Nantz the TV announcer.

Along with him is Johnny Miller, both are covering the tournament for NBC and the golf channel.

"A good ways passed MacCray's ball, we are in for a great final round today." Johnny adds.

Nantz addresses the viewers at home.

"Well here we are on the last day of the Pebble Beach Open. Our leaders just teeing off with MacCray two shots back.”

"Yesterday on the back nine, Bob turned it around Birdying 15, 16, and 17. We will see if he has any
of that magic left today" Says Johnny.

Bob plays the front nine five under and Jay shoots par. On the back nine, Jay birdies three holes with Bob bogeying three. Now they are on the eighteenth green as Nantz calls in David Feherty.

"This is what it comes down to, making this putt and pushing it to a playoff. What do you see David?"

"It looks to be about a 15 footer that Bob has, with a left to right break".

Bob stands over his ball and looks towards the hole. He takes the putter back and though the ball sending it on its way.

"It seems to have the line," David says.

Someone in the gallery yells, "Get in the hole!”

The ball rolls just past the hole.

A great sigh comes from the gallery as Bob brings his putter to his face and close his eyes.

"Oh' it had a chance, it just didn't turn at the end," Reports David.

Bob walks to his ball and taps it in, and then he shakes hands with Jay. Bob is being interviewed by David Feherty after exiting the scorer's tent.

"Bob, you looked good out there today, being up by three at the turn. What happened?"

"Well, you saw it. The way I played 15, 16 and 17 was not how I played them yesterday."


"That's golf" Bob adds with a smile.

Bob stands by his locker in the Pebble Beach Clubhouse; the smile from the interview is gone as he thinks of what may have been. If only the ball had went in.


                                                                    "FOUR MONTHS LATER"


Bob is at his home in Texas preparing for a remote Golf channel interview. Adjusting his ear piece as the camera crew makes final adjustments, when he hears the Host says.

"How are you doing today Bob?"

Bob adjust the ear piece again.

"Oh, just about right."

"You ready?" the host asks.

Bob nods as both men hear the producer’s countdown.

"5, 4, 3, 2,"

"Thank you for joining us today. We have a special guest with us from his home in Texas, Bob MacCray. How are you doing Bob?"

"Just fine, thanks for asking."

"Bob, with a second place finish at Pebble and 8th place at the Masters, how is your game, and what's next?"

Bob smiles. "Well I have been working with my swing Coach. It’s coming around but also my putting has really sucked as of late. We are changing some things to make it better."

The host nods. "With that said, you being the older bachelor on tour at 43. What advice do you give the
younger guys?"

Bob's eyes reflect the look of a deer in the headlights.

"Well, keep your head down, knees bent. And when your Ball is in the rough, grip your club tight, like you
would a good woman."

The Host smiles, chuckling a bit..

"Wow, Bob. What insight!"

The Golf Channel host continues,

"So, what's next for the golf philosopher?"

Bob's manner changes to a more serious side.

"The Open Championship."

 

The twisting leaves of ivy shimmers in the breeze against the dusty red brick of an Ivy League College. Jim Braid is writing equations on a chalkboard for a roomful of students. Jim is a non-sporting man, but he’s just short of the pocket protector league; he sees himself as the 'Indiana jones' of science. At the end of his day he takes what is left of his bag lunch and heads for home.

He finds his trusted beauty in the faculty parking lot, a 1968 Karmann Ghia cabriolet. Once a bright red in his high school days, it now sits faded by the sun like a dusty rose. Folding the top back, he slides behind the wheel and turns the key. The flat four rolls over as the side draft carbs breathes life into the air cooled engine.

Jim's drive is a short one. His father picked this house because it was so close to the college where Jim's mother was a teacher of medieval literature before she passed away. His father stayed in the house for about a year, as the memories were too much. Packing only what he needed and left for the land where he was born, Scotland. Leaving the house to Jim.

When Jim enters his house he picks up the mail on the floor that has been dropped though the door slot. Sifting thru envelops, he sees a hand written letter from St. Andrews, Scotland, not in his father’s hand. Jim sits at the kitchen table, his heart skips a beat as he opens the letter and reads.

'I regret to inform you of your father's death, and Request your presence at the reading of the will.'

The letter falls from Jim's hand.


A light Texas breeze brushes the low hanging branches of a willow tree at Stonebriar Country Club. A woman sits at a table in the clubhouse near the large windows that look out over the eighteenth green. The sun’s setting raze turns the mountains in the distance shades of red and pink, as She sips a glass of wine.

‘If only it were a tee time, he would be on time,’ she thinks.

The country club valet sets in a folding chair feet propped up on the counter reading 'golf digest' when he hears a familiar sound of a 429 Cobra entering the country club. Listening to a new group that his girlfriend Paula has turned him on to called 'the Shoemakers,' Bob downshifts to second gear with a little pop of the throttle. Pushing in the clutch, he rolls the blue-white striped '67 Cobra to a stop.

"Good day Mr. MacCray," the valet says opening
Bob's door.

"Thanks Chip, you know what to do."

Bob steps out of the car.

"Put it in the shade, Right?"

Bob walks quickly to the front doors of lobby.

"Put it where the sun don't shine."

The valet laughs as he drives away.

Bob makes his way through the lobby to the dining room, seeing Paula setting by the window. He kisses her on the cheek then sits across from her.

"So what do you say?" he asks.

Paula takes a sip of her wine.

"Well, dear, how much did you pay to set up that ridiculous question?"

"You saw that," Bob says with surprise.

Paula leans forward, lowering her voice to a whisper.

"Yes, I saw that."

Leaning back, she continues. "What was that all about?"

"I don't know, I was as surprised as you."

Bob smiles.

"I handled it well, don't you think?"

Paula smiles slightly.

"Yes, yes you did Bobby. What am I now? A grip it and Rip it, kind of good woman?"

Bob leans forward resting his arms on the table.

"No, no, honey, I mean yes, you know how I feel. Why do you think I asked you to marry me?"

Bob places an open hand on the table in front of her, and Paula puts one hand on Bob's. Bob then places his other hand on Paula’s.

"Bobby I know, I just don't feel we are ready yet."

As she looks into Bob's eyes, he draws back slightly.

"It’s because I haven't won a major yet?"

Paula looks down towards the table as Bob leans forward tilting his head to look into her eyes. Paula quickly looks up.

"You are the one who is hung up on that, not me."

She pulls her hand out from under Bob's.

"When will you understand that winning isn't why I love
You!"

Bob sits back in his chair with a blank look as Paula continues.

"This is what scares me. When you do win a major, what happens then. And if you don't, then what?"

Paula looks down for a moment as Bob turns looking out the window.

"A marriage is not about winning," Paula says.

Bob turns back to Paula.

"So, are you coming to St. Andrews?"

"I'm not sure."

Bob turns his head staring out the window.

An hour or so later, after finishing dinner, they are outside waiting for Chip, the valet, to return from parking another car, Seeing Bob and Paula, Chip stops at the key box.

"Miss Smith's car? Mr. MacCray."

"No, just the keys Chip."

Chip, like a quarterback, shovel passes Paula's keys to Bob as he jogs by to greet a car that has just arrived.

As Bob walks Paula to her car a man steps from the Mercedes that has just pulled up. A club member, he speaks in a heavy Texas tone.

"Hey Bob, good luck. Give ‘em hell Texas style!"

Bob waves his hand in the air.

"You got it, will do."

Paula turns her head to see who it is, but the head lights of the car are too bright.

"Who is that?"

"Oh, that's Terry, a new member of the club, an old football player, a quarterback. And a dam good one in
his day. Great guy but he talks too much."

When they reach Paula's car Bob takes her in his arms. Looking into those deep beautiful eyes, he kisses the lips he will miss. Their lips separate as Bob rubs Paula's arm in the cool Texas air.

"Do your best my love," she says.

Paula brings her right hand up, holding it to the side of Bob's face.

"That's always been good enough for me," she reminds him.

She gives him one last kiss as Bob opens the car door, Paula slides behind the wheel of her white CLK 350, and pushes the switch lowering the convertible top. Backing out of her parking space she waves to Bob as he walks to collect his keys from Chip.

The headlights of Bob's 1967 429 Cobra illuminate his garage that is lined with golf bags and framed posters of golf's greats and the courses they played. Entering the house, he kicks off his shoes and peals the socks from his feet. Making his way to the kitchen, taking a beer from the fridge.

Twisting the cap of the blue mountain brew, he takes a long swig as he walks through the large dining room and opens the French doors that lead out to the patio.

Bob's house sits high above Stonebriar Country Club on a ridge, with a panoramic view from the eighteenth tee. To the left is the green and the lights of the clubhouse in the distance.

Setting back in a rattan chair, Bob sips his beer looking up into the starry night. Thoughts of the upcoming week begin to simmer in his mind. His focus builds, placing every bad shot he can remember, locking them away in a mental drawer he hopes he will never have to open.

The sun rises over the Texas plains as Bob rolls over in bed to see the clock read 6:10am. Stretching his arms and then his toes, he swings his feet over the edge of the bed. He pushes himself in an upright position and heads for the shower. As the sound of water rushing over his head and passed his ears, he closes his eyes and pushes his hands against the shower tile. Bob starts his visualization pre shot routine.

Having never played St. Andrews, clips of video flash through his mind until he finds the one, and he locks in on it. Like a scene from 'Matrix' every part of his swing is checked and analyzed, from the take away to the follow through. Reaching down with his left hand Bob turns the shower off, wiping the water from his face with the other. Toweled off, Bob is now in the kitchen making coffee ready to start his daily workout in preparation for Scotland.

 

It's a beautiful Wednesday morning in Palo Alto, California. Jim sits in his father’s study, a space that has been an office for him since his Dad moved to Scotland five years ago. Looking at the many awards that hang on the walls next to pictures of fishing trips, he moves closer to one picture in particular. It was late spring of '74 when they were fishing the west fork of the Carson River in hope Valley.

His father loved the Sierra Mountains and the little places that nestled within it — Hope Valley being one of them. Jim remembers the first time he saw Hope Valley, back then his father drove a gold 1966 Malibu station wagon. Driving from their home, they would take Hwy 50 towards Lake Tahoe, and sometimes they would stop at Sam's Town for a hamburger.

From there the road would take them through Placerville, then Kyburz as the American River rushed alongside. All the way to Echo Summit and a breathtaking view of the largest volcanic lake in the Sierra's, Lake Tahoe.

At the bottom of Echo Summit sets the little town of Myers, where Hwy 89 splits from Hwy 50. After wrapping around Emerald Bay on the west side of Lake Tahoe, it heads south over Luther pass. With his hands firmly braced on the dash, the trees pass by like a living wooden fence. He could see the Valley below, and to him it was a magical place.

Once they were parked, a treasure hunt would ensue. The goal was to find as many fishing worms as possible under dried cow chips that dotted the Valley floor.

Sipping his coffee, he looks into the smiling eyes of his father in the picture. His dad was a mechanical engineer who enjoyed the less complicated things in life. After Jim's mother’s death, his father lived in the house for about five years before he moved to a place where Jim's mother always wanted to visit And someday retire too, in the land of her ancestors. Fate has now led him to the very same land.

 


The clouds wisp by as the sun gleams off the wing of a Boeing 777. Bob leans back from the window and begins to thumb through the magazines in front of him when a long-legged stewardess checks on him.

"Can I get you something to drink sir?"

Bob looks up with a smile.

"Jack and coke, please."

The stewardess pours Bob's drink and places it on his tray. Bob takes a sip from his cocktail as he turns his head, eyes fixed on her movement as she walks to the rear of the plane. Two rows back across the aisle, an elderly woman peers over her reading glasses with an un-approving look.

As guilty as a school boy, Bob slip back into his seat and continues flipping through the magazines. He finds the latest issue of Golfer Digest. Taking another sip from his Jack & Coke, he pulls the lever on the leg rest and settles his shoulders into the deep plush padding of his business class experience. He looks forward to reading about what’s new in the world of golf, and maybe pick up a tip or two.

The cover is a collection of U.S.A. greatest players of the past, including Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The title reads.

'50 years, the cradle of golf in America.'

Bob thumbs through the pages until he finds the article, subtitled 'The birth of golf in the modern age.' Skipping down through the bla, bla, bla, his eyes find the meat of the story.

'Like the mercury astronauts who gave us the moon, these seven men launched golf into the future.'

Bob reads on till he comes to some combined stats of their accomplishments.

Major wins. . . 69
Open Championships 28
PGA Championships 29
PGA Tour Wins. . 347

Bob's mind begins to reel with the number of wins that these men had over their careers. Giving golf the face it has today, leading him to this moment. It’s been so many places, and it’s had so many faces in the hands of time. Looking for the first time into the eyes of the men that had given themselves, in all their worth, to the game they love.

In the crisp cool air at 35,000 thousand feet, a chill runs down his spine; could this be his time. He quickly shuffles through the pages looking for the golf tip section.

The chill down his spine is replaced by a sudden jolt of the aircraft as the Captain speaks over the inner-com with a Scottish accent.

"Sorry about that, it looks like it might be a bit rough ahead. We suggest you buckle down and stow-away all loose
items. Thank you for flying Virgin Atlantic."

Bob latches his seat belt, then takes a sip from his Jack & Coke and returns to the magazine looking for the latest golf tips. Suddenly an image stops his fingers cold. It’s a picture of Jay Chow, and the caption reads:

'Japans rising son, golfer of the year'

Bob subconscious reaction is bit louder than he expected.

"Shit!"

Tall grass bent by the wind hangs over the edge of the runway at Edinburgh airport as the jetliner lands. Jim stands when the plane comes to a stop at the gate, removing his one piece of luggage from the overhead compartment. He waits his turn to shuffle off the plane.

Making his way off the plane and through security, he notices a group of people, mostly Asian and more than half being women, standing around a well-dressed Asian man with a pair sunglasses set on his head. As Jim passes he can see the man is signing autographs, thinking to himself must be someone well known in the martial arts. The man looks up smiling at one of his fans. Jim gets a better view of his chiseled features and surmises that he’s more likely an actor.


Exiting the terminal Jim spots a man in a Scottish cap with large white side burns holding a sign that says.

                                                                      'Aye, are you
                                                                   an American lad
                                                                     named Braid?'

Jim steps up to the man.

"Hello, I am Jim Braid."

The man lowers his sign and looks Jim over head to toe with disappointing eyes. He replies with a smile holding out his hand.

"Aye, Thomas is the name, right glade to meet cha."

Thomas takes Jim's bag, as Jim steps into the back of a black 1966 Austin fx4 cab. Thomas tosses Jim's bag in the boot, closing Jim's door. He then slides behind the wheel of the right hand driver’s seat.

"Aye, are you strap in lad?"

Without waiting for a reply, Thomas turns the key, whipping the 2.2l into action for the 54 mile trip to St. Andrews. As the black suicide door Austin heads out of Edinburgh, Jim is captivated by the countryside. They pass through Falkirk and Sterling seeing white cottages with wood sash cradled in the lush greenery. He begins to understand how is mother fell in love with it so.

"Mr. Braid, ever been to Scotland?"

"No, never."

Thomas makes a taunt of a long corner barely lifting on the accelerator. Jim slides to his left across the leather seat.

"I'll be sure not to leave anything out," Thomas replies.

 

Bob spends the first couple of days getting to know the land surrounding St. Andrews; it goes back to the old saying:

'Know the land, you will know the Course.'

Somehow that slice of wisdom failed him in a disappointing Tuesday practice round. He leaves the Old Course Clubhouse and decides to take a walk to clear his mind.

Several blocks away he comes across an antique shop, and a power he is unable to resist draws him in. The door strikes a bell hanging from above as Bob steps into the shop. Like under a spell, Bob glides through the shop as his left hand hovers over the items displayed.

Visions and sounds roll like a fog through his mind becoming stronger until suddenly he’s in a field in the time of the nobles. Just as quick as the vision came, it goes. Looking down to see his fingers lying upon an object as the old shop clerk greets him.

"Can I help you, Sir?"

Bob has a glazed look upon his face.

"How much for this?"

"25 quid, lad."

Bob, still in a daze stares down at what lays beneath his fingers.

"Yeah that's fine."

The black four door Austin enters the damp streets of
St. Andrews.

"Thomas, did you know my father?" Jim asks.

"Aye, I did, a fine man."

Jim looks out the rain drizzled window thinking of his dad, wishing he had made it here to see him before now. Thomas pushes in the clutch and applies the brakes, slowing the Austin to a stop in front of the lawyer’s office who's handling Jim's father’s affairs.

Thomas pulls the hand brake and steps out opening Jim's door.

"Here we are lad, top floor."

Jim looks up thru the drizzle and mist to see a man standing in the window wearing a dark waist coat and a white dress shirt. Thomas leads the way up the stairs to the office of Sir. Oliver A. Kline LLP.

Thomas takes Jim's overcoat as he opens the door to Sir Oliver's office. The office is simple, a single room with a large dark walnut desk and two chairs to his right. There is a book case that covers the entire wall to his left. Sir Oliver takes his seat behind the desk as Jim steps from the hardwood floor onto a large rug that's center in the middle of the room, taking a seat in one of the two chairs.

Looking up from a folder that lies on his desk, Sir Oliver pears over his reading glasses.

"How was your flight Mr. Braid?"

Jim rubs his right hand on his thigh.

"Very good, thank you."

Sir Oliver smiles. "Shall we then?"

Jim nods as Sir Oliver opens the folder and begins to read the will.

"I, John Braid leave my repair shop and tools to the local school for boys. To my son, I leave my personal effects and a safe deposit box."

Sir Oliver looks up.

"Now, Jim, after reading your father's papers, I have found something that your grandfather left your
Father."

"Yes, and what would that be?" Jim asks.

"A golf shop."

Immediately Jim’s voice is fills with surprise. "A golf shop! Where?"

"Here in St. Andrews. Do you play?"

A look of guilt surfaces on Jim's face. "No."

The Lawyer responds with raised brows.

"I have a key here, somewhere... ah, here it is. I can have Mr. MacGregor show it to you."

"Mr. MacGregor?"

"Yes, Thomas, the man who met you at the airport."

Jim nods, "Ah, yes, all right."

As Jim and Thomas step onto the sidewalk Jim reaches for the door handle of the Austin.

"It’s just a short jaunt from here lad."

"O' all right," Jim replies.

The drizzle now has become more of wet fog as the two walk towards the golf shop. With every step Jim thinks of the five years he lost with his Dad, only the brief phone call three or four times a year.

Looking up and blinking away the mist that has formed on his eyelashes, he can see a wooden sign hanging over a door as they reach the corner.

"Aye, O' Barry's Tavern, a fine place if you fancy a Drink."

The pair turn right at the corner walking past a gap in the building when Thomas stops at a faded green door.

"Aye, here we are, so laddie you never played golf?"

Thomas reaches into his vest pocket for the key.

"No, never."

Thomas looks at Jim in the eye. "That's odd."

Jim shrugs. "I guess."

The outside of the shop is old and weathered with the windows being cleaned only by the seasonal rain. Thomas unlocks the door, and it swings open with a creaking sound.

The two men step into the shop; it takes a moment for their eyes to adjust the dim light. Everything in the shop is covered with a fine layer of dust. The shop is 15 X 25 feet and filled with golf's past from corner to corner. Jim walks behind the counter were he sees a receipt book with the name 'Bob Hope' on it.

"Thomas, how long has this place been here?"

"Well, being the shop is part of the tavern, I say around two hundred years."

Jim looks around, taken by all he sees.

"That is a long time."

"From what I understand, your grandfather made it a golf Shop around 1910. As great a golfer as he was a
Golfsmith."

Jim picks up a few items, blowing off the dust.

"Thomas I believe I am ready for a drink."

Thomas smiles. "Aye, I know just the place."

 

 

                                                                                Fifth Chapter


Later that afternoon Bob heads to the practice range, for the fog has rolled back out over the ocean. The dusky light of the setting sun illuminates the cloud stretched sky. Bob sees Jay on the range, and with the only open spot next to him, Bob walks over and parks his bag.

The two men are facing one another some twenty feet apart due to Bob being a lefty.

"How you doing?"

"Good," Jay replies.

Bob pulls a ball in front of him with a 9 iron.

"Better than good I say, you made it here."

Jay hits a ball, pauses in his follow through and then smiles.

"Just like you, but that was one lucky putt."

Bob takes a tee from behind his ear, cleaning the groves of his club.

"Which one?"

"The one on 17."

Bob places the tee back behind his ear and pulls another Pro V1 from the pile, replies.

"Oh, that one — skill brother, all skill."

Jay looks up at Bob with a smile. "Yeah."

Bob hits what he likes to call, 'The nine hole warm up.'

That's nine visualized approach shots, a routine he learned from his college coach Mr. Falt.

Bob steps over to his bag to change clubs, and Jay notices an object hanging on Bob's bag.

"I see you have added something to your routine."

Bob pulls his 7 iron from the bag, "What do you mean?"

"That silver-ish thing hanging on your bag."

Bob looks back to his bag.

"Oh, that, just something I picked up here in town."

Not being able to take his eye's from it, Jay says.

"It’s cool. What is it?"

"Hell, I don't know. You like it?" Bob asks as he addresses his ball with the seven iron.

Jay is still fixated on the silver-ish object.

"Yeah, I do," he utters in a trance like state.

"Tell you what." Jay blinks as if breaking a spell.

"You make the cut, you can hang it on your bag Saturday."

"Sure, a piece of pie."

Bob looks over at Jay tilting his head.

"It's a piece of cake!"

Jay looks up from teeing a ball. "What?"

Bob shakes his head. "Never mind. Okay, if you don't
make the cut, I get your shoes."

"What?"

Bob gestures with his club. "Your shoes."

Jay looks down, "My shoes?" "They’re too small for you."

Bob smiles. "Yeah, I know. I'll hang ‘em on my
rearview mirror."

Jay shakes his head, and this gives Bob a bigger smile.

"No, wait. I'll give ‘em to my girlfriend."

Bob walks to his bag. Another thing he learned from his college coach is always leave the range on a good swing. And the last two have gotten right into Jay's head. Tossing his bag on his shoulder, Bob starts to walk away as he can hear Jay say.

"That's real funny, MacCray!"

Bob waves one hand in the air.

"See you tomorrow, Chou."

Jim and Thomas enter the Tavern through the solid oak door that hangs from hinges mortared into stone that frames the doorway. Built by the current owner, Michael O'Barry's great, great grandfather in 1812, it is filled with the history of golf. Some of the Tavern has been upgrades through the years with running water, electricity, and refrigeration. Still, all that fades away as the sun goes down and the gas lamps are lit. The age of horse carriages and wooden shafts fills the air.

Thomas and Jim make their way to the bar.

"Here we go lad, what's your choice," Thomas asks.

"Just a beer."

Thomas looks at Jim with a raised eyebrow.

"In the States there may be such a thing as 'just a beer'
but you’re in Scotland now."

Jim shrugs his shoulders. Behind the bar is Kate, the owner’s daughter.

"Allow me." Thomas looks down the bar.

"Aye lass!" Kate rings out a wet towel placing it in her apron as she moves towards Thomas.

"Well, hello Tommy. Who's your friend?"

Thomas gestures with one hand toward Jim. "This is Jim Braid from the States."

Kate winks and smiles with her fiery green eyes.

"Glad to meet you, Jimmy. What can I get you boys?"

"Aye lass, two Fowler's, not that swill the locals drink."

Two old men at the end of the bar take notice of Thomas's comment and turn their heads. Thomas's looks over at them, tipping his hat with a smile saying.

"Gentlemen."

"Aye, you are in for a real treat, Jimmy," Kate says as she takes two glasses from a stack on the bar.

Thomas sees Michael, the owner, enter the bar from the back room.

"Aye, Michael."

"Aye Thomas." The two men shake hands.

"What have we here?" Michael asks, referring to Jim.

Thomas places a hand on Jim's shoulder.

"This is Jim Braid."

Michael tilts his head with an inquisitive look.

"Jim Braid? As in James Braid?"

"Aye, the same. This is James's grandson."

Michael holds out his hand.

"Right fine to meet cha, laddie. Has he seen the wall?"

Kate returns with their beers,

Jim takes his white toped pint and asks, "The Wall?"

Michael gestures with a tilt of his head.

"Well then."

"Aye Jim, follow me." Thomas grabs his beer.

The two men move from the bar to one side of the Tavern that is covered with paintings and photographs. Jim stands sipping his beer and taking in everything he sees.

"Aye, the wall of golf. It starts with, from what history tells us, the first eighteen hole match, to the present," Thomas says.

Jim nods. "Wow."

"Aye, golf has surrounded the world, but here is where The world comes to golf."

Jim steps closer as Thomas gestures with his beer. "And right over here is a picture of your granddad."

"Really? I remember seeing photos my father had, but that
was so long ago."

"He won five opens in ten years," Thomas says.

Jim sips his beer. "Is that good?"

"GOOD?! Like never-done-before GOOD," Thomas says.

Jim smiles and looks back at the photos.

"He was one of the best. Harry Vardon and he had many a Scrap out on the old girl."

Thomas's words become a distant sound like from another room as one of his grandfather’s photos draws Jim in.

"Jim, Jim! Are you alright lad?"

Jim blinks, leaning back from the photo.

"Yea, yea I am ok."

Thomas places a hand on Jim's shoulder.


"Aye, this fine ale may have more of a kick then you are
accustom to in the States, Lad."

They return to the bar and finish their beers as Thomas shares golf stories of Jim's grandfather.

An hour or so passes and along with it several beers between the new friends.

"Well, gentleman, I believe I am done," Jim says as he downs the last of his beer.

"What do I owe you?"

"It's on the house, lad." Michael replies.

"Well, thank you. I thank you both."

Then back to Michael asking.

"Would you happen to have a flashlight?"

"A flashlight, you say?"

"A hand torch," Thomas translates.

Michael yells to Kate who is in the backroom.

"Aye... KATE! Bring us a torch, lass."

"Jim, would you like me to come along?" Thomas asks.

Kate places a flashlight on the bar.

"Thank you, but no, I got it."

A short distance away Bob sits in a booth eating dinner at the St. Andrews hotel reading a book, 'Why Mars & Venus Collide,' that’s hidden inside a sports magazine. Some of his competitors are having drinks at a table near By. One of the men he has known for years comes over to see him, with drink in hand.

"Hey, Bob, what are you up to?"

Bob quickly close the magazine but the book inside is slightly visible.

"Not much, just catching up on some sports news."

Glancing at the magazine Bob’s friend replies.

"Yeah, sure. I caught your interview after Pebble. How’d that go over with Paula?"

Bob smiles. "Oh great. Not good." He says shaking his head.

"You know, Bob." His friend takes a sip from his cocktail.

"Relationships… ah hell, the world is a dance. And for Every dance there is a song."

"I never took you for a music lover." Bob replies.

Bob then takes a bit of his dinner as his friend offers.

"You, my friend, you need to find your song."

"What is your song?" Bob asks as his friend turns and walks away.

His friend continues walking and holds his drink high in the air.

"Viva Las Vegas, baby."

Bob's friend leaves the restaurant and heads into the hotel lobby, joyfully seeking an evening of entertainment.

Bob, with his book and magazine tucked under his arm, slips his room key into the lock. He enters his hotel room to find a telegram from Paula on the floor. Picking it up, he walks to the couch and reads. ‘From the time we have been together, it’s been wonderful and yet unsettling.' Bob sits and continues to read. 'Winning isn't what makes you great, for all glory is fleeting, It's how we live our quiet moments that truly matters. Love, Paula.' Bob lift his legs onto the couch and stretches them out closing his eyes.

 


Jim exits the Tavern, turning right. He walks the forty or so paces up a slight grade of finely fitted cobble stones, the same stones the soles of his grandfather’s shoes had felt years before. He enters the golf shop, and with flashlight in hand, he works his way around behind the counter. He pulls open a drawer containing British paper and coins.

"This place has not been touched in years," He says to himself.

He shines the light to the end of the counter where it appears to look like golf irons are sticking out of the wall. As he moves closer, the flashlight starts to fade, but he revives it by tapping the side. Just before he reaches what has drawn him to that part of the shop, he stumbles. Reaching out with one hand he grabs one of the golf irons. At that moment a panel pops open in the wall revealing a secret room.

Jim pushes the panel open, shinning the light inside to see a small room with a table and chair. Stepping in he sees a stack of books and papers. One of the papers is rolled, bound with a leather strap. Jim places the light under his arm, slides the strap form the paper. In some words that he cannot make out, it describes the creation of something, and the light again begins to dim. Jim shines the light to the top of the paper as the light fades out he see the words 'The Grale.'

Thursday morning arrives, the first day of the Open Championship. Bob rolls out of bed and takes a bit of pizza that sits in an open box on his way to the shower. In the shower, he thinks of what his friend said about finding his song. Taking the flexible shower head as a microphone, he works on a few songs. Channeling his best 'Elvis,' he begins to sing.

"Love me tender, love me true."

Then he kicks it up a bit.

"You an't nothin but a hound dog, just crying all the
time."

He gets caught up in the moment, for everything sounds better in the shower. He then realizes he's late.

"Oh, SHIT."

He leaps from the shower, dresses and is out the door.


Jay stands in front of the pairing sheet that is posted in the Old Course clubhouse. He is dressed in powder blue, sporting a wide white belt and shoes, right out of the '70s. He sees that Bob is paired with him.

"Shit!" He heads out to the first tee.

Bob, walking quickly, makes his way through the clubhouse sliding to a stop in front of the pairing sheet.

"SHIT!" He runs to the first tee.

Jay is tapping his driver lightly on the short cut grass of the tee box as Bob arrives and goes straight to the starter.

"I am so sorry."

"Save your sorrows for the course lad."

The starter then gesture to Bob to take the tee.

The starter clears is throat with a nip of whiskey.

"On the tee, from Japan, welcome Jay Chou!"

Jay tees his ball and hits his drive out 285 yards.

"On the tee, from the United States, welcome Bob MacCray!"

Bob tees his ball. Stepping back, he looks out over the fairway as the gallery grows silent. He addresses the ball and hits his drive 294 yards. The gallery applauds as Bob and Jay walk down the fairway in the late morning light.

Michael is wiping the bar back at the tavern as Jim enters moving quickly to him.

"Good day, Jimmy. What will you have?"

"Nothing right now. Has Thomas been in yet?"

"Aye."

Jim looks around the tavern. "Where?"


Michael's reply is interrupted by Kate's presence.

"Be a sweet lass and ferry these over to his Majesty and
His band of thieves."

With a defiant smile Kate slides the tray on to one hand.

"Can't stomach your own dirty work," she says.

Michael smiles back as Kate turns.

"Aye, lass."

She stops to wink at Jim and walks away.

Jim smiles as he watches Kate walk away, and then Michael's words disrupt his focus.

"Aye Jimmy, Where were we?"

Jim's head snaps back to Michael. "Thomas?"

"He's gone."

Jim looks back over to toward Kate.

"You say the King is here?"

Michael's response is less than positive. "No, just the Mayor and a couple of his knockers."

Jim turns his attention back to Michael.

"So, where did Thomas go?"

Michael intently wipes a bar glass.

"Business. So, what will you be haven?"

"Nothing, I said! Now how long will Thomas be gone?"

Michael sets the glass down and leans in toward Jim.

"Let me tell you a secret. You are in a drinking establishment, so if you want to be established, you
then must drink. I know it's a lot to take in."

Michael leans back placing both hands on the bar.

"So, take few moments before making your selection."

Jim shakes his head with a slight smile and looks up to see Bob on the TV. He is on the 9th green with Jay who makes a putt that keeps him even with Bob and even on the front nine. As Jim watches Bob and Jay walk to the tenth tee Michael returns.

"Well, Jimmy, my lad, what will it be?"

"I will have what I had last night."

"Aye, a fine choice laddie."

"So when will Thomas be back?"

Michael turns around placing Jim's beer on the bar.

"I would say, right about now."

Thomas enters the Tavern and takes a seat next to Jim.

"Michael, my usual, please."

"Aye, good choice," Michael replies.
"Thomas!" Jim says excitedly.

Then Jim whispers. "I found something in the golf shop."

Thomas picks up his beer that Michael has just poured.

"Well out with it lad."

Jim reaches into his coat pocket and removes the scroll. As Thomas sips his beer, Jim start to unroll it. Thomas sees the word 'Grale,' spitting out his beer.

"The GRALE," Thomas barks.

Michael parrots Thomas. "The GRALE?"

Thomas pushes the scroll back into Jim's coat pocket, as a man in the tavern seated in a booth with his back to the bar hears the word 'Grale.'

"We need a place of privacy," Thomas tells Michael.

Michael removes his bar apron. "Follow me."

Michael, followed by Jim and Thomas, as Thomas turns his head to scan the Tavern for anyone who may have overheard. They pass through the drapes that lead to the storeroom.

The three men stand in the middle of a room where racks of dried vegetables and cured meats hang among barrels of ale stacked in the corner from local breweries.

Michael says, "Here we are gents."

Thomas looks to his right. "In there!"

Reaching over, he pulls on the handle of the walk in cooler door.

The man in the booth gets up and makes his way to the back room to find that it is empty. He then moves to the cooler door and peaks through the small round window, seeing a man unrolling something at the far end of the cooler under a dim light.

"What is this?" Jim asks.

"History, lad, history!" Michael replies.

"Shhh, quiet. Jim, where ever did you find this?" Thomas asks.

Thomas examines the scroll closely.

"In a hidden room at the shop."

Kate enters the storeroom as the man watches through the round window seeing the word 'Grale' on the top scroll.

"Hey! What the hell are you doin," Kate exclaims!

The man quickly pushes past Kate, knocking her to the floor. Michael hears Kate yell, and the three men exit the cooler as the man runs out the front door of the tavern.

Michael helps Kate to her feet. "Are you okay Katie?"

Kate brushes back her hair with one hand.

"Aye, I'm fine. Just give me another shot at that knocker."

Kate then leaves the storeroom and returns to the bar. The three men stand silent for a moment and look at one another.

"It seems that we are not alone with our secret" Thomas says.

A somewhat chubby man, slightly out of breath due to his hasty exit from the tavern, steps into a phone booth. Reaching into his pockets of for change, he removes two candy wrappers and a mustard-stained napkin. He finds the right amount of change from his trouser pockets, then wedges the receiver between shoulder and ear.

Somewhere in the Scottish countryside sits a man reading a book ‘Royals and their Dogs.’ Next to him is a Victorian style phone, it rings.

"Hello."

"I need to speak to Lord Hepburn."

The man answering the phone is Nigel Daggers, Lord Hepburn's right hand man.

Daggers snaps the book closed, and carries the phone to another room. Lord Hepburn, the Lord of Bothwell, sits in a large winged back chair in front of a fire, warming his bones that have been drained of their youth from years of searching for what once belonged to the house of Bothwell. Daggers stops next to the chair.

"My Lord, there is a telephone call."

Daggers holds the phone in one hand, the receiver with the other.

"WHO," Sir Hepburn asks snappishly.

"I believe its Harold, Sir."

Holding the phone, Daggers hands lord Hepburn the receiver.

"Yes, what is it?"

"My lord, someone has found the GRALE!"

Lord Hepburn pauses for a moment.

"The GRALE you say!"

Harold nervously rubs the phone cord.

"Well, not exactly the Grale, per say."

"Then, what exactly did they find," Sir Hepburn asks in a frustrated tone.

Harold swallows deeply and then answers.

"The scroll, my Lord! At O’Barry’s Tavern, The Grale
Scroll!"

"Stay close to them, Keep your eyes and ears open. I will send Mr. Daggers to help in retrieving the Grale."

Lord Hepburn hands Daggers the receiver.

"You know what to do, and please try to keep Mr. Cloaks out of trouble."

"I understand, Sire," Daggers replies.

Harold leaves the phone booth and moves across the street from the Tavern to take an observation position in a dress shop window.

Back on the Old course Bob is on the 18th after hitting his drive into the high grass left. His local caddie Duncan hands him PW iron.

"It’s obvious to me this is not the place to be" Duncan says.

He holds the club till Bob looks him in the eye.

"Is it to you, lad?" the caddie asks.

Bob winks and nods with a smile as Duncan releases the club.

He stands over his ball that lies nestled in the knee high grass some ninety-two yards or so from the hole.

"Duncan, what do you think?"

Duncan looks over to see Jay on the far side of the fairway.

"It’s not what I think, it’s what you’re going to do that
matters."

Bob looks back to Duncan unsatisfied with his answer. He steps behind his ball checking the flight line to the green. The leader board shows Bob down by two to Jay.

"Unlike in the States lad, you can't play each hole like you’re diving a bloody 'lorry', it’s par if you’re lucky."

"Ah, what? Drive a Laurie!"

"Bulloks! Laying it short is good, long is better, in between lies the valley of sin, your choice lad."

Duncan slings Bob's bag on his shoulder and leaves Bob in the tall Grass.

Gripping his club, he takes one last look at the landing area. He pulls the shaft back and lays as much weight on his left side before thrusting his hips lead by the right knee. A large twisted mangle of grass rises up around the iron, a result of a thin shot. Swinging his club back and forth, he clears the uprooted landscape from his Callaway steel as he steps back into the fairway.

The light sounds of appreciation drifts through the air from the gallery as Bob hands Duncan the PW.

"Well hell" Bob concedes.

"Aye, that be true, but hell's a Holiday compared to the 'Valley of sin,'" Duncan reasons as he wipes the club with a damp cloth.

The two stand in silence for a moment as they watch Jay put his second shot on the green to sounds of the cheering gallery. As they make their way to Bob's ball, Duncan places his left hand on Bob's shoulder.

"Now, it's time to right the wrongs Lad."

Bob, using a lob wedge, takes a page from a book of one of his competitors, and fellow lefty. He tosses an incredible flop shot. Climbing out of the 'Valley of sin' to a thunderous roar, he tips his hat and taps in for par. Jay follows with two putts for his par.

Bob and Jay remove their hats and shake hands.

"Nice shot" Says Jay.

Bob tightens his grip on Jay's hand.

"Nice I keep at home udder my pillow. That was a great shot. But congratulations on an awesome two putt."

They smile at one another as Bob releases his grip and the two exit the green. The leader board has the leader at 5 under, Jay at two under and Bob at plus two. Before entering the official’s scorer’s tent, Bob turns to Duncan.

"Tomorrow then?"

Duncan pauses for a moment looking Bob over, squinting one eye, stroking his chin.

"Aye, some progress we've had, too the unknown it is."

Both men smile as Bob turns stepping into the scorer’s tent as a light drizzle begins to fall. After signing his score card, Bob heads to the guest section of the players locker room. Seated on the bench with his back leaned against his locker, eye's closed, he visually goes through every shot like flash cards. He takes mental notes of the good and the bad. Finally, he puts all the positive ones in what he calls 'The perfect day drawer.'

His meditation is interrupted by a pulsing sound that seems to have entered at the base of his neck through his locker door. His eye's blink open, and he becomes aware of his surrounding as the pulse continues. He realizes the sound is his cell phone. Leaning forward, he turns and opens his locker. Shuffling through pants and coat pockets, he finds it's a text message from Paula.

'Bobby I have been thinking about what I said and how much this means to you ... I will see you Sat. night. xoxo'

This brings a smile to Bob’s face. He changes shoes and thinks of the Tavern up the street, feeling like it may be time for a drink.

Jay watches Bob walk passed as he places his golf shoes in his locker. A smiles rolls across his face thinking of Bob words, 'If you make the cut.' One more day like today and Bob may not make the cut. The smile melts away as a chill slowly climbs up his spin. Visions creep through his mind of what he now knows will be his.


A black 1939 Jaguar Solon pulls up, stopping across the street from the Tavern. Behind the wheel is Daggers, who sees Harold lying down in a dress shop window with a bonnet on his head. Daggers exits the Jaguar and taps on the shop window.

"What in the bloody hell are you doing?"

Harold pulls the bonnet from his head and scrambles to his feet, getting tangled in the window display before finally making his way out the front door.

"They're still in there," Harold says.

Daggers looks to the tavern.

"Did anyone see you earlier?"

"Well ..."

Daggers turns to Harold, quickly snaps at him.

"Out with it man," Daggers insists.

"A bar maid."

Daggers pulls the collar up on his overcoat and places his hands in his pockets.

"Well, then we shall wait for the proper moment."

In the tavern Jim and Thomas sit at the bar.

"What is this Grale?" Jim asks.

After drinking the last of his beer he holds one finger up to Jim as a pause in his reply.

"Aye, Kate, another round Lass."

"All right, Tommy my love, but then I'm off. Got a date with a Longstride caddie."

Kate then winks one of her bright green eyes, filling two glasses.

Thomas turns his attention back to Jim.

"The Grale goes back many centuries, from what history Tells us was the first match between King James IV and the Earl of Bothwell."

Kate places the beers on the bar.

"I'm off, gents. Have a wonderful evening boys."

Jim smiles, Thomas tips his hat.

"Now, the Earl had this trophy made for the match that Legend says he wanted so badly for himself that when the King won, he attempted to steal it."

Bob enters the Tavern feeling a bit giddy over Paula's text and finds his way to the bar, taking an open seat next to Jim.

Thomas turns to Bob.

"Well hello, it's Mr. MacCray? Right?"

Bob nods.

Thomas tips his hat. "So nice to see you."

Bob smiles generously.

"Just Bob, just Bob is fine. So, what are we drinking tonight, gentlemen?"

"The finest local ale there is," Thomas replies.

"That's a good start," Bob says with ease.

"You’re a golfer, right?" Asks Jim.

Thomas interjects. "You will have to excuse my friend Jim here, he does not follow the game."

"No worries Jim, there has been times when I wished I didn't follow the games as I do," Bob jokes.

After seeing Kate leave, Daggers and Harold enter the tavern and take a booth close to the bar.

"You from the States?" Bob asks Jim.

"Yes, and it's true, I don't follow golf."

Thomas quickly places a hand on Jim’s shoulder. "Where are my manners? This is Jim Braid, and I am Thomas
MacGregor."

"Very good to meet you both."

Bob continues to seek out something in common with Jim.

"What do you do back home?"

"I am chemistry professor."

Bob smiles, placing his right hand on Jim's shoulder.

"Ah, just what we need, two colonials to match steel with The Scots. Bartender! A round for my friends here."

Michael replies. "Aye, Mr. MacCray."

As Daggers sets facing the bar, he scans the tavern and Harold looks over the menu. Michael returns, placing three beers on the bar.


"Here we go gents. It’s a pleasure to have you here Mr. MacCray. If you don't mind, could we have a picture
For the wall?"

After sipping his beer Bob replies surprisingly.

"The wall?"

"Aye the wall," Thomas confirms.

He slides off his stool and gestures toward the wall.

"Follow me."

Thomas makes his way to the southwest wall of the Tavern that runs some thirty feet or more. Bob is completely blown away by the centuries of golf that hang before him.

"Well, here we are, the wall of golf, from the beginning Till now."

As the two men stand with beers in hand, Thomas points to one end of the wall.

"You may very well have a place here."

"That would be great."

Jim joins them and steps over to take a closer look at one of his grandfather’s pictures.

"What you looking at there, Jim?" Bob asks.

"Oh, nothing."

"It's his granddad" Thomas adds.

Bob enquires after sipping his beer.

"Really? Where?"

Jim gestures with his beer, and Bob steps closer.

"Wow! That's your grandfather?"

As Bob looks over the photos, something in one picture ignites the sensation he had in the antique shop. Blinking, he snaps out of it and turns to Jim.

"And you never played the game? Wow, what a shame."

Daggers watches the three men walk back to the bar.

"Is it any one of them?" he asks Harold.

Harold, seated across from Daggers, turns his head to the bar, then back.

"I think two at the bar."

Bob downs the last of his beer placing the empty glass on the bar.

"Well, gents, I'm done."

He then stands and moves behind Thomas and Jim who are seated on their stools. He spreads his arms placing his hands on their outer shoulders.

"Thanks for the beer, see you tomorrow."

Michael nods. "Aye lad, play like a king, for you’re in the land of the gods."

Bob smiles and turn, making his way to the door. Daggers eye catches Bob leaving the bar.

"Is he one of them?"

Harold looks over at Bob. "No, I don't think so."

"So it’s the two at the end of the bar."

Harold quickly turns his head to the bar and back.

"Aye, and the bartender."

Daggers pulls up the collar of his coat.

"We will wait in the car till they leave."

Harold goes to pull up the collar of his coat, but it’s too short. The two slide out of the booth, exiting the tavern.

 

                                                                               Sixth Chapter


Bob makes the relatively short walk to the St. Andrews hotel, and he takes the main entrance stairs to his room on the second floor. Once in his room, he begins the process of winding down from the day. The first that the maid service has been to his room is his missing pizza box, and along with it the last two pieces.

"Damn!"

Bob takes a bottle of water from the mini fridge thinking of today's round, and tomorrow’s. What will she have in-store for him? Placing his money clip and room key on the mid-18th century oak dresser, he undresses for a well-deserved shower.

As the water washes over him, Michael's words take shape in his mind along with visions from the antique shop and O'Barry's Tavern. Wiping water from his face, he grabs a towel and dries off. He finishes with a quick brush of the ivories. Pulling on his favorite sleep wear, a fresh pair of 'label free Hanes,' he removes a picture from his travel bag of Paula. He places it on the night stand, pulls the heavy covers back and slides into bed. Looking into the eyes of the woman he loves as he turns out the light.

The room’s thick wood walls breathe of centuries past, as Bob falls into a deep sleep. In a dream he finds himself walking through a thick fog, Barefoot, feeling the damp grass under his feet. The heavy blanket of white gives way as he steps onto a tee box. Looking down, the grass is bright green and above the sky a brilliant blue. As the white emptiness dissipates around him, a gallery emerges from it with the air carrying the scent of fresh cut grass

Bob stands on the tee box and realizes he is dressed for a final round with his driver in hand. Only one thing is missing — his shoes. Looking down, he smiles, moving his toes against the fine cut grass, the thought of having no shoes is unimportant.

Lifting his eyes to the gallery around him, he can see they are standing perfectly still. Only Paula, who is behind him, claps slowly, smiling. Bob looks to see a teed ball between the tee markers. Before starting his swing he sees a man walking behind the gallery looking at him with a smile.

The man is wearing what Bob thinks in the midst of his dream would be some kind of costume, compared to the rest of the gallery. Between the still figures, Bob can see hanging from the man's kilt is something brilliantly silver. Just then a whispering voice echoes around him.

"The Grale."

As the man disappears he lowers his head, feet rooted to the ground like mighty oaks. He’s feeling as focused as he ever has been before.

Pulling the driver back, coiling his body like the string of an archers bow, he reaches the point of no return. Then his whole body working as one, it releases with the power of a Medieval Catapult. Down and through, he never loses sight of the ball. On impact, it compresses so much it almost disappears and then rockets off the tee. His eyes follow the ball to see that it stops in mid-air some twenty feet away. Confused Bob walks slowly up to the ball for a closer look.

As he gazes into the dimples of the ball they become translucent, allowing him to peer deeper into the small orb. A figure of a man looks up at him. Suddenly Bob finds himself in the translucent dimpled sphere traveling through the air at a high rate of speed over an unfamiliar landscape. The sound of air whisking past the dimples of Bob's crystal ball begins to fade and a feeling of weightlessness rises around him. Quickly he is sucked to the top of his transparent Scottish carriage as it falls from the sky.

Due to the G-forces of his decent, Bob only has the strength to hold one eye open to see a small dot below become larger before he blacks out. Free of his 'Titelist' shell, he awakens, finding himself lying at the bottom of a hole with a cloud swept sky above. Getting to his feet, he can see the top of the hole is too far to reach. He begins jumping, and on the third attempt he grabs the edge pulling himself up.

Resting is elbows on the thick blades of grass, he notices a white object moving in the distance, as his eyes follow it from his right moving to his left. It starts to become larger, moving faster. As it stops moving to his left he realizes it’s a golf ball headed right for him. Just when the shadow of the ball rolls across Bob's face, he falls back into the darkness.

Bob quickly awakens in a cold sweat, turning to the window that looks out over the Old Course. He sighs.

"What the hell."

It’s Friday morning, a heavy dew rests on St. Andrews and a light misty fog drifts through the streets as Daggers and Harold have fallen asleep in the Jaguar that still sits in front of the dress shop.

Spectators headed to The Old Course pass by and see Harold with the side of his chubby faces pressed against the passenger window. Slowly, he awakens to sounds of their footsteps as Daggers mutters in his sleep.

Oh, daddy, look at him dance," Daggers sleep-talks.

Harold peals his face from the glass and wipes a small bit of drool from his lip with his left sleeve. Then he shoves Daggers with his right hand.

"Look out, that monkey, he… he… He's a biter."

With the nudge from Harold, Daggers awakens yelling.

"SAVE THE MONKEY! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!”

“What the bloody hell was that!"

Daggers rubs the sleep from his eyes.

"What, what did I say?"

"Nothing I would want to repeat, thank you very much!"

Daggers collects himself. Looking in the rearview, he shifts back into 'Daggers military mode' and turns to Harold.

"Utter a word of this to anyone, I'll have your Bulloks
in a box!"

Harold nods as Daggers smiles, and Harold smiles as well. Daggers settles himself back into the diver seat, tilting his head, cracking his neck. He turns the key and brings the Jaguar to life, releasing the hand brake and placing the column shift into first. The Jag pulls away from the dress shop, driving the damp streets of St. Andrews back to Bothwell Castle.

Bob and Jay stand waiting on the first tee as the NBC host Jim Nantz in the telecast booth starts the television coverage.

"Welcome back to St. Andrews, Scotland. And the second round of the 2015 Open Championship here on the Old Course at St. Andrews."

Seated next to Jim is Johnny Miller.

"After yesterday’s round, who do you feel has the tools today to keep himself out of trouble, Johnny?"

"Well, I like our leader, Yohan Stroks at five under, but today is not like yesterday. The wind will be picking up
later, and then there are the pin placements. I see him giving a few back today. As always, the Old Course will
have her way."

"What of Jay Chou or Bob MacCray, not that far back with the projected cut at plus three?"

"Yes, Jay and Bob are in position to make a move and they will need to get it done early while the weather is
good."

Jim turns to the camera.

"With that, we go to the first tee and our own David
Feherty."

"Thank you, Jim. Bob has already made his drive down the right side. Jay's practice swings are made with such unstated determination. That will lead to ether, success
or disaster."

Before Jay steps to his ball, he glances over to Bob's bag to see what soon will be his and then looks to the fairway, picking his spot. Eyes drawn back to the ball, he squeezes the grip slightly, pulling the club back so far it looks as if he could put the club head in his left rear pocket. The sound of rushing air like from a steam whistle is heard by the gallery as Jay's ball leaves the tee resembling a NASA launch.

"Success or disaster, that very well could be the longest drive of the day. Possible reaching the traitorous
'Himalayas Greens." Feherty tells the viewing audience.

Jay holds his follow through, and Bob steps away from the tee walking with his caddie Duncan.

"Bobby, how are you doing… laddie."

"I did not sleep well. It must be the food, jet lag, or something."

"Just take a deep breath. It will all be over soon."

Duncan pulls a seven iron for Bob's next shot.

Bob lifts his head. "Shit, I'll feel better after a few
holes."

Duncan hands Bob his club. "Let's not get carried away, lad. One hole at a time."

Back at the Tavern, Thomas and Jim are discussing the Grale as the tournament is being shown on the TV above the bar.

"Thomas, what do we do with this if it's real?"

"For now, nothing and yes, from all accounts of what history tells us, this is the real MacCrey," he says taking a sip from his beer.

Jim puts down his beer to correct Thomas.

"You mean, 'the real McCoy'."

Thomas points to the bottom of the scroll.

"No, I mean the Real MacCREY! Look here at the bottom."

The scroll is laid out on the bar, and at the bottom next to Alic's signature is a drawing of the Grale that Alic had made when he wrote the scroll.

Thomas continues. "It is signed by Alic MacCrey."

The TV announcer, Jim Nantz, says Bob's name. Thomas and Jim both look up to see Bob and Duncan waking down the fairway with the Grale in plain view on Bob's bag. Thomas and Jim look at one another then to the drawing on the scroll and back up to the TV. They look at one another again.

"OH' SHIT," they say in unison.

The black Jaguar moves across the Scottish countryside as the late morning sun dries the heavy dew from the road. Daggers taps the brakes lightly then down shifts, turning right onto narrow road that leads to Bothwell Castle.

"Well, did you see them leave?" Daggers asks as he corrects the under steer of the Jag.

"Well no, you woke me! With your monkey dream, besides you’re the one driving!"

Daggers snaps back. "Bloody hell, it’s because I'm driving the car, you twit! You are the look-out!"

Daggers, now having the Jag running straight and true, turns his head to look at Harold.

"You are supposed to LOOK OUT!"

As they pick up speed, the black Solon travels over a rise in the road.

"Look out!"

Daggers spits back. "That's what I said."

Harold points to the road ahead. "No, I mean LOOK OUT!"

Daggers attention is directed back through the windscreen to see a cow standing in the middle of the road.

"Oh' SHIT!" Daggers yells as he slams on the brakes.  The Jaguars noise dips as it skids coming to a stops just before hitting the four legged Heifer.

Harold turns to Daggers with a smiles. "How's that for being a look-out."

Back at the Tavern, Thomas, Jim and Michael have just finished a shot of 'Glenlevet.'

"If this thing is real, and you say it is, the question is how has Bob come to have it?" Jim says Thomas.

Michael stands behind the bar with another shot in hand.

"Aye, lads, that is the question."

He downs his shot.

Jim takes a sip of his beer.

"When Bob comes in tonight, we need to tell him," Jim says.

"Aye lad, that we will," Thomas replies.

Out on the course, Bob's second shot on fourteen has landed him in a deep bunker, 'Hells Bunker.'

"Aye Bobby, a stroke of bad luck," Duncan says as Jay looks over at Bob with a smile while walking to his ball that lays in the fairway.

"I need to go for it," Bob says to Duncan.

Duncan slides the bag from his shoulder setting it upon the ground.

"Aye, laddie, I'm sure you need to do a lot of things. But this not be one of 'em."

Bob steps into the bunker to check his lie.

"How far did you say?"

Duncan looks up and stands on his toes to survey the green.

"95, Bobby. I'm sure you’ve have had better ideas."

"No, not today. Hand me the pitching wedge."

Duncan pulls the club from the bag handing it to Bob.

"It's not how you play the game lad, it's whether or not you can see from where your head is!"

Bob smiles at Duncan as he takes the club.

"Go big or go home, that's how it's done in Texas."

Duncan steps back from the bunker.

"Just like a yank, more balls than brains," he says to himself.

Bob stands on his toes trying to get a look at the green as Feherty is on the fairway, speaking softly into his microphone.

"I don't understand. It looks as if he is going for the green. I'm sure that was not advised by his caddie."

"A decision like that, could put you in the bar early," Johnny adds.

Bob sets his feet into the sandy bottom of the bunker. Gripping his club, he glances from the ball lying at his feet up the steep layered wall of the bunker, crested with spares of long grass swaying in the wind.

He sees the man in a kilt from his dream, standing with fist set upon his hips.

"What the hell are you doin lad?"

Bob leaps from the bunker as Feherty relays what he seeing to the viewers at home.

"Bob seems to have changed his mind rather quickly."

Standing next to Duncan, Bob is riddled with disbelief.

"Did you see that?"

"Did I see what?"

Pointing at the bunker, "Did you see him?"

As Bob turns, he sees the man in the kilt is gone.

"SHIT! What the hell is going on here?" Bob utters.

Feherty moves in a bit closer. "It looks like he's not Sure what to do."

Duncan takes the club from Bob. "Did I see who?" he asks.

Jay looks back at Bob shaking his head as Bob tries to find the words.

"An old guy in a kilt on top of the bunker!"

"No lad, I didn't."

Duncan places a hand on Bob's shoulder.

"Pull yourself together man! This is no time to cracking up. Now pull your Johnny's together, and put it in the
Fairway, aye."

Bob nods taking a deep breath says.

"Let me have the 62."

Feherty describes Bob's display with his kicked up patented golf whisper.

"Well, after an animated conversation with his caddie, Bob is stepping back into the bunker. And wisely, he’s
taking it out to the fairway."

Bob swings, hitting the ball out safety Duncan reaches down with one hand to help Bob up from the bunker.

"Aye Bobby, that's how it's done lad."

Jay birdies the hole and Bob pars. After fourteen holes, the leaderboard shows Jay 2 under after a bogie on twelve, and Bob still at 2 over with the leader holding at 5 under.

Jay has honors on the 'Tom Morris' eighteenth tee after birding 15, 16 and a par at the seventeenth 'Road Hole.' As he removes his three wood from the bag, he glances over to see the shiny silver object that beckons to him hanging from Bob's bag. Striding to the tee box and pulling the right sleeve of his powder blue shirt, he looks over his shoulder at Bob with a smile as he tucks in one side of it past his two inch white belt.

Gently, Jay presses his teed ball into the centuries old, hallo ground. As he rises, the wind begins to swirl, whipping the flags of the gallery seating, snapping back and forth. Eyes fixed on the landing area, he takes two full follow through swings before addressing the ball. Bob stands, as silence surrounds them, watching Jay coil his 5' 7” 175 pound frame. He hits a massive three wood that is drowned by an ocean blast of wind, dropping it some 200 yards out.

Jay slaps his club to the turf in frustration and removes his tee as Bob steps up cleaning the groves of his four iron. He offers Jay a wink and a smile. Feherty stands behind Bob's caddie, offering his observation.

"Bob wisely chooses course management over the course assault that was just attempted by Jay Chou, ending almost in disaster."

Bob's smile fades to a look of focus after making several smooth practice swings. Feherty continues his colorful coverage.

"MacCray seemed to have learned from yesterday’s play.  With a four iron he looks to be set up down the right for a strong fade, challenging the wind."

Just as David described it, Bob hits a textbook power fade playing the wind perfectly, landing the ball just past 'Granny Clark's Wynd.'

With a spring in his step, Bob hands Duncan his club, and Duncan smiles slightly

"Old Mrs. Clark would be proud lad," Duncan says.

As they walk, Bob removes a pull over from side a pouch of his bag as he watches Jay locate his ball. Their pace slows as Jay seems to have found where it came to rest. Duncan lowers the bag to the ground.

"His landed in the knee of the old girl. Make the wrong play, and she'll knee yea right back." Duncan adds.

Bob's reaction is mixed. On the surface a smile emerges followed with a restrained chuckle. On the inside a feeling begins to rise; the wind upon his face has a familiar feel, as he looks around the grandstands, the hotel and the R&A. They all fade away. In that moment he is one with the land, as all sound is lost in the wind until it is broken by the galleries response to Jay's shot.

North in the foothills of the highlands, the Jaguar turns on to a crushed stone road that lays between two large cut stone columns, the entrance to Bothwell Castle. The tires of the Jag grind the small fragments of the many stones left from sieges of the Castle in the 14th century. The Jaguar slows, rolling to a stop in front of the Castle steps.  Daggers and Harold exit the Jaguar and enter through the large wooden doors.

The two men cross through the main entree hall and under the opened curved staircase, opening the doors to the great hall. The Earl Bothwell sits in a large high back chair at the far end of the great hall when Daggers and Harold enter. Two candelabra stands are placed behind his chair on each side, leaving him in the shadows of candlelight.

Daggers and Harold stop between two candle stands that hold far less candles then the Earl's. A darkness hangs between them and Lord Hepburn.

"So, gentlemen, what do you have for me?"

Harold swallows nervously.

"Well, sire, we had them in the Tavern but Mr. Daggersfelt it was best to conduct our surveillance from the car."

Hepburn shifts in the chair from one side to the other.

"Yes… and then?"

"Harold, here, fell asleep Sir."

Harold turns sharply toward Daggers in protest.

"You fell asleep too!"

Hepburn taps the staff of Bothwell on the floor.

"Quiet! No Grale? No Grale scroll? YOU TWITS!"

"But I was driving the car!" Harold cuts in.

"Aye, oh a fine driver you are, you almost hit a standing
cow!"

Hepburn’s voice cuts into the duo's debate.

"Quiet! Just because you are my late sister's only son, don't think I won't put you in the field, shaving sheep,"
he degrades Daggers.

Harold and Daggers turn their full attention back to Lord Hepburn.

"The two of you will return to the tavern, and you will not return until you have the Grale!"

Hepburn taps his staff to the floor, Harold and Daggers bow and then exit the great hall.

Back at the tavern, Jim and Thomas along with Michael, sandwich in hand, watch the TV as they replay Bob's bunker shot.

"We know he has it, but does he know what he has?" Thomas says.

Michael gestures with his sandwich to the TV.

"I say he don't know shit! Look at him, his acting like a bloody knocker."

The TV shows Bob jumping out of the bunker as Jim slides off his stool and heads to the wall of golf.

"I think we should beer board him," Michael continues.

"What's that?" Jim asks

Thomas drops his head, shaking it slightly.

"It's a technique that has been perfected over hundreds of years. See, you take the person of interest, in this case Mr. MacCray. You strap him to a board, then pour beer Down em, till he tells you what you want to know," Michael explains.

Jim turns is shoulders towards the bar. "You're kidding right."

"No, lad. In fact, I have been boarded on several occasions myself — unsuccessfully, I might add."

Jim smiles, shaking his head, and turns back to the photos on the wall.

"We are not going to beer board Mr. MacCray... MacCray! that's it, that's IT!" Thomas says.

Jim returns to the bar, missing something in one of his grandfather’s photos. Thomas removes the scroll from his pocket and unrolls it on the bar.

"Look here, Alic MacCrey, Bob MacCray. They are related! How come I did not see that before?"

"Aye, how come?" Michael mumbles through a mouthful of sandwich.

Jim sets his beer on the bar. "How can that be?"

Michael takes another bite. "Aye, how can that be?"

Thomas continues to decipher the tangled connection.

"Well, sometime in the past, Alic's descendants went to the States, where the last name was changed, simple."

Jim sips his beer. "Sounds pretty thin."

Michael swallows. "Aye, sounds mighty thin!"

Jim adds. "And, from what the scroll says, the King won the match. And your history confirms that fact, so how does Bob come to have it six thousand miles away?"

Michael takes another bite. "Aye, what he said."

Thomas glances down to the scroll.

"It's a long shot, but it's all we have to go on."

Jim watches Michael as he chew a large bit of his sandwich.

"Several times you say?" Michael nods, smiling with a wink.


The shadows of the afternoon sun stretch across the streets of St. Andrews as the Jaguar enters the city. Daggers slows the Jag, bringing it to a stop near the Tavern.

"What's the plan?" Harold asks.

Daggers kills the engine.

"We wait till it’s dark."

Harold's reply is sharp. "Why? Why wait till it’s dark. I am bloody hell droughty."

Daggers reaches to the floor boards behind the passenger’s seat, retrieving a green canvas wrapped canteen. He hands it to Harold.

"This is not what I had in mind."

Unscrewing the thick ribbed chained cap, Harold takes a swig. He quickly rolls down the window and spits it out.

"Aye, you Blootered man! Bulloks. What the bloody hell is
this?"

Daggers head shifts slightly, eyes turned upward in deep thought. As he slides the index finger of his right hand down the side of his face.

"I may have, relieved myself in a moment of need."

Harold spits again out the window wiping his lip with his sleeve saying.

"Bloody disgusting!"

Back on the course, Bob's second shot has left him an eight footer for birdie. Jay's second wasn't so good, landing back right, off the green. His chip lands on the green as the gallery comes to life with yells, "Get in the hole!" Just missing, it rolled past the hole about ten inches.

Jay taps in for his par as Bob places his ball, picking up his marker. The sounds of the gallery fade into the shadows of St. Andrews hotel as Bob lines his putt. Settling in his stance, he looks to the hole. The silence is filled with wind, like an orchestra of whispers, as the flags dance atop the grandstands in a tribal like beat.

Then with the precision of a Swiss pendulum, Bob pulls the putter back and through. The gallery rise's to their feet..

The silence is broken by one of Bob's fans yelling, "Go Texas!"

Just as the ball nears the hole, rumbling from the gallery grows like boiling water, until the ball drops, ending in a crash of symbols. Bob, not being much for the fist pump, tips his hat to the crowd and removes his ball from the hole.

Handing his ball and putter to Duncan, Bob removes his hat and quickly shakes hands with Jay and his caddie.

"Let's get out of here," he says to Duncan.

"Hey Bob, our deal," Jay says.

Bob waves one hand in the air as he walks, turning his head saying over his shoulder.

"Tomorrow, Chou!"

Bob enters one of two scoring tents and closes the fold behind him. After recording his score, he kills a little time by discussing the possible pin placement for the following day. As the light of day begins to fade, Bob makes his way to the clubhouse. He changes his shoes and heads to O'Barry's Tavern. When Bob reaches the corner, looking to his right, a timeless black beauty that sits across the street from the Tavern catches his eye..

Captivated by her large lamps, he moves in for a closer look. Surprised, Harold looks up from his monthly issue of 'Brats & Beers' to see Bob headed right at them. Moving as little as possible, he fist thumps Daggers, who has his nose barred deep into the pages of his monthly issue of 'Fortune hunter', in the left thigh. He snaps back into the moment.

"Shit! Bloody hell," Daggers reacts to the pain.

 

Harold lifts his right hand, pointing through the windscreen to the approaching Mr. MacCray.

"O, SHIT!" Daggers says.

The duo sink low into the seats, pulling up the collars of their coats. Bob, who now stands by the left fender, dips at the waist to see two men in the light of the setting sun. He waves with a smile.

"Aye, great. He wants to make friends, bloody hell," Daggers says.

Bob lightly taps on the passenger window with the knuckle of his right hand. Harold freeze for a moment, then turns his head looking through the glass into Bob's eyes with a smile, holding the palms of his hands up. Bob responds with the universal sign for 'roll down the window.' Harold looks to Daggers just as Daggers twist Harold's right ear when Bob looks away.

Daggers says, "Roll down the window, you sheep trimmer."

Harold turns the handle, lowering the window as Daggers gives him final instruction.

"Act natural."

"Hey man, I like your car."

"Can I help you?" Harold asks, as Bob stands back looking over the front end of the Jag.

"I really like your car; what year is it?"

Harold is puzzled. "What?" He looks to Daggers.

"Tell him it’s ‘39."

Harold looks back to the window to see Bob is now standing at the rear of the car.

"It's a '39."

Daggers slaps the back of Harold's head as Bob walks around the back of the Jag to the driver’s side, tapping on Daggers window. Harold rubs the back of his head as Daggers reaches down turning the window crank.

"Your turn now" Harold says with relief.

He rolls down the window with the smile that got him through every prep school class that had a female instructor.

"Oh, right mate, the year! It's a '39," Daggers says.

Bob steps to the front of the car. "Jaguar, WOW! It's beautiful. How long have you had it?"

Daggers pauses for a moment.

"Oh, it belongs to my employer, the Lord of Bothwell."

Harold now punches Daggers in the leg.

"Wow, a Lord!"

Bob continues to look over the Jaguar with Harold nervously watching.

"Well guys, you have a good evening." Bob says.

Bob crosses the street to the Tavern as Harold and Daggers trade school yard punches.

"What was that?" Harold asks.

"I was acting normal."

"That was normal? Well you’re no James Mason I'll tell
'Yah."

Bob enters the Tavern, making his way to the bar and taking a seat next to Thomas.

"Hello, Mr. MacCray."

Bob squares his shoulders to the bar. "Hello, gentlemen.
And Please call me Bob."

Thomas places a light hand on Bob's shoulder.

"What will you have? A beer perhaps?"

"Definitely something stronger."

"Michael, we have a lad in need" Thomas calls out.

Michael makes his way to that end of the bar. Taking the towel in his hand, he tosses it over his shoulder.

"Aye, indeed, this lad is in need. I have just the thing."

Michael removes a small gold key from his waist coat pocket and unlocks a cabinet above the bar. He removes three leather wrapped bottles placing them on the bar.

"To unbind the mind, and let the soul sing" Michael says.

Bob presses himself against the bar.

"I'm not sure about the soul singing part, but the rest sounds pretty good to me."

Thomas chats with Bob as Michael mixes the first drink.

"I saw your play out there. She treated you rough today."

Bob responds with a confused look. "She what?"

"The course, lad!"

Bob's eyes move from Thomas to Michael.

"Yeah, that she did. But tomorrow is another day I say."

Michael slides Bob's glass in front of him.

"Here you are lad."

Jim’s eyes move from Bob's drink to Michael.

"What's with the three bottles?"

Michael places a finger on the first bottle.

"This one is for the mind. This one is for the soul, and the last one. Is for whatever comes after."

Thomas places his hand on Bob's forearm.

"Aye, Bob, maybe something a bit lighter to start."

"No, this is the perfect place to start." Bob picks up the glass and exhales.

"Here we go!" Lifting it to his lips Michael throws up a hand.

"Aye! Bobby, not all at once! It's a sipper, not a
Tipper."

Closing his eyes, he drinks half the glass. His eyes open  wide as he quickly gasps for air. Michael responds with a slight chuckle.

"Aye, Bobby, I forgot to tell yah, don't breathe."

Thomas puts a hand on Bob's shoulder.

"Easy, Bobby, now breathe."

Bob's eyes have turn glassy as he grips the bar with both hands.

"Oh' shit! Woooo! Now that's worth writing home about!"

Everyone at the bar gets a laugh as Bob collects himself from Michael's drink.

"Bob, let me ask you, what part of the States are you from?" Thomas asks.

"Texas, why?"

Bob tries to shake off the effects of his drink.

"Texas? That seems an odd place for the name MacCray? Your family lived there long?"

"As long as I know, why?"

"Oh, nothing, just that here in Scotland “MacCrey” is a name that goes back many centuries. It was just a thought."

Bob begins to blink as he steps from the bar.

"Excuse me for a one moment."

Bob finishes the rest of his drink, eyes completely glassed over. The first phase of Michael's concoction begins to take effect. In a zombie like state, Bob moves to the side of the Tavern where the pictures of golf's history hang.

Jim looks to Thomas.

"What is he up to?" Jim asks.

"I don't know."

Bob's trance glazed eyes find their way to the area where the pictures of Jim's grandfather hang. Once again, the foggy feeling rises from an unfamiliar place. Sounds become colored shadows of wheeling steel as if in combat. One figure emerges from his vision, holding a sword. It’s the man from his dream and atop the bunker today. As the shadowy vision fades, Bob's eyes become focused on an object protruding from the pocket of James Braid.

"Jim's grand dad, a fine man."

Bob blinks as he leans back looking to his right, to see the voice belongs to Thomas, who hands him a beer.

"That's what I hear."

Placing a hand on Thomas's shoulder, Bob gestures boldly with his fresh libation.

"Lead us to the promised land, Thomas!"

Thomas carefully guides Bob back through the maze of drunk Scotsmen and others alike until the two find their places at the bar. Lifting his beer in the air, Bob makes an announcement in his best Scottish accent.

"Aye, gents, it's time to celebrate!" At this point Bob is feeling no pain, and Thomas tries to help Bob onto a stool.

"Aye, Bobby, what are we celebrating?" Thomas asks.

Bob brushes away Thomas’s assistance.

"No, I will stand, thank you very much! Michael!"

"Aye, captain," Michael says.

Bob lowers his beer, holding onto the bar to steady himself.

"Are we all here?"

"Aye, all present, captain."

Bob looks around with one eye closed.

"Right, my girl is coming to Scotland tomorrow."

Bob holds his glass high in the air. "To Paula!"

All at the bar lift their glasses and respond in kind.

"To Paula!"

Bob places a hand on Thomas's shoulder.

"Did you see that beautiful old Jaguar outside?"

Thomas turns his eyes towards the Tudor style windows of the tavern to see the '39 black Jaguar across the street.

"Aye, she is lad, but beauty can be the devils companion."

Silence falls between them until Bob breaks into laughter, slapping and holding Thomas’s shoulder.

"You’re a funny guy Thomas, that's why I like you."

Thomas places his hand on Bob's shoulder with a smile.

"And I you lad."

A conversation between Michael and Jim draws Bob's attention, and Thomas’s eyes turn back to the Jag through the windows of the Tavern. Saying to himself.

"Bothwell,"

As the light of day gives way to the stretched colors of evening, Jay is at the practice range working on his irons. The wind, a bit lighter than earlier in the day, carries in a misty fog. Walking to his bag, he overhears two golfers talking behind him.

"You know it’s all the little things, your grip, the swing, your tempo, and the follow-through."

"The puzzle is putting it all together," the other golfer adds.

"Yea, and what better place than here, the Holy Grail of Golf."

Jay takes notice of what he has heard. With his nine iron, he hits the last of the balls that lay in front of him. The rolling fog, like white tumble weeds becomes so thick Jay cannot see where his balls are landing.

Hitting one last ball, he grabs his bag and makes his way to the locker room — and then back to his hotel.

Jay, taking a beer from the mini fridge, places the bottle on the table in front of the couch. He steps over to the bed and removes a small wooden box from his travel bag. Sitting on the couch, he sets the box in front of him on the table and picks up his beer. He looks at the box that he has cared for since his twelfth birthday, the day it was given to him, as tradition dictates, by his grandfather.

This small, well-crafted puzzle box with in-laid pearl shell has been in his family for hundreds of years. He gazes at it while enjoying his beer, thinking of all the words he has tried in answering the riddle.

'To rule with a Sword that has no Blade.'

His mind spins with the possibilities. Is the answer from the past, the present, or his future?

Jay picks up the box with one hand, his beer in the other. He reads the riddle again that is formed of Japanese character on the front of the box.

'To rule with a Sword that has no Blade.'

Taking a sip of his beer, he places it on the table, and a thought rolls through his mind like the foggy white tumble weeds. Being here, now in this place, he realizes everything happens for a reason. Through the twist and turns of life, there lies a path for everyone.

Remembering what he had heard on the range earlier, he looks at the top of the box laid with pearl characters. Seeing, like so many times before, the answer is only five characters. He thinks, 'holy grail' is too many letters, and 'holy' is too short.

“Grail is five,” he says to himself.

"What the hell."

He begins sliding the symbols around, and with the last symbol in place, he pressing on the seal. Again, nothing happens.

In frustration, he tosses the box on the table where it jars his beer, turning the bottle so the word 'ALE' on the label shows just above the box. He tilts his head thinking,  'Wow could it be?' He slowly picks up the box, and with the lightest touch, he moves the symbols changing the last three. Pressing the seal, a small wooden pin pops out the side.

A tingle of surprise and amazement rushes through his body as he pulls the pin from the box. When the pin is free, the top lifts off revealing the treasure inside. He removes a rolled piece of paper tied with a band of cloth. Sliding the band off, he unrolls the centuries old scroll. His eyes become wide as he reads Toshi's words that document the creation of the 'Grale' and the power it possess. When he gets to the bottom of the scroll, he sees the drawing Toshi drew of the 'Grale' five centuries ago.

He recognizes the silver trinket that hangs from Bob's bag to be the 'Grale.' Jay's mind begins to spin with all of the power that will soon be his. A song from before he was born begins to play in his head, It’s 'Godzilla' by Blue Oyster Cult.

Back at the Tavern, a light rain begins to fall when Harold and Daggers watch Bob leave in a cab. Harold taps on the dash.

"Follow him!"

Daggers reaches for the key and turns it, but the only sound they hear is a dead ‘click.’

"Bloody hell," Daggers says as he tries it again. Still nothing.

"Get out and check the under the bonnet," he says to Harold.

Harold clenches the seat. "Me! It’s raining out there!"

"Aye, but I'm driving the car!"

"You have an excuse for everything!"

Daggers rolls his hands on the walnut finished stainless steel steering wheel.

"Get out there! Bahhhhh, ring a bell?"

Harold exits the Jaguar.

"Bollocks!"

Harold has the bonnet of the Jaguar open when Thomas and Jim step outside the Tavern. Thomas watches Harold as he closes the bonnet on the Jaguar slipping on the damp cobble stone street before getting in the car. Daggers turns the key, and the Jaguar comes to life, allowing them to drive off into the misty night. Thomas stands holding an umbrella says.

"Jimmy, see that black car? Remember it, for whenever it's near, trouble is not far behind."

 

 

Seventh Chapter

 

The early light of Saturday morning brings new life to those near the top of the leader board. Ground crews prepare the course, grooming the 112 bunkers along with carving new pin placements. Spectators file through the gates, showing their passes with umbrellas in hand, eager to find that special place from where they have watched history for so many years — or for the very first time.

While the outside world ruffles with excitement, in the dark wooded columns of St. Andrews looker room, like Gladiators, the players prepare themselves for the field of battle. Their minds fixed upon that tranquil moment before steel touches turf. The sounds of Gortex being brandished cuts into the silence of tying a shoe. All heads turn to the familiar sound of the member’s door as it swings open.

A voice, as if it was carried on noble winds of an age long ago from the Royal & ancient, rings through the hallowed walls.

"Gentlemen, it's time to take the tee."

Pregame rituals give way to the decision at hand.  'What ball to play?'

Bob does a little pre-stretching exercise to check his weather gear for freedom of movement, and he sees Jay as he passes, slowing his stride to catch Bob's eye with a wink. Bob waves with an awkward smile not understanding what just happened. Checking his phone one last time for a message from Paula and seeing none, he takes a deep breath, places his phone in the locker and makes his way to the course.

The nights drizzle has left a fresh wet coat over St. Andrews as Jim Nantz sits in the broadcast booth.

"Good morning, and welcome back to St. Andrews, and the Third round of the Open Championship. It’s a bit damp out there, with a light breeze and puffy clouds floating above. It seems for now the conditions are perfect for some low scores.”

Jim turns to Johnny. “Who do you think here on day three can make a move?”

“Well, Jay Chou played some great golf yesterday. And MacCray is just kinda hangin on, we haven’t seen him
turn it on yet. I say it’s between our leader, Stroks at seven under and Chou at 4 under.”

Jim addresses the TV viewers as he sends their coverage to Feherty.

“With that said, let’s start with our own David Feherty who is at the practice range."

Jay is warming up on the range when he sees Bob arrive wearing sunglasses, with Duncan at his side.

"Hey, Bob, don't go too far."

Bob holds his arms out like a cross as he steps backwards.

"You can't miss me!"

Feherty makes his way over to interview Jay.

"Jay, you played well the last two days, being three shots back. How do you plan to step it up today?"

"Thank you. I am playing here for the first time. This is a special place. Today, I feel like nothing can stop me
from taking the lead."

"Well that's a tall order for the level of competition out here."

With a cool stare Jay replies.

"Where I am, there is no competition."

Jay smiles and steps away, headed towards Bob as an almost speechless Feherty turns to the camera.

"Well, there you have it, Jay Chou is on a mission to go to the front. Back to you."

In the booth, Johnny looks to Jim.

"Well, that is a side of Jay we have not seen before."

"Yes, we will see how this new found level of confidence works for him today."

Looking through the swing guru's and caddies, Feherty can see Jay is headed in Bob MacCray’s direction. His mic is still hot.

"Hey, guys, I can see that Jay is walking over to talk with Bob MacCray. Possibly to share some of that new
found attitude."


Bob has his back to Jay signing autographs, as Jay taps on his shoulder saying.

"Hey, MacCray, do you have something for me?"

Signing a hat, Bob doesn’t look up. "And what would that be?"

"You know, our deal!"

Bob refuses to acknowledge Jay’s presents, continuing to sign golf balls, hats and other such things, as he toys with Jay’s impatience.

"Refresh my memory."

Now frustrated, Jay’s insistence builds.

"You know what I mean MacCray, the Graa… that bottle-opener looking thing."

Bob turns around locking eyes with Jay.

"Oh, yeah, a deals a deal."

Bob steps to his bag, untying the Grale, he pauses, having a flashback, similar to the one in the antique shop.

"Come on Bob, no backing out now!" Jay's words snaps him out of his daze. He turns, handing the Grale to Jay.

"Here you go."

Jay grabs the Grale from Bob and quickly walks away.

"It seems Bob MacCray has given Jay a token, perhaps a passing of the guard here in this land of myth and
Legends of Golf" Feherty says.

In the crowd surrounding the practice range is Harold and Daggers dressed in 40s vintage golf wear, watching Bob, the Grale, and now Jay, closely.

At the Tavern, Jim and Thomas watch Bob being introduced on the first tee. Seeing Bob's bag with no Grale in sight, they look at one another confused. Bob tees off and walks down the fairway with Duncan. Back in the broadcast booth Nantz and Miller discuss the day ahead with the Old Course in the background.

"Here we are on a cloudy damp day with weather possibly being a factor later on. Johnny, what do you feel is the key to today's play?""

Johnny leans forward resting his forearms on the desk.

"Here on the shores of St. Andrews keeping the ball out of the wind and out of bunkers that are unlike any in
the world."

Jim transitions to live play. "Let’s go out to David Feherty who is on the course."

David stands in the large deep bunker on the 'Road Hole' seventeen.

"As you can see, I can't see the green even if I try,”  David climbs out of the bunker.

"I can see the green from here, as MacCray did yesterday."  David steps back into the bunker.

"These pot bunkers are placed around the Old Course as  if they were made from the end of a Mashy by the golf Gods themselves. And you most certainly will need their help to get out of one. Back to you."

Jim quickly redirects the coverage back outside.

"Feherty never fails to inform us of golf's mystical past. Let’s go to the first tee for the introduction of our
Leader’s."

The gallery around the first tee is thick with spectators as Yohan Stroks enters through a gap in the crowd. Like 'Elvis' stepping onto a stage, the starter says.

"The 1:40 tee time, from Scandinavia, welcome Yohan Stroks!"

The gallery goes wild as Yohan spins his cape from his shoulders, tossing it onto his caddy.

Johnny remarks on Yohan's play in the first two rounds.

"He does it like no one else. Our leader, Yohan Stroks  has had perfect ball placement, avoiding those bunkers
along with the knee-high rough for the first two days."

Yohan tees his ball like a stretching flamingo, moves back to his caddie, known as the 'professor.' He whispers in Yohan's ear something that makes him giggle.

Yohan returns to his teed ball and proceeds with his practice swings and stretching that resembles a ballet dancer warming up. He addresses the ball, hitting a perfect drive down the middle, to the gallery’s applause.

"The 1:40 tee time From Japan. Welcome Jay Chou!"

Jay takes the tee with an eye of the tiger, hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway past Yohan's. The gallery shows their appreciation for the two men as they walk off the tee.

Nantz comments on Jay's drive as he walks with his caddie.

"A beautiful shot by Jay. It seems he will need more of that to put any pressure on Stroks, who has a three shot lead."

In the tavern, Thomas and Jim watch Jay tee-off. As the TV shows him walking the fairway, Thomas looks away when Jim sees Jay's caddie carrying his bag with the 'Grale' clearly in view. Jim pops off his bar stool.

"Did you see that?"

Jim points at the TV as Thomas looks at Jim, and then up to the TV that has gone to a commercial.

"Did I see what?"

"THAT! On that guy's bag!"

"What are you talking about?"

Jim leans over the bar yelling out.

"Michael!"

Michael steps from the back room.

"Aye, Jimmy, what you be babbling about?"

"Where, where is your remote?!"

Michael rolls up on his toes scanning the tavern.

"Katie! Where are the clickers?"

Kate is taking an order at a table and turns her shoulders
toward the bar.

"Behind the Glen Scotches!" She then turn back to the table, with her voice that is sweet, like Scottish honey.

“What will you be havin’ Gentlmen?”

Michael digs behind some bottles at the bar and finds the remote. He hands it to Jim who presses the back button until the TV displays Jay and his caddie, and then he hits pause.

"Do You See?!"

Thomas and Michael look at one another and then at Jim.

"Oh SHIT," they exclaim together.

Back on the course, Jay birdies the first and Yohan pars. On the rest of the front nine Jay takes bold and risky shots, thinking with the 'Grale' in his possession he can do no wrong. This type of play puts him three over through nine. On the tenth tee, Jay looks at the leaderboard that shows Bob on twelve at one over and Stroks at seven under.

 

At the Tavern, Thomas is dismayed by the current situation,

"Why does Jay have it? And how do we get to him?" he asks.

Jim shakes his head, tapping the side of his glass of beer.

"Then what? Just tell him? He won't buy it. We had our chance with Bob."

Thomas takes a long drink of his beer.

"Well, that's behind us now. We will need to tell Bob
what we know. That's all there is to it," Thomas says.

Michael stands behind the bar wiping a glass.

"Aye, I think we should beer board him, 'till he tells
us what he knows?"

Thomas and Jim look at Michael exasperate.

"No beer boarding," they say together.

Half a world away, in Irving Texas, Paula sits at her round oak eagle claw kitchen table with a cup of coffee and her laptop. Checking the current weather conditions in St. Andrews, the time is 2:00am. From the kitchen table she can see the living room TV that's on the Golf Channel showing Bob teeing off on number ten. Taking a sip from her coffee, she looks to her computer screen to see the overnight temps are in the low 50s.

Having everything packed but her carry on, Paula looks to a stack of student’s papers that need grading. She knows her flight is at 4am, and Dallas Fort worth airport is twenty minutes away.

She closes her computer and takes the last sip of coffee. With the remote in hand, she turns off the TV, placing the remote on the stack of papers. She puts her cup in the dishwasher and turns off the kitchen light as she makes her way to the bedroom to change into her travel clothing. Slipping out of her pajamas, she steps into her walk-in closet and picks out her favorite jeans. She slides them on.

A smile comes to her face as the soft, stone washed cotton rubs against her skin. She remembers they are Bob's favorite jeans too. She changes bras, picks the perfect sweater, and grabs a pair of low heal boots. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she pulls them on. With her travel bag rolling behind her, and a carry on in hand, she opens the door to the garage. Placing both bags in the trunk of her white SLK 350, she heads to the airport with not much time to spare.

Working her way through early morning traffic, Paula selects disc one, track one of a CD called 'Reflections,' a group from Ventura, CA. Last year her and Bob visited her sister Tracie, who lives on a boat in the harbor there. It was Tracie's birthday, and friends of hers threw a party for Tracie at a restaurant called Margarita Villa. The locals refer to it as the 'Villa.' As the song begins to play, she remembers how happy her sister was that she and Bob had made the trip.

It was a beautiful September day in the harbor as her and Bob took the single flight of stairs to the 'Villa' that sits above the harbor’s family arcade. Her and Bob met all of Tracie's good friends, as well as Tracie's youngest, Kyle and her daughter Sabrina who manages the Villa.

For her mother’s birthday she hired a local group to play called 'The shoemakers.' Paula remembers listening to the music out on the patio that overlooks the harbor. As the sun set, Tracie pointed out the unique landmarks of Ventura, Two trees and Topa, Topa.

That afternoon Paula fell in love with the harbor, Ventura and the surrounding area. Her and Bob even kicked around the idea of moving there in the future. The day after Tracie's party, it was Bob's idea to take the four of them to a place called 'Ojai Valley Inn' for round of golf. Tracie, who Bob always said has a great natural swing, was joined by her boyfriend Layne, who is an artist and aspiring writer.

With the tower of Dallas airport in view, Paula uses the hands free voice system to call for her flight info, one
of the many features in her Benz she enjoys so much. It was Tracie that inspired her to go with the SLK model. Tracie had one too, a birthday gift to herself. Taking the turn off to the airport entrance, Paula goes into travel mode mentally preparing for the ten hour flight.

Back in Scotland, Bob is on the eighteenth green standing over a twenty foot putt for birdie. He sets the putter behind the ball, looks to the hole and back. He pulls the putter back and through, sending the ball on a perfect line to the hole. The gallery cheers as Bob’s ball rolls almost to a stop before dropping into the cup. Reacting with a shoulder level fist pump, he tips his cap to the gallery and walks graciously to the hole, removing his ball.

Handing his putter to Duncan, Bob removes his cap and shakes hands with his playing partner. Looking to the leader board, he sees that birdie putt put him one under. Jay is now two over on sixteen, with Yohan still at seven under.

Harold and Daggers have been watching Jay from tee to green on every hole. Now Jay stands on the eighteenth green where his second shot lands some sixty feet from the hole. Jay checks the line of his putt and moves up on the ball.-re-gripping, he looks to the hole and back to the ball, pulling the putter back and through. The Ball runs on a perfect line. Halfway to the hole there is a slop that he plays just right. The ball slows, and rolling off the top it turns right headed for the hole.

As the gallery comes to life, they rise to their feet when Jay's ball reaches the hole and lips out, stopping four feet away. The cries from the gallery are felt by Jay as he nearly drops to his knees. Frustration and a sense of disbelief washes over him as he walks to his ball.

He quickly sets himself behind his ball and rushes it, missing the four foot putt. He taps in for bogie. Jay shakes hands with Yohan and makes his way through the gallery as Harold and Daggers stay close behind.

In the tavern, Thomas and Jim watch Jay miss his par putt. Jim gestures with his beer towards the TV.

"It appears it's not working for him."

"Aye, he played like a man with no soul, no heart, only Victory," Thomas says.

"Innkeeper," he adds, holding his empty glass up with a smile.

After leaving the scorer’s tent, Jay walks along the cleared path in the gallery towards the clubhouse. When Daggers is almost close enough to reach Jay and the Grale, he is stopped by a woman course worker.

"Players only chumly!"

Daggers looks down to see a very short, elderly Scottish woman who is looking up at him, pointing to the right.

"On your way" She says with a smile.

Bob is sitting at his locker and greets Jay when he walks in.

"Hey, Jay, rough out there?"

Jay opens his locker. "Yeah!"

"The dam thing didn't work out there," he mutters to himself.

"What's that?" Bob asks.

"I said, nothing worked out there!"

Jay sits, removing his shoes as Bob walks over.

"Hey, sorry for giving you a hard time about your shoes."

Jay looks up. "What?"

Bob sits down across from Jay, bearing his ill will.

"You know, the bet we made, which you clearly won. But if you didn’t, what I said I was going to do with your shoes, sorry about that."

Jay looks down, untying his shoes with a slight smile as Bob continues.

"Hey, how bout we go get a drink, my treat."

Jay grabs his street shoes from his looker.

"I don't know."

Bob stands. "Come on, it's a great place, just a bunch of locals, the best thing to shake off the day." Bob claps his hands. "What do you say?"

Jay stands, pointing his finger at Bob.

"Sure, ok, but no shoe jokes."

"Great, we can't make it too late though, my girl flies in onight."

"Oh' the one you were going to give my shoes too?"

Bob stops and turns. "Hah! Yea but, they're not her style, too much heel."

Jay gives Bob a disappointing look as Bob starts to back up, gesturing with his thumb.

"I'll just wait for you outside."

Harold and Daggers are outside near a food vendor waiting for Jay to leave the clubhouse.

"I am hungry! When was the last time we ate?" Harold asks.

"Lunch, yesterday. You're thinking of eating that?"

"Haggis is a fine snack, if it's properly prepared."

"I didn't know that there was a proper way to prepare sheep’s colon," Daggers says with a disgusted look.

Harold digs into his pockets for his money.

"I'm having one, and you?"

"You're not seriously going to eat that? It will rot you from the inside out."

Harold hands the vendor a five pound note.

"Let me have the dill meat and barley." And then he turns to Daggers. "It's perfectly safe. My family has eaten it for centuries."

Daggers, being a colonized Englishman, concedes.

"That explains it."

Daggers looks back to the clubhouse and spots Bob and Jay exiting a door farther away from where they stand.

"Stuff it Harold! We are on the move."


Harold turns with haggis in hand to see Daggers moving through the crowd.

"Wait! I just got my sausage!"

Bob and Jay turn the corner, crossing the street to O'Barry's. Daggers just makes the corner to see the two men enter the tavern.

"Bulloks! Bulloks!" Daggers exclaims.

Behind Daggers stands Harold chewing a mouth full of haggis.

"What?"

"They slipped into the tavern." Daggers then turns, facing Harold.

"Bloody disgusting!"

Harold is clueless to what has happened.

"What?"

In the Tavern, Thomas sees Bob with Jay enter through the front door making their way to the bar. A nervous Thomas rubs the palms of his hands as Bob reaches the bar.

"Aye, Bobby, so glad to see ya," says Thomas.

Bob turns, letting Jay step forward.

"Thomas, I would like you to meet Jay Chou, the greatest golfer from the sands of Japan."

Thomas shakes Jay's hand. "It's a pleasure, Jay."

A thousand thoughts are running through Thomas's mind, but three stand out: how, why and when.

"Would you lads care to join us?" Thomas quickly offers.

Bob looks to Jay, then back to Thomas. "Sure, that's why we’re here."

Michael has worked his way to Thomas and the others.

"What are you lads having?"

"Beer," both Bob and Jay reply.

"Two Fowlers coming up."

Michael grabs two glasses as Thomas looks to Bob.

"Quite a day out there eh?"

"Yeah, you could say that, but not so much for me as for Jay here."

Thomas turns to Jay. "Aye, we saw your play today Jay, it was..."

Jay interrupts. "It was ugly, is what it was."

He shakes his head and sips his beer.

"That's the truth, laddie," Thomas says with a smile as he turns to the bar calling for the bartender.

"Michael!"

Harold and Daggers enter the Tavern, fitting in somewhat with their vintage golf wear. They quietly take a booth on one side of the Tavern near the bar.

Michael walks toward Thomas. "Aye, Tommy! What is it now?"

"Four shots of the Highlander, and one for yourself as well."

"Aye!"

Michael turns, grabs a leather wrapped bottle and five shot
Glasses, lining them on the bar.

"Tommy, have you told them yet?"

Thomas, sipping his beer, almost spits it out. Jim interjects, thinking quickly.

"You know, the party."

Michael, as he pours the shots, gives Jim a confused look.

"THE PARTY? What bloody party?"

Thomas looks at Michael, shaking his head ever so slightly, and turns to Bob and Jay.

"It was supposed to be a surprise."

"What for?" Bob asks.

"For the new guys," says Jim.

Thomas follows Jim's lead, placing his hand on Bob’s shoulder.

"Aye, the new hackers to St. Andrews, like yourselves."

"Yeah, like Bob is from America, I'm from America, and Jay is from," Jim pauses, "Japan."

The look on Bob and Jay's faces shows they are not buying it. Michael shakes his head as he finishes pouring the last shot.

"Bulloks! I'm always the last to know."

Thomas quickly picks up two shots, handing them to Bob and Jay. Jim takes his as does Thomas.

"Gentlemen, Michael." Lifting his glass, Thomas continues.

"To all that are here, and to those who have come and gone, to St. Andrews. The Holy Grale of golf."

All that are close enough to hear Thomas's toast respond.

"Here, Here."

Thomas looks directly into the eyes of Jay.

After they down their shots, Jay looks right at Thomas.

"You know?" asks Jay.

Thomas offers a wink. "Aye, laddie we do."

Michael collects the empty shot glasses.

"Hell, it's about bloody time," he says.

"Know what?" Bob asks in confusion.

Thomas place a hand on Bob's shoulder, looking to Michael.

"I believe we need a more private place to talk."

Michael gestures with his bar towel.

"Take the booth in the back."

Daggers and Harold watch Thomas and the others walk towards them, picking up the menus to hide their faces as the four walk passed.

Bob walks in front of Jay, looks back.

"What the hell is going on?"

Thomas turns left at the end of the bar, stepping through the velvet drapes followed by Jim.

"You don't know, do you?" says Jay.

"Right now, I don't know shit."

Bob follows Jim with Jay close behind as they enter the backroom.

The booth that Michael suggested is back to back with Daggers and Harold's booth that’s in the main part of the tavern, separated by a partition from floor to ceiling.

Anxiously, Thomas looks at Jay and gets right to the point.

"Do you have it with you?"

"Yes."

In the lamp’s flickering light that hangs on the wall above the table, Jay removes the Grale from his coat pocket, placing it in the middle of the table.

"Oh! That's what this is all about," Bob says.

Thomas picks up the Grale, holding it ever so carefully thinking of the centuries it has seen.

"Bob, you don't know what this is, do you?" Thomas asks as he gazes upon the Grale. "No, of course you don't."

Bob feels like the odd man out.

"No, I don't! It's just something I picked up in a gift
shop."

"Where?" Jim quickly asks.

Bob gestures with his hand.

"Here in St. Andrews, why?"

Jay reaches into his other pocket.

"But there is something else."

He places Toshi's scroll on the table.

"Wait! Wait! What the hell is going on here?" Bob asks.

Jim then places Alic's scroll next to Jay's as Thomas sits silently still gazing at the Grale.

"You wouldn't believe it if we told you," Jim says to Bob.

Jim then slides Alic's scroll in front of Bob.

"You need to read this."

Thomas's gaze is broken by Jim's movement, seeing the scroll that Jay has placed on the table.

"What's this?"

"There has been a puzzle box in my family for centuries. And until last night, no one knew what was inside."

Bob reads the Alic MacCrey scroll and places it on the table.

"Woh, woh, woh. you're telling me this thing, The Grale,  is five hundred years old?"

"That's right,” Jim replies. “From what Thomas knows about its history. It verifies the match between King James IV and Earl of Bothwell."

Thomas hands the Grale to Jim and picks up Jay's ancestral scroll. "What does it say?"

"It chronicles the making of the Grale by Toshi, an assistant of a silversmith named Alic MacCrey who casted the Grale for the Earl."

Bob places both hands out on the table.

"This does not make any sense. I found this, this thing that looks more like a bottle opener at a gift shop!"

Thomas puts Jay's scroll down.

"No, it makes perfect sense. The last person we know who had the Grale was…"

Daggers leans back, holding his ear close to the booth partition as Harold leans forward.

"What are they saying?"

Daggers holds his index finger to his lips.

"Shush!"

Harold moves to Daggers side of the table.

"Move over!"

Thomas continues. "James Braid, Jim's grandfather who died in 1950. Then Bob here, out of the blue, finds it in a local gift shop. Bob, do you think the silversmith's name 'Alic MacCrey', is a coincidence?"


Thomas pauses as they all look at one another and then Thomas continues.

"Then, Jay here, has a puzzle box that has been in his family for hundreds of years. And here in St. Andrews he is able to finally open it, and find a scroll written by the silversmith's assistant describing the creation
of the Grale. Coincidence? I say, nay, nay! I say tis fate!"

Looking at one another in silence once again, Thomas poses a final question.

"The question is, why?"

Bob lowers his head slightly.

"Well, that explains it."

"Explains what?" Jim asks.

Bob looks up. "My crazy dream, and the old man on the course in the kilt that wasn't there."

Thomas looks to Jay. "What about you, anything?"

Jay tilts his head a bit.

"Well, after reading the scroll, then having the Grale,  I felt nothing could stop me from winning. What happened was I stopped myself."

Thomas, sitting to the outside of the booth, stands and picks up the Grale.

"This was made to unite men, not to serve the vanity of just one."

Jay drop his head to Thomas's words as Thomas continues.

"We must agree that the Grale belongs in the Royal & Ancient."

Jay, Jim and Bob look at one another nodding in agreement as
Thomas adds.

"Then it's settled." Thomas concludes. He turns, stopping Michael as he walks past.

Bob looks to Thomas with relief.

"Great! So no more old guys in kilts scaring the shit out of me!, I'm glad that's over."

"All is not bliss, quite yet." Thomas says as he slips the Grale into his coat pocket.

"We have a problem. The Earl of Bothwell has two men in the tavern that, I'm sure, are waiting for you two to
leave."

Confused Bob says. "I thought this guy was dead."

Thomas rolls his eyes. "This is his ancestor.  Anyway, Michael has a plan to get you out of here."

Entering from the bar through the heavy drapes, Michael invites them to continue their fellowship.

"Aye, but before we break up this Bulloks rubbin party,  one more round on Thomas, aye."

Michael step through the curtain as Harold moves back to the other side of the booth. Michael watches Harold and Daggers as he pours the beers, and then he places them on a tray with one shot of whisky. He returns to the back room, setting the tray of beers on the table.

"Here you go Lads. You know the Grale was made in a different time, for a different world. The true Grale
lays in your heart, so play with all your heart."

The four men lift their beers as Michael holds his shot in a toast.

"To the 'Grale' and to our wives, and our lovers, in hopes they shall never meet." Michael downs his shot.

"It seems you lads have two admirers out front."

Bob and Jay look at one another.

"So, there's nothing strange about that," Jay says.

Michael can’t disguise his 'no shit' attitude.

"I don't think their type is looking for an autograph and photo, Einstein."

A look of oh, yea comes to Jay's face as Michael continues.

"But I have a plan, when you hear the bell, move like hell."

He excuses himself and returns tending to the crowded bar.

Bob looks at Thomas.

"What the hell was that!"

"When you hear the bell…"

"No, not that, the thing about wives and lovers."

"Oh, that, it’s a Russell Crow thing, 'Master and Commander.' He’s a bit of fan."

Bob smiles while Jim and Jay have a good chuckle. They continue to drink and talk of the last three days.

Bob takes his last sip of his beer, looking to head out.

"Well, it's getting late, I've got to get going."

He places his empty glass on the table.

"Paula is flying in tonight."

"Paula?" Jim asks.

Jay cuts in. "Yeah, his girlfriend, the one with the big feet."

Bob gives Jay a disapproving look. "No, not really. Just bigger than yours."

Then, with a smile, Bob asks, "You stayin, Jay?"

Jay drains what's left of his beer. "Nope."

"Let's go, little feet."

Bob slides out of the booth and looks at Thomas.

"So, no more old guys in kilts that no one else can see?"

Thomas places his left hand on Bob's shoulder as they shake hands.

"No guarantees laddie."

Bob and Jay exit from the back room, as they move through the Tavern, crowded with town locals, farmers from the north and anyone else looking to get their Blooter on.

When Michael sees Harold and Daggers start to move from their booth, he gives three rings of a large brass bell mounted behind the bar. This signals the experienced locals to stand in a unifying toast to the final day’s matches, which impedes Jay and Bob's pursuers.

Outside the tavern in the drizzle, Bob and Jay enter a cab headed for their hotel. When Harold and Daggers make it to the heavy oak door of the tavern, they see the cab turn at the end of the street. The two men run to the Jaguar, and Harold slips rounding the boot on the slick cobble stone street. Daggers enters cleanly, like a formula one driver at la mens. He quickly turns the key, and finding first gear, he takes off as Harold tries to pull himself up by the handle of the boot.

For a chubby fellow, Harold is quick to his feet, shoe surfing the wet Coble stone streets. The echoing sounds of his protest can be heard into the misty night air of St. Andrews.

"Wait, Bloody hell, Waaaaait!"

Bob and Jay's cab arrives at their hotel, and they both exit and enter the lobby as Bob stops at the check-in desk to ask if a woman had arrived looking for him. The night clerk replies 'No.'

Then Jay asks, "Are you headed up?"

Bob shakes Jay's hand. "Na, she should be here soon."

"Okay, good luck with Yohan tomorrow."

Bob smiles. "Thanks."

The black Jaguar rolls up the street, stopping just short of the hotels entrance. In the Jaguar, Daggers checks his watch, 9:45pm. Harold opens the passenger door and is completely out of breath. Not making the last turn, he took a tumble and jogged the last two blocks. Breathing hard and heavy like a yak in winter, he’s barely audible.

"Let's… go!"

Daggers grabs Harold's coat, pulling him into the car.

"Wait, patience Harold."

Harold slumps in the passenger seat, needing a full breath for each word.

"But… they're… both… in… there! We… have 'em!"

He closes his eyes in a large exhale while Daggers is looking at the hotel.

"I'm thinking of something MacCray said."

At that moment, Daggers through a rain spotted wind screen,
sees a cab pull up, and a woman exits, entering the hotel.

"You see, Harold, when you are patient, wonderful things can
happen. Hmmmm."

Bob greets Paula with a hug and a kiss. They sit in the lobby together.

"It is so good to see you!"

Paula smiles. "And I, you." Paula places her hand on the side of Bob's face.

Daggers moves the Jaguar closer to the hotel.

"One must seize the opportunity, to win the day," he says.

Harold, somewhat recovered from his street cross work out,  is able to form full sentences.

"You’re not quoting Winston Churchill again? Are you! This is not one of your military operations. We get the
'Grale thingee' that's it!"

Daggers checks his watch again and pencils some notes.

"Every day should be lived with military precision."

Back in the hotel lobby, Bob draws Paula’s hand from his
face.

"How was your flight?"

"Good, but the food was dreadful."

With a smile, Bob looks into Paula’s soft hazel eyes.

"I'm sure it beats the local cuisine."

Paula responds with crooked smile. "Great."

"No, no. I'm sure the food at your hotel is fine."

Paula looks into Bob's eyes with a smile.

"How are you doing?"

Bob's eyes shift away. "Ok."

"Bobby, what is it?"

Bob's eyes turn back to her.

"Just some strange shit going on."

Gives Paula the smile he loves so much.

"I will tell you all about it after tomorrow."

Paula straightens the bottom of her sweater as she stands

"Alright, my love, it's late and I'm exhausted. Plus it's an early morning for you."

Bob stands, kisses Paula slowly, holding her as close as possible, her face in his hands looking into her eyes.

"You are the sun in winter, that warms my heart."

A chill rushes over her as she holds back rising tide of emotion that has been dormant for so long.

With their foreheads pressed together, Paula kisses Bob quickly. and then draws away.

"My carriage awaits."

She smiles like an angel, with just the right amount of devil. Bob nods with a smile, walking her out to her cab.  As the door closes, the cab pulls away from the hotel. When Bob turns and enters the hotel, Daggers fires the Jag, tailing Paula's cab.

The duo follow Paula through the wet streets to her hotel. Paula exits the cab and enters the lobby. The Jaguar stops down the street. Pulling the e-brake, Daggers issues a military-style order.

"Stay here, stay down." He rolls out the driver’s door.

Making his way to the lobby window, he sees the desk clerk hand Paula her room key, 312. Under cover of the shadows, Daggers slips his way back to the Jag.

Paula, after placing her things on the bed, unbuttons her jeans and steps into the bathroom. She finds a beautiful old cast iron tub. “Perfect,” she thinks. The only thing missing is good bottle of wine. There’s a knock at the door as she starts to remove her sweater.

"Who is it?" she asks, leaning her head out the bathroom door.

"Room service, Miss."

"I did not ask for room service."

The voice from the hall replies.

"Champagne Miss, compliments of the hotel."

“Perfect,” she thinks again. And like a beautiful trout that is captivated by something sparkly, this changes everything; she thinks the hot bath won’t be a total waste.

Unlocking the door, she turns the handle. The door quickly swings open as Daggers places a white chloroformed cloth over her face, forcing Paula back in the room. Harold grabs her feet, pushing the door closed with his foot. They carry Paula onto the bed, and Daggers holds the cloth over Paula's nose and mouth until the fight in her eyes is gone.

Moments later, the duo emerges from Paula’s room, holding her up by her arms between the two of them. Her toes drag along the hotel hallway floor as they struggle with her limp body, now wrapped in the drapes from her room.

A lampshade wobbles upon her head.

"Keep your side up," Daggers insists.

"I am! Her leg must be longer on this side."

As they shuffle Paula down the hallway, an older couple turns the corner and walks towards them. They squeeze to one side, allowing the couple to pass.

"Our friend here has been the life of the party," Harold explains.

In the alley, Harold struggles to put Paula in the trunk, his shoes sliding on the slick hotel dumpster treated surface as Daggers waits patiently. Finally, hearing the click of the trunk, Daggers begins to drive off just as Harold grabs the door. He opens it, hopping on one foot before leaping into the Jag.

 

 

                                                                                  Eighth Chapter

 

Paula sits at the end of a long table, her wrist handcuffed to the arms of an eighteenth century chair. The lampshade is still upon her head, and Harold stands on one side with Daggers the other.

A dark figure looms at the far end of the table, once again shadowed by two tall multi-tiered candle stands; it is Lord Bothwell.

"What is this? I asked you to bring me the Grale!"

"I told you," Harold says out of the corner of his mouth.

Sir Hepburn’s patience quickly begins to run thin. "Well,
speak up!"

Daggers clears his throat. "Sir, as you can see, this is not the Grale."

Hepburn strikes his staff to the floor. "No shit!"

A mumbling sound drifts from under the lampshade as it begins to sway.

"You were to bring me the Grale! Instead, you bring me a mumbling bobble head lampshade!"

Daggers holds the lampshade with his right hand

"Yes, Sir. It may appear that way, But instead of going out and taking the Grale, the Grale will come to us."

Hepburn looks around the large empty dining room.

"Can anyone tell me what the hell he is carrying on about?"

"I think what ..." Harold begins.

Hepburn interrupts him immediately. "I don't believe you are the thinker in this Bulloks of a pair!"

Harold tucks his chin in, feeling defeated.

"Sir, MacCray doesn't have the Grale. In fact, we don't know who has it," explains Daggers.

Daggers removes the lampshade. "But with her, the Grale will come to us!"

Paula's hair is wrapped around her head like spaghetti on a fork. Her mouth is taped as she starts to wake up.

"And, she is?"

"MacCray's girlfriend, my Lord."

Daggers hands the lampshade to Harold behind Paula's chair.

"It seems, Mr. Daggers, that your double '0' training has paid off at last."

"Double '0' training?" Harold asks.

Paula is now alert enough to follow the conversation like a tennis match.

"Yes, double '0' training. From which he was snubbed."

Harold giggles. "You failed double '0' training?"

Daggers shifts uncomfortably.

"It's an unfortunate family trait. I can't hold my breath for more than 30 seconds."

Harold lets out a laugh. "My goldfish can hold its breath for more than 30 seconds!"

Hepburn strikes his staff again to the floor.

"ENOUGH!"

He turns his attention to Paula. "Miss, you must understand we mean you no harm. If I have Harold remove the tape, you must promise to remain calm, do you understand?"

Paula nods.


"If not, I will have no choice but to call in the doctor," Hepburn adds.

Paula nods again. Hepburn gestures to Harold to remove the tape. Harold begins to peel back the tape from the corner of her mouth as Paula starts to mutter.

"O' shit! What the hell! Pull it,"

Harold rips the tape from her mouth.

"Shit, that hurts," she yells.

Hepburn brings a finger to his mouth. "Shsssh! I told you to remain calm, yes. If not, you will force me to call 'The Doctor.'"

Paula takes a deep breath, shaking her hair back.

"I am calm. Who are you guys? And what the hell is this Grale thing?"

Hepburn taps his staff lightly. "First, introductions are in order. On your right is Harold, my late sisters only son. To your left is Mr. Daggers. And I am Sir Hepburn, The Lord of Bothwell, at your service. And you are?"

Paula stretches the tape residue from corners of her mouth.

"Paula, Paula Smith."

"Paula, Your friend Mr. MacCray has, or had, something that rightfully belongs to the House of Bothwell."

Paula razes her cuffed hands, palm side up replies.

"And that means what to me? Can we do without these cuffs?"

"For the moment, no."

A man in a white coat and gloves places a Victorian style phone in front of Paula.

Hepburn continues. "Due to events I do not fully understand, and the initiative of Mr. Daggers, we are in somewhat of a pickle."

"You have the number?" Hepburn asks Daggers.

Bob has been asleep for about an hour when the phone rings. In the dark, he reaches for the handle, and the clock next to the bed shows 11:55pm.

"Hello?"

"Bobby, it’s Paula. You need to listen to me very carefully.  I am being held by the Lord of Bothwell."

Bob throws the sheets from the bed and turns on the light, rubbing his eyes.

"What!"

Paula remains calm. "He wants something called the Grale?"

Bob pauses, sliding his right hand alongside his face and then through his hair

"Hello, Bobby?" Paula asks.

"I don't have it, No wait, don't tell them that."

Paula smiles for her hosts.

"Tell him I have it."

Paula smiles again. "He has it!"

Hepburn thinks for a moment.

"Tell Mr. MacCray he is to play in the final round tomorrow with the Grale. Oh, yes... and win."

Paula presses her lips to the receiver being held by Daggers.

"Did you hear that?" asks Paula.

Bob is now on his feet, and he begins to pace the floor.

"He wants me to what! ... Win, the Open? He's crazy!"

"Love you too, darling." Daggers pulls the phone from her face and speaks to Bob directly.

"We will call the tavern tomorrow in the morning with further instructions." Daggers places the ivory handle receiver on the gold prongs of the phone.

"Hey I wasn't finished! That's just rude! You guys really  suck at this cloak and dagger shit!"

The man in the white coat and gloves steps in front of the Daggers to Paula's chair, sticking her in the neck with a syringe. While in mid-sentence of describing their poor planning, her speech slows as her head drops forward. Daggers quickly places a throw pillow under her head, before hitting the table.

"Show our guest Miss Smith to her room," Sir Hepburn instructs.

Bob stands with the phone still to his ear. "Shit!"

He quickly hangs up and dials the front desk.

"I need the number for O'Barry's Tavern. Oh, you can, great."

Bob waits for it to ring.

"Aye, O' Barry's Tavern."

"Michael?"

"Aye, tis I"

"This is Bob MacCray."

"Eh, Bobby what can… "

Bob immediately interrupts his pleasantries. "Shut up and listen, call Thomas and tell him to get his ass down there NOW!"

Bob then slams the phone down.

Michael holds out the black receiver of the old wooden wall mount phone, looking at it with a shocked glare. He taps  the receiver cradle for the operator. Bob arrives at the tavern fifteen minutes later; he is hot, and he heads right for Thomas.

"Thomas! What the hell have you gotten me into!?"

"What on earth do you mean?"

Bob grabs Thomas by his coat.

"This Bothwell character has Paula and won't let her go till he gets the Grale!"

Michael, standing behind the bar, grabs a bat from under the bar, quickly holding it to Bob's chin.

"Easy lad. That's my friend you've got there."

Bob, moving only his eyes, looks down at the bat.

"So now, let's all take a deep breath," Michael says.

The three freeze for a moment until Michael coaxes Bob a little more.

"All right, Yankee ball-chaser. Ease-up on your grip lad."

Bob slowly loosen his grip as Michael lowers the bat.

"Now, we all can be friends again. Aye," Michael says
with a smile.

Thomas lowers himself back onto his stool as his color comes back.

"Who be Paula?" he asks.

Bob takes a seat. "She’s my girl."

"Believe me, I had no idea he would go this far. To come after you or me I could understand."

"Well, understand this! He has her. And she won't be safe until he has the Grale," Bob snaps.

Thomas attempts to places his hand on Bob's shoulder.

"You can't give it to him!"

Bob slips Thomas's hand off of him.


"It will upset the balance that has been kept for over five hundred years," Thomas says.

Bob turns in his seat, resting his arms on the bar saying.

"I wish it were as easy as that."

"Aye, what do you mean?" Thomas asks.

"He wants to see me with the Grale tomorrow on the course."

Thomas strokes his chin. "Hmmmmm."

Bob rest his heavy forehead on the bar.

"Oh, yea there's more. I need to win!"

Thomas's eyebrows raise and he turns to Bob.

"No worries lad, is there anything else?"

Bob lifts his head from the bar thinking ‘this has got to be a bad dream.’

"Yeah, someone is going to call here tomorrow."

Thomas springs from his stool.

"So, we have 'till morning. Great! Pray the golf gods be with us."

Thomas grabs Bob by the shoulders with both hands.

"Don't fear for your bonnie lass, my boy."

Flames from a furnace light the brick and stone of the space that lays between the golf shop and tavern. Thomas gathers items needed to put his plan into action. When Jim arrives, Michael hands him a cup of coffee, telling him Thomas is out back.

Jim walks through the storeroom, sipping his coffee as he steps out into the 15'X 20' notch protected by a tin roof. A single light hangs from above in the middle. Seeing Thomas bellowing the furnace.

"So, what is it you plan to do?" Jim asks, taking a sip of his Scottish coffee.

"We are going to create the Grale Ghost."

Jim spits out his coffee. "We? I'm just a science professor, I know nothing of metal casting."

Thomas steps right up into Jim's face.

"You need to look past the equations of what gives things their form and take hold of the magic in its creation."

Jim steps past Thomas, staring into the flames of the furnace.

"It's in your blood, lad," Thomas adds.

Jim's eyes fill with purpose as he looks into the glowing coals of the fire.

"Well then, let's do this."

Jim and Thomas shake hands and go to work casting the Grale Ghost.

Paula wakes to find herself in a room that is dimly lit by a sliver of light sneaking past the drapes covering one of the windows. Lying upon a large Victorian style four post bed, she swings her legs over the edge, pushing herself onto the cold stone floor. She moves to one of two tall windows that the light emanates from, pulling the heavy drapes open.

The large brass rings drag along the steel rods as the morning rays of sun fill the castle air. She turns around, catching her breath, The Scottish sun’s illumination of the room uncovers large insects from around the world that decorate the walls.

Paula makes her way to a large framed display that catches her eye; it’s full of beautiful South American butterflies. Looking closely at the collection, she is startled by a knock at the door. Seconds later, the door swings open, and Daggers stands in the doorway with hand cuffs hanging from one finger.

"Breakfast is served."

Paula walks to the door, holding up one hand.

"Thank you, but no, I'm good."

As Paula passes through the door way, Daggers whips one side of the cuffs on her, the other to himself.

Daggers smiles. "Sorry love, old habits."

"Do you hand cuff all the women you meet?"

"No, only the smart ones."


At the tavern, Thomas and Jim lay in a booth asleep when Bob arrives at 8:45am. Bob lightly kicks Thomas in the foot. Thomas rises rubbing his eyes and yawning.

"Oh, Bobby, good morning. What time is it?"

"Good morning! GOOD MORNING! What the hell?"

Thomas slides out of the booth, holding one hand up.

"Easy, laddie, it's all under control."

Bob starts to lose it and raises his arms in the air.

"Control? What control? You both are…"

Thomas removes a towel on the table, uncovering the Grale and its ghost, then he walks to the bar and pours a shot. Bob stands speechless as Thomas returns with a shot in his hand.

"Whow! ... Wow!"

"Aye, not bad for an old Scotsman and a science professor," Thomas replies.

"Yeah, but what now?" Bob asks.

Thomas downs his shot.

"Ahh! The only way to start the mornin."

He blots his lips with the towel that had covered the Grales.

"You, my friend, will take the Grale with you, we will have the ghost with us. We'll stay here and wait for
the call."

Bob reaches down to pick up what he thinks is the Grale, but Thomas brushes his hand away.

"Nay Bobby."

Thomas picks up the Grale.

"This is the one you need." He hands it to Bob. "Now, go play with all your heart."

At Bothwell Castle, Paula is in the same room and in the same chair from the night before.

"Did you sleep well, my dear?"

"Under the circumstances, yes, I did.” She pauses. “And you are, again?"

"The Earl of Bothwell, of course."

Standing to the right of Sir Hepburn is 'The Doctor.' With the first two fingers of his left hand, Hepburn draws the man in the white coat closer.

"I thought you said there were no side effects."

"What do you mean, no side effects?" Paula remarks as she leans to her left, trying to look around the large flower placement in the center of the table.

"You must be famished. The kitchen can prepare whatever you like. You are a guest in the House of Bothwell."

Paula is unable to reach the folded napkin in front of her. Due to the hand cuffs, replies.

"Well, I'm partial to an egg white spinach omelet."

She displays her cuffed hands. "By the way, is this part of your five star accommodations?"

"Well, Miss Smith, we would not want you to hurt yourself. This is a medieval castle."

 

Back at St. Andrews in the club house, Bob stands in front of his locker. When out of the corner of his eye, he sees King James. Bob drops his head.

"No, it can't be! Thomas said..."

"Thomas said what? You would not see me again?"

Bob presses his hands against the locker.

"You are not real. You have been dead for hundreds of years."

As King James steps closer, Bob glances over his shoulder to see the King is dressed different than before.

"This is true, but for now you and I are like brothers,
MacCray."

Bob opens his locker. "I don't have time for this! You need to find someone else to haunt!"

King James sits down across from Bob.

"Not likely, I'm afraid. I will be by your side till the match is done."

"Great," Bob exclaims sarcastically.

"Excellent! I have been waiting years to go into battle one last time."

Bob throws one of his street shoes into his locker and sits facing the King.

"No! Not excellent, there is nothing excellent about it! Ahh, and look around, there are no soldiers, there is no battle!" Bob lowers his voice. "Alright, Your King-ness?"

King James stands, chest out. "I prefer, my Lord, Sire,  or Sir James. But that's only after we have known each
other for awhile."

Bob tosses his other shoe behind him in the locker.

"Whatever!"


Bob then stands and looks King James in the eye, pointing the index finger of his left hand.

"You are the reason I'm in this mess. Because you, my Lord,"

Bob turns and retrieves his golf shoes from the locker.

Until now, the locker room has been mostly empty. One of his competitors stop at a locker across the way, on the far side of the locker room. Grabbing his weather gear, he looks over at Bob who appears to be having a conversation with someone. Just who, he's not sure.

Bob, after tying his shoes, stands and points his finger once again in front of the King.

"I can't have you popping up everywhere out there if I'm going to win this thing!"


The man, with his weather gear in hand, can see Bob staring into space. Listening to King James, Bob spots his competitor out of the corner of his eye. Bob turns his head with a smile, as the man responds with an awkward smile and a wave, and then he heads for the door.

"Aye, true, that would not be of much help. But what I can tell you is, you have no idea of your potential," the King continues.

Bob turns back to the King, gesturing with his right hand in the direction of the man who just left.

"You see what I mean!"

"Aye, Hepburn was always one to not let go so easily."

"That's not what I mean. Forget it."

Bob turns and empties his pockets into his locker.

"And you speak of no battle, you carry steel onto the field, aye. Every time you step out there it's a battle
of you against the field."

Bob's thoughts of Paula fade for a moment as the King's words bring back the foggy sensations from the antique shop. Closing his eyes, Bob slips into a state of meditation through the King’s voice.

"Feel the air move the tops of the high grass. The earth’s blood, feel the soil beneath your feet that stretches out across as far as the eye can see."

A stillness like he has never felt grips him with the last of the Kings words.

"Breath deep, the riches of this day, for you are one with the land. The true Grale lies in every man's heart, so
play with all your heart."

Suddenly a slap of cold air brandishes his cheek as the King's voice drifts away like a shadow.

"Snap out of it lad, you have a tournament to win," the King finishes.

Opening his eyes, Bob sees King James is gone.


"Did you enjoy your omelet, Miss Paula?" Sir Hepburn asks.

"It was okay. I could have done without the military style Spork."

Sir Hepburn gestures to two servants dressed in white that are standing nearby.

"Gentlemen, we will be having our tea in the viewing room."

One of the men walks to Paula's end of the table, pulling her chair back. With spork still in hand, she resists.

"Hey! Whow! I'm not done here!"

The white gloved man places Paula's chair onto a dolly-like carriage, wheeling her to the viewing room.

"Hello, and thank you for joining us here today at the Old Course in St. Andrews for the final round of the 2015 Open Championship. I'm Jim Nantz and alongside me, as always, is the incomparable Johnny Miller. Johnny, what do youmake of our final grouping today?"

"Well, after the collapse of some of the players near the top, it has left the door, a small door, open for
MacCray, which he will need to kick down to close the gap on Stroks."

Nantz, looking at Johnny nods, then turns to the camera.

"Here we go on a somewhat mild morning for St. Andrews. A steady breeze off the ocean with rain threatening later in the day. Our leaders are now coming to the
first tee."

Bob standing on the first tee, turns to see Yohan entering through the gallery.

"Oh Shit," he mutters to himself.

Yohan struts in, dressed in a tight green outfit with a wide white belt and matching shoes topped off with an Austrian hat displaying a long pheasant's quill.

"The 1:40 tee time, from Scandinavia, please welcome, Yohan Stroks!"

Yohan walks up to Bob as he pulls on his glove.

"Are you ready, my Texas armadillo?"

He turns, tipping his hat to the gallery.

"Aye, he's one flashy peacock," Duncan says to Bob.

Yohan takes one of two balls from his front pocket, leaving the other clearly visible. He tees his ball and then goes into his pre-shot routine.

"From what we understand, Yohan's caddie, also is his coach," Nantz says.

"Yeah, that's right, and on the tour he is known as the ‘professor,’ Johnny adds.

The Professor stands next to Yohan's bag, looking like a mad scientist with a tinted monocle over one eye.


"Yes, Johnny, we don't get a chance to see Yohan and the Professor in the States. He is one of a kind," says Feherty from the first tee.

Finishing his pre-shot routine, Yohan balances on one leg with the other stretched out like a ballerina.

"Johnny, as I remember, your pre-shot routine was something like this, wasn’t it?" Nantz says.

Johnny laughs gently. "Yeah, everything but the stretching."

Yohan drives his ball down the middle of the fairway, removes his tee as the starter introduces Bob.

"The 1:40 tee time, from the United States, please welcome, Bob MacCray."

Bob tees his ball and stands back, looking out over the 376 yards of the 'Burn' fairway. He rests the bottom of his three wood on the fine fescue turf that blankets the first tee. His surroundings fade away as he closes his eyes, taking a deep breath and hearing the ruffling of tall grass.

Opening his eyes, he visualizes the shot playing off the ocean breeze, a right to left fade.

Stepping to the ball, he sets and takes one last look over his right shoulder. Then with eyes dialed in on the ball, he coils into his back swing, letting the three wood fly.

To the gallery’s applause, Bob's ball lands rolling past Yohan's. Picking up his tee, Bob tips his hat and hands Duncan his club as they walk behind Yohan and the Professor.

"Bobby, you know how to turn a peacock into a hen? One feather at a time," Duncan says.

Bob looks at Duncan as they both smile. Bob and Yohan both hit the 'Himalayas Green' in regulation, two putting for par. At 'Dyke,' the second hole at 411 yards, Yohan misses a ten foot putt for birdie, and both men par.

When they arrive at the 370 yard third, 'Cartgate,' Yohan hits a rocket 315 yard drive as the ocean breeze dies. Holding the tip of his felt hat with his gloved hand, he places the other at his waist, bowing like a stage actor.

In passing, Bob takes a quiet, Texas-style jab at Yohan.

"Are you done partner? Is that all you got?"

Yohan's smile turns sour, jamming his driver into his bag as he watches Bob tee his ball. Standing back, lining the shot, a switch in wind instantly changes the moment. With a slight tilt of his jaw, Bob steps to the ball And wastes no time, cranking out a swing like a medieval catapult.

The ball takes flight out over the knee high grass, fighting against the thick sea air. It lands, rolling just short of the green.

With long, defiant strides, Yohan passes Bob to the sounds of the erupting gallery.

"Game on, my Texas tumble weed," Yohan remakes in a heavy Austrian tone.

Yohan and the Professor head down the fairway with Bob and Duncan close behind.

Yohan sails his second shot over the flag stick to the back of the green. With forty yards to the hole, Bob stands with Duncan discussing the shot.

"The wind, to unpredictable," Bob looking skyward, "for a wedge."

"Aye."

Bob's eyes settle back on the green as Duncan places his hand on the eight iron.

"Bump and run lad."

Bob turns to Duncan in agreement. "Aye, bump and run."

With a wink, Duncan hands Bob the eight.


Back at the Castle, Paula sits in the viewing room, which is a rather large round space with a dome glass paneled ceiling. To her left is a round table with another large flower arrangement that obscures her from seeing Sir Hepburn. In front of her, under the tall stained glass windows, sits a television console from the 50s. One of the men in white walks over to the TV and flips it on.

"You must be kidding. You are going to watch golf on that?" Paula says.

A small dot appears in the middle of the tube.

"Can you pick up radio Moscow with that, or no, wait. The outer limits?" she continues.

Hepburn isn’t amused. "You are quite the a witty woman, Paula. Does Bob like that about you?"

Paula pauses for a moment. "I think so."

"Let’s hope so, for the both of you."

The sound of Johnny Miller's voice leads the image that's slowly appearing on the tube.

"This is the type of shot that can be the start of a great surge, or a major set-back."

The voice of Feherty is heard next.

"Your right Johnny, let's see how MacCray plays this one out."

Crackling and electrical snaps of the old RCA diminish as the picture comes into focus. Showing Bob pulling up the sleeves of his all-weather pullover, he takes a few practice strokes, judging the distance he will need to reach the green. As Paula's attention is drawn to the television, one of the white gloved men steps over to Sir Hepburn's chair.

"Sir, it’s time."

"Time for what?" Hepburn barks back.

"The call, Sir."

"Oh right, Mr. Daggers?"


The man in white straightens his posture, folding his hands in front of him.

"Darcull training, Sir."

Hepburn let’s out an uneasy sigh.

"Then have Harold make the call."

Paula watches as Bob takes the club in a short back swing, dropping the face down onto the ball. It carries a low line, landing on the green and rolling to the hole. Bob stays perfectly still as sounds from the gallery begin to rise. Paula curls her toes, white knuckling the arm chair as she watches Bob's ball travel across the green.

Bob rolls up on his toes when the roar reaches a fever pitch, and his ball drops in. He celebrates, flipping his club, grabbing the grip, and displaying a firm fist pump. Paula, back in the viewing room, yells out.

"Yea, Baby!"

Paula's exuberance causes Sir Hepburn to spill his tea.

With a smooth and fluid stride, Bob walks the green, tipping his cap to the cheers of the Scottish crowd.

"Like you said Johnny, MacCray would need to kick down thedoor between him and Stroks," Nantz comments.

Johnny can’t bury the excitement in his voice.

"Yea, and what a way to get it started by loosening the hinges with that amazing chip shot for eagle."

Bob removes his ball from the cup under the glaring stare of Yohan, who two-putts for par. Walking from the green, they pass through several Texas whoops from the gallery that creates a path to the fourth tee. Bob marks his score and places his 'Footjoy' glove on his right hand.

"Well done, you’ve got him looking over his shoulder lad," Duncan says.

Watching the black & white television intensely as it shows Bob walking with Duncan to the fourth tee, Paula realizes the gravity of the moment. The charged emotion of competition gives way to one of loss, and a tear begins to form in her eye. Clouds drift above the viewing room, allowing rays of sun shining through the glass ceiling, which illuminates the mixed flower arrangement of red roses set over white carnations.

"More tea, miss?" Hepburn asks.

Wiping her watery eyes, she shakes off the wave of emotions.

"Yes, please."

Sensing Paula's fears, Hepburn offers a few words of reassurance.

"No worries, win or lose, you will still be together."

Clouds start to develop over the ocean as the winds steadily increase. Duncan hands Bob the three iron.

"Play this one down the left." He steps away with a wink.

Having honors, Bob tees his ball and places his feet. Feherty makes the call.

"It appears MacCray is setting up for a draw, brilliant — if it draws enough."

All goes quiet on the tee as Bob makes his swing, sending his ball spinning into a sudden gust of a tailwind.

"Oh, it looks to me that it may have carried too far," Feherty reports as the television coverage shows Bob's ball running off into the rough.

"Without that gust, it would have landed safely in 'Sutherland.' Instead, it wound up in the thickets of the
'Cottage,'" Johnny adds from the booth.

Bob taps the three iron to the turf, then steps back as Duncan gently takes the club from him.

"Let me have that lad, before you hurt someone."

"But you said."

Duncan cuts him off. "I said play it down the left. Not all the bloody way to Dundee."

Bob shakes his head as the pair stand in silence watching Yohan tee a beautiful drive to the praises of Feherty.

"Now that's how it’s done. Leaving it on the path, right outside granny's cottage."


The monitor in the broadcast booth shows a shot of Bob and Yohan walking off the fourth tee with the leader board graphic overlay. Yohan is minus seven with Bob four back at three under par. The live coverage fades into a commercial for 'The new Buick.'

Back at the Tavern, Thomas and Jim sit at the bar watching the match and recovering from their long night. During the break Jim turns to Thomas and Michael.

"This is where Bob is going to get him!"

Michael and Thomas both look at Jim.

"Have another beer Jimmy," Thomas says

Michael pours and places it in front of Jim.

"This isn't NASCAR laddie."

As Jim drops his head, accepting his beer, Thomas hears the phone ring. Sliding off his stool, he slips around behind the bar, answering it.

"Hello!"

"Is this MacCray?" asks Harold.

"No, it's Prince Charles! You daft bastard, he's out on the course!"

Harold is frantically looking at his palm, then the back of his hand, trying to decipher the notes through the remains of his lunch.

"Hello?" Thomas says again.

"Oh, the exchange will take place at the eighteenth green."

Thomas places the receiver in the cradle ending the call. Returning to his stool, he grabs his pint of ale and looks over at Jim.

"Jimmy, my boy. Have you ever played a wind instrument?"

Jim freezes, with his beer resting upon his lips, eyes wide, shifting towards Thomas.

Back at Bothwell Castle Hepburn takes a sip of his tea.

"Paula, I'm so sorry to see you go, it has been a pleasure having you here."

She delicately places her tea cup on the round table with her free hand.

"So, we are all good here?"

After taking a another sip of his smooth Scottish tea, with no milk, he replies.

"The lad, in an odd way, he has promise."

Leaning forward, Paula tries to catch a glimpse of Sir Hepburn.

"Thank you so much for your medieval hospitality."

One of the men in white cuff Paula's free hand to the chair and places tape over her mouth. Protesting, she is quickly wheeled out to Sir Hepburn's willowing laments.

"Oh, we will have none of that. No long goodbyes."

Out on the course, Bob hacks out of the gnarly Cottage grass for a bogey, and Yohan drops another stroke, scoring a birdie. Duncan pulls the four iron when the pair reaches the fifth, 'Hole O'Cross.' It’s one of only two par fives at 514 yards.

"You need 245 with a roll to 'March Stone' right between 'Hell' and the 'Pulpit.' Nice and easy, try not to kill it
Bobby," Duncan instructs.

"Between hell and the pulpit?"

"Aye, it's where glory lies, and the wise survive."

Yohan has the tee. Pressing, he hits a low three wood that is pushed over by a gust of wind into 'The Elyian Fields.'

Once again, Feherty offers his pearls of wisdom.

"A stroke of bad luck, landing deep in Elyian Fields. Certainly not strawberry fields, but it will feel like
you've been there forever."

Bob plays his shot just as Duncan instructed, leaving it on the steps of March Stone. Walking off the tee, Duncan and Bob follow Yohan and the Professor. Watching the interaction between the leader and his caddie, the Professor thrusts his right hand downward in a sharp chopping motion towards Yohan.

"What is that?" Bob asks Duncan.

"Not sure really, it may have something to do with lunch."

They reach Bob’s ball, and he pulls out his notebook, which Duncan quickly snatches away.

"Laddie, this is no time to look at what you have done Wrong!" Handing him a five iron, he adds.

"Play it high right, let it run back to the hole."

Bob makes his swing, sending his ball like an arrow high into the Scottish sea air. As the strength of Bob's five iron weakens against strong winds of the north east, the ball feathers out of the air, dropping on the right fringe. Its momentum hops it onto the green, rolling to within four feet of the hole.

The gallery responds to Bob's shot as Yohan walks with the Professor, looking over at Bob.

"I need to crush this man."

"Not yet" the Professor replies.

Yohan muscles his second shot out of the thickets, carrying with it bits of earth and landscape into the wind, blowing the spray of debris over his left shoulder. Yohan's club shaft snaps as a result of this heavy contact. Flinging the lower half of his club out onto the fairway, His ball just misses its target, rolling back to a collection area in front the green.

Duncan nudges Bob with his elbow.

"That must have been what that chopping motion was all about."

Duncan smiles. Bob starts to smile, shaking his head and pulling down the bill of his cap to hide his giggle.

The broadcast silence is broken with two words from Feherty.

"Oh, My!"

Gathering himself, Yohan reaches where his second shot came to rest. Taking a wedge, he throws a beautiful lob, hitting with a little check to the right. His ball stops five feet from the stick.

Bob and Duncan walk to the sounds of whistles and enjoying words from the gallery.

"Go Bobby!" and, "Texas MacCray!"

Bob, keeping as focused as possible, removes his glove and waves with a slight smile while Duncan hands him his putter.

Bob marks his ball, and standing green side, watches Yohan make his par putt. The momentum seems to shift when Bob drains his birdie putt, and the gallery begins to thicken, following the pair to the sixth tee.

 

 

                                                                                  Ninth Chapter

 

To the north of St. Andrews, skies grow heavy with clouds as Daggers steers the black Jaguar south on the A9 headed to St. Andrews. Paula sits in the back, her mouth taped, hands cuffed behind her. Harold is in the passenger seat examining his hands.

"What are you doing?" Daggers asks.

"Going over the plans of the exchange, of course! But some of it has been smudged by the Doctor's Black
Walnut goose pie."

Daggers raises an eye brow, tilting his head.

"There's no doubt you will be one of the best."

"Oh, you really think so?"

Daggers makes the sound of an electric shaver.

"Aye, at shaving sheep! Now, wipe your paws!"

The look in Paula's eyes says it all. 'What nit-wits.'

In the back room of the tavern, Thomas and Jim are preparing for the exchange on the eighteenth green. Thomas watches Jim as he tucks in his shirt and buttons the cuffs.

"Everything fit lad?"

"Yea, but how do you hold this thing?"

Like two Scottish warriors cast down through the mist of The Highlands, they exit the back room, causing heads to turn in the Tavern. They are in full parade dress, kilts and bags included. Heads held high to the sounds of whistles and claps, Jim follows Thomas out of O'Barry's, making their way to the media entrance of the Old Course.

On the sixth, Bob birdies as does Yohan. At the 359 yard seventh, 'High,' they reach the last hole that plays into the right crossing wind. Bob has the tee and delivers a three iron that ends up in the left hand rough, 215 yards out.

Yohan hits his signature three wood.

"He really is pressing forward on this one, going for what has become known as, 'The frozen rope,'" Feherty explains.

Yohan nails it. Like a missile undetected by radar, it hugs the ground, rolling to a stop just inside 100 yards.

The sound of the gallery’s roar is lost to the wind which begins to pick up steam, clipping to around twelve knots.  Bob takes an eight iron, aiming back right of the double green that’s shared with 13th. He sticks it two feet from the pin. Yohan's second shot, far less impressive held by the wind, lands short. Frustrated, he slaps his wedge to the turf. The bespectacled Professor removes the club from Yohan's hands before he breaks it.

As Bob makes his way to mark his ball, he looks to the sky to see the rays of sunshine that had drifted upon the course like waves on a beach have now all but gone. The sunshine is pushed out by dark clouds rolling in from the north.

After marking his ball, Bob watches Yohan line up his putt and make a textbook stroke. As the wind ripples his pant legs, he watches his ball reach the hole, turning just enough, rolling into the edge of the cup’s lip and out the back. Without marking his ball, Yohan taps in for par. Bob places his Pro V1 ball, picking up his marker and feeling the cold wind at his back.

Steadying himself over the ball, Bob feels the beat of his heart in his fingertips as he draws the putter back. Time seems to stand still before the putter touches the ball. A rush of thoughts burst into his mind: How is Paula? Will Thomas’s plan work? Is the Grale real? Can he win?  And finally, am I using the right ball for my swing?

Wisps of air rushing past his ears create a sound that's drowned out once again by the roar of the gallery as his ball drops. Smiles erupt on the faces of an ever growing sea of fans. His competitor frowns. Bob removes his ball as Duncan replaces the pin. They make their way to the eighth, where, with a tail wind, they both par the 166 yard par three.

A grayness fills the sky with that perfect amount of light, leaving the streets of St. Andrews shadowless. As the Jaguar enters the city, Harold reaches in the back and removes Paula's tape by pulling lightly on one corner. Freeing enough of her mouth to speak, Paula yells and Harold.

"Pull it, PULL IT!"

Harold pulls as Paula snaps her head back. "SHIT! That hurts."

"It's not your calling. You really suck at this," Paula adds.

Daggers stops the car behind the St. Andrews hotel. Putting it in reverse, he backs into a handicap parking spot.

"No, you're not going to," Paula protests.

Harold hangs the handicap placard on the rear view mirror.

"Is there anything you two, won't do?" Paula says.

Harold and Daggers look at one another. "No," they both answer.

The kilted duo arrive just outside the media entrance. Thomas stops behind a tall man, dressed in the
'Major of The Pipers' uniform.

"New recruits reporting for duty, Sir!," Thomas says.

As the man turns, Thomas sees it’s his old regiment commander,  Sir William Mosby. Thomas stands to attention and salutes as Commander Mosby rolls the tips of his mustache. Placing his hands behind his back, he lifs his chin slightly.

"Aye, been on holiday have we?"

"Aye Sir, but ready to take on what lies ahead, Sir!"

A stillness hangs in the air before Mosby smiles and the two shake hands. Mosby looks past Thomas and sees Jim.

"Who's the lad?"

"This is Jim Braid. Jim, this is Major Sir William Mosby."

Jim and Mosby shake hands.

"Well, Tommy, you have made just it in time. We need to be at the eighteenth green at 16:30 hours.”

Thomas pats his bagpipe. "Ready and able, Sir."

Jim Nantz and Johnny Miller sit in the broadcast booth with the eighteenth green in the background.

"We are back to see an impressive push by MacCray who has closed a six shot lead to four after ten holes," Nantz says.

"If MacCray can somehow keep this going we could have something to talk about for years to come," Miller adds.

Jim Nantz taps his pen on the broadcast booth desk.

"And with that, we go to David Feherty who's waiting for our leaders on the eleventh."

"Yes, they are just now entering the eleventh tee. I believe there was a question regarding Strokes equipment change," Feherty says.

"Yea, I believe it had to do with the club he broke on the fifth hole." Johnny says.

"If I understand it correctly, the question was could  he re-shaft the club," Feherty replies.

Feherty hears Johnny reading from the PGA rule book.

"Rule 4-3A states that a damaged club in the normal course of play, 1) The player can use the damaged club
for the remainder of the stipulated round,"

"Well that's not happening," Feherty chimes in.

Johnny continues. "Or 2) without unduly delaying play,  repair it, or have it repaired. Well, after the sixth
Yohan's club was re-shafted, and brought to the tenth.  Where in was inspected by tournament officials of the  R & A. The club head itself was found to have been altered at the hazel from the impact at the 5th."


Feherty quickly adds. "There's proof, it's easier to change your balls, then your shaft."

Miller and Nantz turn towards one another with concealed grins. Speechless till the broadcast booth shot quickly dissolves to a graphic of the leader board. Than cuts to a preprogrammed 'Topflite' commercial.

The commercial plays in the control room on the network broadcast monitors. Showing a girl in a golf cart pulling up to a tee box as several men are ready to tee off. The audio can Be heard in the background over the ‘com’ channel, as the Girl asks.

"Sometimes, do you really want to get up and wacke your balls."

Over the ‘com’ channel of the tournament voices begin to Share their thoughts regarding David’s comment. Till a clear and defining one from the control room says.

"Quite! Now, David you cannot use the words 'Balls' and 'Shaft' in the same sentence."

A three second silence is broken by the words of Feherty.

"Well of course you can, these aren't the days of George Carlin, God rest is soul."

The all-powerful voice that emanates from that hidden place 'The control room.' Is heard over the com, calling out the count down.

"All right everyone, we are live in 3, 2, 1,"

The voice of Jim Nantz is heard as the television coverage resumes, showing Bob walking on the 11th fairway.

"Welcome back to the 2015 Open Championship. Our leaders have made their second shots on the eleventh, and both are looking at potential birdie putts."

As Bob and Yohan step onto the eleventh green, Feherty quickly sizes up the putts.

"It appears they are equal distance from the cup."

Yohan stands behind his ball as does Bob. Bob takes advantage of the moment and bows, looking up through the brow of his eye's into Yohan's. Bob marks his ball and hands it to Duncan who applies a bit of Scottish polish, spitting on it and wiping it down for Bob's putt.

Yohan squats, placing his marker behind the ball and removing it from the green. As the wind rushes past his ankles, he gives his ball a bit of tongue love, rubbing it down the side of his pants. Feherty, who is green side can't resist the visual.

"There's no wright way to word it, but I wonder if that's a common practice in Austria?"

Replacing his ball, Yohan lifts his marker. He walks around both side of the cup, he sees what looks to be the right line. The wiry build of Yohan stands perched over his ball. He takes the putter back and through, sending it on a fifteen foot attempt that loses its pace and finishes below the hole. Groans from the gallery die down as he taps in for par.

Bob sets his ball down facing the putt line, removes his marker and stands, placing the marker in his pocket. Stepping back for just a moment, he wastes no time in addressing his ball, seeing the true line. With the tempo of a Swiss watch, Bob releases his putter like a well thrown dart headed for the red, and his ball rolls into the cup from the left edge. Bob lifts his putter in the air to the roar of the gallery.

Yohan turns and heads for the twelfth tee.

"Wow! What a clutch putt! If MacCray can keep this up, we are in for a heart-stopping finish," Johnny says.

Followed by tournament officials, media and course workers, Bob and Duncan make the short walk to the twelfth.

"If there is an eagle to be made at St. Andrews, it's here at the 'Heathery,' the shortest par four measuring
316 yards," Jim Nantz says.

With the wind at his back, Bob stands on the tee, taking a few practice swings. while Nantz finishes his intro.

"Airing it out to the green can be an option to a ground attack, which entails seven bunkers that could spell
disaster," Nantz concludes.

With a swirling tailwind, Bob chooses his three wood that he delivers perfectly. Sending the wind tunnel tested Pro V1 airborne, Bob's ball hits just in front, rolling through into the back bunker. As Bob rises from picking up his tee, the camera shows the words on Bob's lips — 'Go big, or go home.'

Duncan takes the club from Bob. "Impressive! What  do you plan to do next, swim the English Channel?!"

Bob stands head down with hands resting upon his hips. Duncan slides the cover over the three wood.

"I know you can hit the ball past the moon, Bobby. They know you can as well. Take a deep breath and let’s
start playing with our brains, instead of our balls. With that said, not a bad shot lad," Duncan says.

Yohan hits four iron.

Duncan gives Bob a nice little slap on the back as they head off the tee. Feherty's commentary fills the gap between shots.

"It was a bold move to say the least, but he is from Texas."

Miller picks up on Feherty's feed.

"Whereas the methodical play of the Austrian is what keeps him in the lead."

"The old adage, brains over brawn," Nantz adds.

Bob and Duncan wait along the fairway as Yohan makes his shot. He hits a low feathering chip that skips twice before coming to rest eight feet from the cup. Like Wisconsin 'Cheese Heads,' some of Yohan's followers sport green hats in the likeness of his own. He tips his in acknowledgement of their support.

Bob walks the right edge of the green that's shared with the sixth to find his ball lying in the bottom of the bunker. Stepping down, Bob sees his ball has come to rest in the steepest part of the bunker. With the pin five paces in from the back, Bob realizes going right at the stick is not an option. He turns to Duncan.

"Duncan, the 62 please."

Shifting to his right a step or two, Bob takes a peak at his landing area.

"This is probably one of the most difficult shots to execute," Johnny offers as Feherty moves into position.
.

"More than that, it's pure out of the box thinking," Feherty says.

Bob works his feet side to side, aiming far right of the pin. He check-swings the 62 with an aggressive open face as Feherty finishes his comment before Bob commits.

"To even attempt a shot like this straddles that fine line between madness and geniuses."

Finding a point of reference, a sparse clump of grass atop the bunker, Bob's eyes lower back to the ball. Just before his backswing, he turns his head slightly to left, eyes still locked onto the point of contact.

In a motion that can only be described as a large paddle wheel powered by a deep running river, the ball is thrown clear of the blowing sand.

It just clears the lip of the bunker, arcing like a rocket from Houston, fighting the winds from the north. It lands, tossed by a ridge that was Bob's visual sweet spot. Standing still within the hallows of the bunker, Bob listens to the grasses tossed by a rising wind. Like a storm of crashing symbols, the gallery explodes.

As Duncan reaches down, taking Bob's hand and pulling him from the sandy depths, the big screen on eighteen shows Bob's ball hop off the ridge and roll in a majestic arc into the hole.

Duncan and Bob clutch each other in a Scottish embrace.

"There's only one word that comes to mind, brilliant." Feherty says.

As Bob and Duncan move around the bunker, Bob lifts his cap to cheers from the gallery.

"One could say any low percentage shot that puts you in the red is one in a million, but this is off the chart," Johnny remarks.

Feherty replies as bob walks to the hole.

"Anyone else could be there till the sand ran out, trying to make that."

Bob removes his ball and then waits alongside the spectators as Yohan makes his birdie putt. Nantz recaps the scoring as the pair head to thirteenth tee.

"MacCray started the day one under. He has moved to seven under, playing nothing short of some incredible golf, eagling the 3rd and 12th."


Back at the Tavern, a crowd gathers at the bar watching Bob's bunker shot being replayed. In Michael's excitement he starts to yell but then speaks softly to those who are at the bar.

"Shots for everyone."

Setting up a dozen or so shot glasses in a line, he uncorks a bottle of Old Pultney 21 Scotch, pouring down the line.

"Lift your glasses to the Yankee ball chaser, MacCray!"

The television coverage has returned from a commercial break with Nantz and Miller in the booth at eighteen.

"Well, Johnny, what are your thoughts so far?"

"It has been a wild ride with both men giving it their all, but there is something different about MacCray."

The control booth takes us back to the thirteenth tee as Johnny continues.

"The way he is able to recover from a poor shot, this is certainly not the same MacCray we saw the first three days."


On the tee, Bob looks out over the undulating landscape that has been seen for centuries by so many eyes — though still unchanged by time.

He lowers his left hand, gently pressing his teed Pro V1 into the earth. Feeling the turf on the back of his fingers like crushed velvet, Bob connects to the Old Course in a spiritual way, understanding how her storied flesh that has both fulfilled and destroyed so many dreams.

Bob steps back, finding the exact placement of his drive on this 418 yard hole, 'Hole O' Cross.' Bob takes
three well calibrated practice swings while thinking of Paula and her faith in the free spirit. Her smile flashes like a bright light across his mind. With the last swing, he steps into position.

Looking over his raised right shoulder, Bob cocks the 520cc Texas long barrel. Like a bullet, his ball is put to the test as it stretches out over the right side of the fairway

"Another daring long drive by MacCray that looks to be cutting back," Feherty says.

The cameramen are hard pressed to keep track of Bob's ball. Finally catching it rolling to a stop.

"Wow, it skipped through the end of the fairway making it just past the 'Cat's trap,'" Feherty continues.

Duncan takes Bob's driver with a slight grin.

"Aye, skill or not, luck of the Scott's must be rubbing off on yea."

With a wink and a smile Duncan, slides the covered club in the bag. Yohan tries to convince the Professor of hitting driver as well.

"Yohan, play your game, not the inferior ways of the American," the Professor instructs. Giving in to the Professor's insistence, Yohan hits four iron.

"It's like watching a surgeon's flawless execution, how Yohan works that four iron right over the 'Coffins' with
a wedge left to the green," Feherty says.

Both men make their way off the tee as the ominous clouds from the north do battle against the rays of sun to the west. As Duncan and Bob walk, Duncan takes the opportunity to share more of his Scottish wisdom.

"Bobby me lad, She never changes, like the soul of a good woman. But on the surface ever changing, like
the Old Course and the weather above her."

With the weight of every step, Bob begins to feel the meaning within Duncan's words. As the wind rushes past his neck, they stop to watch Yohan take his second shot. Yohan checks his lie and chooses a fifty-eight degree wedge for the 126 yards he has left to the pin.

He delivers a textbook swing with a touch of Yohan as the pheasant feather whips around behind his hat. The ball lands with one hop, leaving him ten feet from the pin for birdie.

When Bob reaches his ball, he finds it in an un-manicured area of grass between 'Cats Trap' and 'Lion's Mouth.' Duncan slides the bag from his shoulder.

"Aye, you found yourself in it this time laddie."

Bob looks over his lie for a moment before turning to Duncan and asking for his sixty-two degree wedge.

"With hands as quick as a Texas bobcat," Bob says.

"And the laziness of an English lion," Duncan quickly adds as he hands the club to Bob.

Duncan offers a wink and hoists Bob's tour bag to his shoulder, stepping away.

Placing his feet firmly into the Scottish turf, he looks right to the green that sits eye level some sixty yards away.  As he lightly re-squeezes the grip knowing he needs to carry the sloping false front, he takes a full, smooth swing. The toe is pulled open at the moment of impact by the thick grass, laying the ball short and left of the pin.

Bob pumps his knees several times in hopes of keeping his ball from rolling off the green as it slows to a stop twenty feet from the hole.


Flipping his club, Bob hands it to Duncan grip end first. Duncan wipes the greenish flora from the groves of its face and slips it back into the Callaway tour bag, removing the putter as they walk to the green. Yohan walks in from the right side of the green marking his ball. Bob, with every step, ascends the thirteenth green's narrow sloping front face.

"Bob's window of opportunity seems to be slowly closing," Johnny says as Bob marks his ball and surveys his putt.

"One would think, but with a birdie here he could shift the pressure over to Yohan," Nantz interjects.

Seeing the line, Bob places his ball and picks up his white Greenbriar marker as rumbling thunder echoes from the north. Like he had done a thousand times before, Bob finds his target and then sends the rock on its way. Leaning forward as the ball nears the hole, Bob holds his putter grip to his chin as the gallery comes to life.

"What a putt! MacCray is getting closer to answering the naysayers with possibly his first Open win," says Feherty. Then moves his attention to Yohan who is preparing to putt.

"And for Stroks, this is it. He needs to make birdie here to keep a four shot lead with four to go," he continues.

Holding his putter, knees slightly toed in, Yohan makes a firm putt that maintains a good line until it nears the hole, finding the lower side of the cup and lipping out. An odd silence surrounds the green until Yohan taps in to a sparse applause. The gallery has pushed on in hopes of finding the perfect place to watch history in the making.

Bob marks his score as he walks to the fourteenth tee, feeling the surge of momentum at his back. Placing the scorecard in his back pocket, he wipes his hands on the damp towel that hangs from his bag. The movement of the bag makes the 'Grale' twist in the light, catching his eye. With the play of the last several holes garnering his complete and total focus, he had almost forgotten what hangs in the balance.

Before his emotions start to cloud his mind, he moves with purpose, quickly taking the three wood and hitting a low drive that clips the right side of the fairway, rolling left before coming to rest 278 yards out. To the sound of shuffling feet headed south, Bob hands the club to Duncan who displays a wide grin and an encouraging wink.

"Well played Bobby, well played."

Yohan’s frustration begins to surface when he takes the tee with a small twitch effecting his right eye. With the power of a Giant Swiss clock tower, Yohan hits driver on this 530 yard 'Long' par five.

His tee shot travels over the left side of the fairway some 320-plus yards, missing a bunker in an area know as 'Benty' and ending up in the rough. As the last of the massive gallery trickle past Bob and Yohan walking off the tee, Yohan's twitch is replaced by a confident stride, knowing he can easily get home in two.

Feherty follows the pair several yards back reporting.

"MacCray certainly has played a less aggressive drive. Yohan's on the other hand, the lie will tell the tale."

The scattered figures that line the fairway move like a human picketed fence from the corner of Bob's eye. When he reaches his ball, this collage of color slows, filling every view of the landscape beyond.

Standing behind his ball, Bob feels his left foot is a tad lower than his right, with a downhill lie. Bob kneels and plucks a pinch of grass, tossing it in the air.

"Aye lad, not a perfect day for haulin the hay, but a fine right one for playing the fade."

Bob turns towards Duncan's words. His caddie is looking straight ahead, as Bob sees the ages of wisdom in the lines of his eyes.

"Aye, couldn’t of said it better myself."

Duncan removes, and uncovered three wood handing it to Bob who quickly goes into his pre-shot routine.

"David, what has he got there?" Johnny asks.

"Well it looks to be his three wood, what he hit off the tee. He has at least 260 yards to the front of the
green, with a right to left wind. I tell ya, this is where the ones who have, do. And the ones who don't, pucker up."

A pause fills the airways until Nantz makes an important observation.

"David, it looks like MacCray is lined up way right of the green."

"It seems he's leaning a bit on the wind I'd say."

On the end of Feherty's words, Bob lets his Texas-bred three wood eat the wind. Spectators who line the right fairway duck out of reflex from the sound of the rocketing Pro V1. Blindly, Duncan reaches out for Bob's shoulder, eyes fixed on the hurling white sphere as it darts through shadow and light.

Those who are fortunate to have found themselves at the fourteenth green see an incredible sight. Bob's ball catches the top of a knoll, kicking it straight towards the green and then ricocheting off the another knoll, sending it skyward. As Duncan grips Bob's shoulder, like a green-side flop shot, it lands, rolling within eighteen feet of the pin.

The air rushes at them like a sound wave from the green. Looking to his bag that hangs from Duncan shoulder, Bob sees the Grale.

"It's not me," he says to himself with a slight smile.

"That is one of the most unbelievable shots that I have ever seen! Did you see that?!"

"Yes David, yes we did." Nantz replies from the booth.

Yohan's stride becomes more intense as Johnny joins in.

"David, it seems Stroks has picked up his pace a bit. He better slow it down a touch, or the Professor will
need oxygen soon."

Yohan's 37 inch inseam puts him standing over his ball as his pant legs are ruffled by the wind. He looks back
to see a tail of media and tour officials, led by a wheezing Professor.


While Yohan prepares for his shot, the big screen at the eighteenth green is showing Bob's second at fourteen. Thick in the gallery, stands Paula with the Bothwell twins. As they replay Bob's shot, Paula rises to her toes seeing it fall so gracefully on the green. A comforting warmth passes over her skin like the sound of Paganini’s violin to a well-trained ear.

Back at fourteen, Yohan is looking over his lie on the fairway’s edge with 162 yards to the pin.

"David, how does it look?" Nantz asks.

"Well, it’s resting just off the edge of the fairway. And at most courses, that's not much of a problem, but here, it can be a big problem."

Yohan surveys his ball that sits above his feet in a grassy lull behind a steep raise when an out of breath Professor drops the bag at Yohan's feet.

As Yohan selects a club, the Professor rummages through his pockets, ultimately finding his inhaler and quickly giving it a double pump into his mouth. Taking eight iron, Yohan lines himself up for the naturally forced draw with a considerable amount of wind. As the sun pecks past the southerly driven clouds, Yohan pulls down on the tip of his feathery hat while the Professor drags the tour bag clear.

High above the fourteenth green hangs a camera boom in the damp north wind. Its operator waits patiently, joystick in hand, as Yohan makes his second shot. With one check swing, Yohan lets it fly. As the camera operator pulls back on the stick, controlling the zoom like the touch of a butterfly with his trigger finger. The camera follows the spinning sphere as it passes through the thick Scottish air.

Releasing the trigger, he widens the shot as muffled sounds from the gallery filter past his headset, seeing Yohan's ball stop ten feet from the pin. Handing his club to the Professor, Yohan's stride slows just a bit, somewhere between diva and royalty, as he removes his glove using his teeth.

"Ripe for the pickin, only three feathers left," Duncan says to Bob.

Bob takes his right hand and places it on Duncan's shoulder while still gazing at the green ahead.

"As the saying goes, where there's smoke, there's fire," Bob says in a Texas style tone.

Duncan turns his head, looking to Bob.

"Lets hope it's his smoke, and our fire."

Bob smiles. "Right you are, Duncan."

The last pairing steps onto the fourteenth green and sees Bob is away. Like an ever compressing slinky falling down a long stairway, the gallery grows deep into the rough and beyond.

With putter in hand, MacCray looks over his potential eagle putt as the Professor flips through pages of notes and  Yohan looks on in deep thought. The words are almost etched on his face: 'Is this my fate? To be beaten by a Mayflower Texas transplant?' With a confident wink and a tip of the pheasant feathered hat, Yohan turns, smiling to the supportive European crowd.

As the sun’s rays dance across the green, Bob looks down the line of his eagle putt. eyes fixed on the hole, he takes two practice strokes and settles the brass ‘Bullseye’ head behind the Pro V1. His focus follows the line back to his ball. As he sets his grip, Bob extends the forefinger of his left hand, creating what he refers to as 'the rudder affect.'

Like a sniper, Bob exhales slowly before pulling the brass 'Bullseye' back and through.

The Pro V1 tracks perfectly as Feherty calls it.

"This one got a chance but it needs to come down a bit."

Bob, leaning backwards, tries to motion his ball to the right. It slips past the high side by a foot. 'Ahhs' circle the green as Bob walks to his ball, tapping in for birdie. Yohan loosens up for his eagle putt as the large screen at the eighteenth green displays Bob's eagle attempt. Paula's heart rises and then falls with the weight of a north shore wave. Under the watchful eye of her cuffed companion, her emotional response on the surface remains as calm as can be.

 


Back at the fourteenth green, Yohan checks his line to the hole. Taking his right hand and wetting the tips of his fingers, he runs them down the length of his pheasant feather.

"Well gentlemen, he certainly has a style all of his own," Johnny comments.

Posed beside his ball, Yohan holds the grip of his putter firmly, drawing it back and seeding his ball right to the hole. Bob drops his head a bit and then looks up to the celebrating Yohan.

"Four holes to go, let’s get-her done," Bob says to Duncan.

"The fifteenth, named 'Cartgate,' is a par four at 414 yards. With a narrowing, hourglass fairway, it plays more as a layup from the tee. If the player chooses to go long, ‘Miss Grainger's Blosoms’ could prove to be an aroma of disaster," Feherty says.

Yohan takes the tee with a surge of overwhelming confidence pumping through his veins. Holding three wood in hand, he goes for it. With a sudden gust of wind, his drawing three starts down the right side, but then it’s pushed to the left.

Feherty relays the misfortune of Yohan's drive.

"Oh, this is not going to be good. It looks to have tip-toed through the ’Blossoms’ and danced across the
narrowest part of the fairway, into the high rough."

Once again, Yohan's roller coaster of emotion reaches a new low as he slaps his club to the ground, snapping the head clean off. As Bob takes the tee, a shot of Yohan can be seen on the broadcast booth monitors showing him slap the three wood head into the hands of the Professor while Johnny fills in the blanks for the viewers at home.

"That huntin dog is done, driving hard one too many times."

Yohan then takes the headless shaft, slamming it into his bag.  After teeing his ball, Bob steps back to see in the distance, standing like Stonhenge, silhouette’s of the Royal & Ancient and the St. Andrews Hotel.

The wind driven clouds from the north roll over the 'River Eden' like a black dye cast in the sky. As Bob tees off with four iron, the sparse rays of sunlight are moved south in the looming skies above.

Bob's Pro V1 sails through the shafts of sunlight beaming from right to left in the air above the fairway as it just clears the 'Cottage' bunker. Touching down and coming to rest just right of 'Sutherland', Feherty comments.

"A well-played shot. MacCray has found one of a few sweet spots the old girl's got."

Yohan, with the Professor trailing behind, heads off the tee first as Bob and Duncan follow, engaging in a Texas-style fist bump. From the big screen on eighteen to the smallest monitors  surrounding the course, their celebration display is seen by all, including Jim Nantz in the booth.


"MacCray looks to have found the spot, putting it right where it needs to be."

"Yes he has. Like a sailor at sea with the wind at his back, he’s playing the course perfectly," Johnny says.

Bob's lightheartedness shifts to determination as his eyes find his ball and its lie from some twenty yards away. The gallery settles like a giant horseshoe around Bob while he looks over his second shot. With a little more than 168 yards to the stick, Bob and Duncan agree on seven iron. Holding the grip in his right hand, Bob feels a slight shift in the wind and with it comes a light mist carried down from the highlands.

 

"It looks as if MacCray's ball will be below his feet," Feherty observes.

Going through his last minute mental checklist, Bob reaches for the collar of his pullover, flipping it up against the swirling mist.

"He appears to be lining up way right of the green," Feherty reports.

"It's possible he plans to play a fade with the wind," Johnny points out from high above the eighteenth green.

Feherty speaks softly into his microphone.

"That could be as tricky as juggling razor blades in these conditions. His contact needs to be perfect or the club can slip under the ball like a hot knife through butter."

With a lowered left shoulder, Bob looks down upon the Pro V1 placed just inside the heel of his left shoe. Hands pressed forward as dancing bits of water collect on the steel tempered shaft of his seven iron, he draws it back. His club becomes parallel across his shoulders, with the right knee turned in slightly. Bob, fully loaded, pulls the trigger on his Texas sliding stinger.

A trail of ruptured air hangs suspended along the path of the swing. The soul weighted iron makes contact as Bob rolls his weak left handed grip over and through, sending tuffs of turf into the Scottish air.

Feherty, now speaking at regular volume, calls the ball.

"Oh, it's headed right of the green."

The green-side camera tower catches Bob's ball mid-flight as it begins to turn towards the double green shared with the number three hole. Dropping in altitude, it hits a steep slope right side of the green just as Bob visualized it, scrubbing off speed. It's tossed into the air, landing on the green seventeen feet from the pin.

Duncan gives Bob another good Scottish slap on the back as he takes the club from him. The broadcast coverage cuts to a replay of Bob's wild second shot using 'shot tracker.' Like a red brush stroke thru the air, it follows Bob's ball headed right for the 16th tee.

The red line cuts hard left over the turning heads of the
gallery.

"Now that's a golf shot, playing the course and condition combined -something very few golfers can execute this well," Johnny says.

The damp gallery is on the move, led by Feherty headed towards Yohan's ball.


"MacCray worked that from right to left like he had a string tied to it," Feherty says.

The migrating gallery slows when Yohan reaches his ball that lies in the high dry grass and is covered in a Scottish dew.

"How is Stroks lie, David?" Nantz asks.

"Well, where he is standing, the high grass is just below his knee. The ball will be, well below his feet with
about 116 yards to the center of the green."

Back when Yohan was waiting for Bob's second shot, he slipped into his custom fitted clear rain suit. The Professor placed an elastic banded cover over his hat, resetting his signature pheasant feather through the plastic. After looking over his lie, Yohan decides to go with pitching wedge. Taking a massive swing, he catches it thin and sends his ball to the back and off the green.

"He just couldn't get under it, so it came out like a frozen chicken," Feherty says.

The gallery shuffles once again, now surrounding the green with an opening for Yohan's third shot. Bob steps onto the green and marks his ball while Yohan makes a club selection. David Feherty describes Yohan's lie to the television audience.

"The result of an unlucky second has left Stroks ball  resting like a country farm egg, ready to be plucked
from the nest. With twenty yards to carry to the green, he has chosen six iron, possibly playing the bump and run."

To the stillness of the funneled gallery, Yohan presses forward on the six iron, and in a short, stabbing stroke pops the ball clear of its resting place. His ball skips and comes to rest eight feet from the pin.

The gallery cheers as Yohan tips his plastic-wrapped feathered hat, pulling the glove from his fingers using his teeth. With putter in hand, Bob places his ball in front of his marker. Yohan marks his ball, tossing it over his shoulder to the Professor who springs left, catching it like an overgrown house cat.

 

With the steady falling mist, Duncan stands with umbrella in hand at Bob's side, allowing him to dry his hands and the putter’s grip before leaving the green. Bob takes one last look at the line from behind the ball as Johnny sets the stage.

"MacCray really needs this one to go in, a birdie here would get him ten under with three holes yet to play."

A single drop of water falls from the bill of Bob's cap as he sends the Pro V1 on a right to left two and half cup break. Back at the eighteenth, all eyes are fixed on the Jumbo Tron, though one lights up brighter than any others as Bob's ball hits the cup dead center.

Bob's fist pump becomes the center of a shock wave that carries across the rolling fairways and hallowed bunkers of the final three holes, ultimately crashing into the eruption of celebration at the eighteenth. Paula's voice rises above them all.

Yohan impatience's gets the best of him as he rushes his par putt, pushing it past the hole on the high side. In the three steps it takes Yohan to reach his foot and half bogie putt, he strangles the shaft of his putter with both hands.

Duncan leans towards Bob as Yohan sets to tap in his putt.

"Aye, you got’ em frazzled now Bobby, only two feathers to go, and one to win."

Yohan removes his ball and hands his putter to the waiting Professor who places the flag stick in the hole and follows Stroks to the sixteenth tee. As Bob prepares to tee off, Johnny gives the home viewers a breakdown of sixteen accompanied by an aerial tee to green visual perspective.

"The sixteenth here at St. Andrews’ Old Course is a 381 yard hole called 'Corner on the Dyke.' Where MacCray and Stroks want to be is in area known as 'Deacon Sime' at about 260
yards out. From there it leaves them just a wedge that needs to carry the green’s false front to the right where
they will find today's pin."

In the booth, Nantz picks up Johnny's lead.

"And now let's go to the sixteenth, and David Feherty."

"MacCray has the tee and has chosen to go with four iron."

Feherty stands in the ever growing gallery, watching Bob hit a perfect tee shot right down the middle. Yohan follows Bob's drive with three iron, squeezing everything out of it he can. Yohan's ball rolls past Bob's by some twenty-five yards.

The galleries that flow along both sides of the fairway have taken on a new level of color. Like two snaking canopies, they form a moving arena of umbrellas, keeping the two lone Gladiators center stage to wage battle against each other in the elements.

When Bob reaches his ball Duncan knows exactly how far he has to the pin.

"One ten to the flag. You need to be left or back of the stick."

Checking the slightly downhill lie, Bob asks for the 54 degree wedge.

"Even as wet as she may be, the front won’t hold," Duncan adds.

Under the angled protection of the black and white 'Titleist' Umbrella, Duncan hands the club to Bob who takes it with a wink and smile. Bob wipes his hands and grip one last time
before Duncan steps away, leaving him exposed to the swirling elements. In Bob's setup, his weight is distributed heavier to the right, and at impact, his weight shift is slow. Bob's ball flies over the pin, landing on the back of the green — the result of hitting it a tad thin.

The supportive spectators manage to applaud Bob's shot with umbrellas in hand as they move forward to Yohan's ball.

"Not a bad miss," Feherty says as he walks behind Bob and Duncan.

"True, but his putt coming back will be tricky," Johnny adds.

Feherty agrees. "Like shaving a squirrel."

Yohan analyzes the metrics and chooses to go with a 60 degree wedge on a relatively flat lie. The Professor steps away as Yohan sets his grip in the shadow of his body against the driving drizzle.

With a swing that is equal parts ego and experience, Yohan lands his ball eight feet from the hole. He celebrates with a one legged air snap and high-fiving the Professor.

Yohan walks confidently once again, removing his glove with his teeth to the sound of a strong European crowd.

As they step onto the green, Yohan turns his sandwich-wrapped hat towards Bob with a touch of the tip and a wink. Bob's responds with a two fingered tap to the bill of his 'Titleist' cap and a steely eyed smile. Yohan marks his ball as does Bob who steps back off the green under the umbrella held by Duncan. Bob checks the line, cleaning his ball, as Johnny and Feherty share their observations of Bob's putt.

"How far do you think he has from there, David?"

"A good forty feet, and as you know, putting from here down that slope, it’s going to be almost impossible
getting it to stop near the hole."

"Certainly the weather may play in his favor slowing the green down a bit."

Bob steps out from under the black and white umbrella, placing his ball in front of his marker in the steady drizzle.

Looking out right of the hole, Bob turns his eyes back to the brass Bullseye putter and presses its grip forward. Drawing it back, he strikes the ball firmly and with clear purpose. Skipping along the wet tips of Agrostis Capilleris with a trailing tail of water behind it, his ball slows as it reaches the crest of the slope.

To the waiting eyes of the gallery, Bob's ball falls from the crest and picks up speed as it finds the small flat part of the green near the cup. it rolls right, stopping two feet
away from the hole.

To the sound of soggy Ooos and ahhhs from the gallery, Bob steps slowly to his ball, marking it. While Yohan gets ready for his eight foot birdie putt Bob tosses his ball to Duncan and steps backwards under the umbrella.


Yohan wants this to go in so badly he can taste it. As the collective drizzle forms tinny veins of water on his clear raingear, it funnels onto his wrist. Yohan's stroke is smooth but falls off line, rolling a foot past the hole.

Like the follow through of a baseball swing, Yohan wraps his putter around and behind him, catching the putter’s face in his left hand and flexing the shaft across his neck. Yohan and MacCray both tap in for pars as the herd of umbrella-toting fans migrate to the seventeenth tee.

At the eighteenth green, umbrellas begin to emerge in the gallery as Harold and Daggers argue over who is going to hold their umbrella.

"What's the big deal?" Paula finally says.

"You see, Miss Paula, this particular umbrella may not go over so well with the local crowd. Due to the lack of common sense by Harold here, we are stuck in a sticky situation."

Harold corrects Daggers’ statement.

"You said grab an umbrella. So, I grab a bloody umbrella!"

Paula snatches it as it’s being pushed back and forth in front of her.

"I'm getting wet, I'll hold the dam thing. How bad can it be?"

As Harold side steps to his right, Daggers explains while  Paula unsnapping the gold threaded strap.

"This umbrella is one of kind."

Paula pushes on the solid silver collar, spreading the gold finished rods connected to the hand painted silk panels.

"In celebration of 60 years on the throne," Daggers continues.

With a clicking sound, Paula locks the pink and white six paneled umbrella over her head. Daggers quickly looks left then right.

"Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee."

Three of the six panels have printed images of the Queen with the word 'Jubilee.' The other three have a picture of the coronation crown and below it '60 years.' Daggers has no choice but to stand next to Paula due to their locking bracelets.

Not sure of the local’s reaction, Harold is clear of the umbrella's protective shadow as hisses and whistles begin to fill the air. Paula looks left then right.

"Oh, that's just the wind," Paula says.

When the commercial break on the Jumbo Tron fades into a live shot of the Open and a graphic overlay,
'2015 Open Championship.' The wind driven hisses are drowned by cheers as the shot transitions to Nantz and Johnny in the broadcast booth.

"Welcome back, and if you are just joining us, you missed an incredible charge. MacCray has cut Stroks's seven shot lead to two," Nantz says as the broadcast switches to Bob and Yohan on the seventeenth tee.

"This could be the comeback of the year, right Johnny?"

"Well, it has been impressive, and after missing the birdie putt on sixteen, he’s two down with two to go. That doesn't leave much room for error."

Nantz taps his pen on the desk.

"MacCray certainly has his work cut out for him. Let's  go to the seventeenth where David Feherty is waiting for Stroks and MacCray to tee off.

Feherty catches the pass in full stride.

"Thanks guys. MacCray has the tee and elects to go with a two iron on this 495 yard hole. The wind as shifted  a bit, cutting across from the left on the tee. The precipitation level is what the Scot's refer to as
‘Sheep's Weather’."

"Keep your eye on the prize, lad," Duncan says.

Duncan steps back as Bob smiles and turns, facing the tee. His mind instantly races with visions of Paula. He swallows hard and drowns those thoughts, looking down the fairway intensely, seeing only the field. As Bob addresses his ball, he realizes he has become accustom to the vague figures around him in the gallery, but now something is different in his peripheral vision.

Staying in the moment, Bob draws the two iron back, coiling his lower body and releasing the stiff steel shaft that helps launch the Pro V1 on a perfect trajectory. It just clears the rooftops of the Old Course Hotel, and Bob continues to watch the white sphere slice through a shaft of sunlight as it fades back towards the fairway out of sight.

And then, out of the corner of his eye, it hits him 'bare legs.' Like a hunting dog who hears a flapping wing in the brush, Bob snaps his head left then right looking for an irritating old Scotsman in a kilt.

Bob catches himself on the tee feeling a bit out of place as the gallery lengthens their applause. Duncan steps forward, tapping him on the shoulder and slowing removing the two iron from Bob's grasp. says.

Duncan, holds the umbrella over Bob. "Are you ok lad?"

Bob nods.

"Just thought I saw someone I knew."

They step out of the tee box as Yohan steps in. Yohan, with driver in hand, goes through his pre-shot routine as David Feherty speaks to the viewers at home.

"It looks as if Yohan is pulling out all the stops to intimidate MacCray."

Yohan hits his drive right over the corner, dead straight. Unaffected by the drizzling wind, it clears Bob’s ball, finding the high grass. Unsure exactly where his ball came to rest, knowing only that it went farther than Bob's.

Handing his driver to the Professor, he pokes at Bob with his words in a thick Scandinavian tone.

"Is it true? That armadillos roll up in ball when frightened?"


"Yeah, but it would take a hell of lot more than a pheasant feather in a fuzzy hat!"

Bob's smile is seen clearly from a fairway camera as Yohan's pace quickens slightly. The boys in the booth make note of their interaction.

"MacCray seems to be pleased."

"And Yohan, not so much," Johnny adds.

"Just wait till he finds his ball," Feherty warns.

Back at eighteen, Harold has given up on being wet and accepts the protection of the Queen’s jubilee umbrella. Paula's sense of too-close-for-comfort rises to a new level with the escaping vapors of Harold's haggis lunch. She searches for a fresh breath of air saying.

"Gap it! And cap it! Puff and stuff," Paula exclaims.

"Well said, Miss Paula," Daggers says with an approving smile.

Thomas and Jim are standing nearby with the other bagpipers when something bright, pink and white catches Thomas's attention. Through drifting drizzle, he rolls onto his toes to see the two men from the Jaguar with a woman.

"Paula?" he says to himself.

His thoughts are interrupted by the words of Sir Mosby.

"Ready lads! Clear your pipes!"

Out on the seventeenth fairway Bob looks over his lie.

"Duncan, I need to put it on the green."

"Aye, that's one way to put it. Just keep it out of sand, lad."

Duncan hands Bob a seven iron with a smile to the echoing sounds of thunder from the skies above.

He removes Bob's temporary shelter as the Texan turns towards the green and thinks back to the night before at the Tavern.

A smile comes to the corners of Bob's mouth when Michael's words ring in his ears, 'Yankee ball chaser.' On the Jumbo Tron at eighteen and all the other televisions around the world that are tuned into one of the greatest tournaments in golf's history, onlookers watch as a smiling middle aged pro golfer strives to make history on the oldest stage in the world of golf.

As the caravan of colorful umbrellas comes to rest around Bob, his mind zeros-in on the landing area just short of the green. With a swing as smooth as the thousands before it, Bob's vision of the ball's flight is like Deja vu — with only one difference.

Back at the eighteenth green, Jim looks up and sees the sky is darkening. He looks over at Thomas with questioning eyes.

"It looks like a real downpour is headed our way?"

"Nay Jimmy, it's just the golf Gods cleaning their shoes."

At that moment a roar comes from the seventeenth green. The gallery at the eighteenth looks up to the Jumbo Tron and sees Bob jump in the air with a fist pump after eagling seventeen. Paula, handcuffed to Daggers, raises her free hand in a little fist pump of her own.

"Way to go, Bobby," she screams.

After his celebration, Bob lifts his hat, giving the largely supportive crowd a wave. Handing Duncan his club with a reverberating sense of shock, he throws an arm around his caddie’s shoulders, and with two big smiles, they walk to the green.

"That just pushed everything to a whole new level," Feherty offers.

Wind brushes the tips of tall grass against the nickered knees of an official standing over Yohan's ball. Yohan steps into the silvery sea of heather with defiant strides.

"With one hole yet to play up by two this not where you would want to be," Johnny says.

The Professor struggles a bit on the undulating area that surrounds Yohan's ball. His monocle slips from his right eye as he hands a nine iron to Yohan.

Once again, Yohan rips a large part of St. Andrews’ landscape into the blowing sea air. His ball lands safely on the green and his club fully intact. With the possibility of being taken out by an errant shot gone, Bob steps onto the green, hands placed into his pockets, as sounds of joyful praise rise from the gallery. With each step he begins the mental questioning. 'Is it me, or is it the Grale?'

Stopping two feet or so from the hole, Bob leans forward and peaks with one eye, like looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon, unsure if what he seeks is down there. With a smile, Bob removes his left hand from his pocket and bends one knee lifting his eagle ball from the cup to the sounds from the gallery he will not soon forget.

Looking down at that white dimpled beautifully worn solider, he gives it a kiss. To a great roar from the crowd, Bob lifts his ball in the air as he walks off the green.

Yohan marks, cleans and places his ball back in front of his marker. He then checks the path of his twenty six foot putt as Feherty speaks softly from green side.

"Stroks really needs this one to stay even with MacCray at twelve under."

Now standing behind his ball, Yohan takes a deep breath and stretches out his arms like a giant green bird ready to take flight. He then shakes his head left to right, whipping the accumulated drizzle from his plastic-wrapped hat.

Wasting no time, Yohan steps beside his ball, takes one look to the hole and sends it on a perfect line, hitting the back of the cup, popping up and in.

Yohan celebrates with a quick two step, finishing in a pose from the cover of 'Saturday Night Fever.' Holding his putter high in his right hand, the sounds from the gallery rapidly fade as the mass of umbrellas move to the eighteenth tee.

In the broadcast booth, Nantz and Miller are on the edge of being giddy over what they have just witnessed.

"Wow! This has been a wild couple of holes," Johnny says.

Nantz agrees. "We can certainly feel your excitement, as well as the excitement of the several thousand fans making their way to the eighteenth green. Bob MacCray has closed the gap going to eighteen where the gallery awaits for thisstory book style comeback, from Texas."

As Bob and Duncan stand on the eighteenth tee, the clouds are becoming even darker as thunder breaks overhead. People around the tee look up past the edges of their umbrellas, and David Feherty waits for the thunder to subside to begin his commentary.

"Bob steps to the tee with three iron in hand, looking extremely calm for a man who has just engineered one of golf’s greatest comebacks at this storied course. He now stands on the edge of history."

Bob lifts the brim of his cap, eyes centered on the target through an increasing drizzle as drops stream down the back of his neck. With a swing created from hours, days, months and years of devotion to the game he loves, Bob makes contact.

As Bob watches his ball reach its peak accent, a great gust of wind drives it downward, forcing the Pro V1 to the ground just left of 'High Pt.' Bob looks to the skies, tapping his four iron to the turf when a feeling of being watched comes over him.

Yohan can’t remain silent as he walks to the tee.

"This is where you curl up into a ball."

Yohan pulls down on the tip of his hat, giving MacCray a game face only a mother could love. Yohan stands in the tee box and holds his driver out to the fairway as if attempting to hit a home run.

David Feherty comments as he watches the spectacle.

"Well, gentlemen, this is another first at St. Andrews, one for the books."

Yohan takes his swing, hitting it clean and true. It flies through the air, pushed by the cross winds, it lands in the depths of 'Valley of Sin,' thirty yards short of the green. Yohan tosses his driver behind him, tumbling through the air end over end. The Professor instinctively reaches out like a majorette, catching it mid-spin and dropping it in the bag grip first.

Bob walks beside Duncan trying to stay in the moment while the strange feeling of being watched surrounds him. He looks down to see the Grale hanging on his bag, and he suppresses the reoccurring thought: Is it me? Or is it the 'Grale.' Suddenly from his blind side a familiar voice.

"Aye lad, the battle nears its end."

Keeping stride with Duncan, Bob turns his head to the left, seeing King James walking alongside. Bob looks straight ahead in frustration.

"Terrific! I don't have time for this."

Holding the umbrella, Duncan turns to Bob.

"What?"

Bob turns to Duncan. "Not you, him," Bob says, nodding to his left.

"Him who?"

"Shit, that's right! You can't see him!"

"See who!? Are you ok laddie, this is no time to be cracking up."

Eyes shifting from his left and then down the fairway, Bob takes a deep breath.

"Never mind, I'm fine."

"Mind this laddie," King James interjects. "Think of not the past, nor thee future, only the now."

The last of King James's words fade into an echoing roll of thunder.

Bob pauses for a moment as network cameras show him turn, looking back to his left and then up across the dark skies before continuing down the fairway.

"What was that all about?" Johnny asks Feherty.

"Not sure. It looked like he was having conversation with someone. Possibly it’s a sign the pressure is getting to him."

"Let’s hope it was a positive conversation," Nantz adds.

When Duncan and Bob reach his ball they see it has come to rest on a downhill lie. With 120 yards to the hole, Bob looks down at his ball and then over to his bag.

"Duncan, any ideas?"

Duncan pulls a wedge from the bag.

"Aye, a tall cool pint of ale."

He hands the club to Bob.

"Lay heavy on the right, anywhere close to the stick will be fine."

Stepping back, he gives Bob a wink. One side of Bob's mouth turns up in a half smile as he looks to his ball and then the green.

He holds his club firmly yet gently, as if he is holding the most beautiful woman in the world, Paula. A lighting flash arcs across the horizon as Bob make his swing.

Yohan watches Bob's ball as it flies through what has become a light rain, and David Feherty makes the call.

"The flight of the ball tells it all. That one’s going left."

Walking towards his ball, Yohan sees Bob's ball land some sixty feet from the hole. He thinks to himself, 'Birdie and it's all mine.' Bob checks his stance and swing in hopes of detecting what led to such a wayward shot.

"Aye Bobby, you stretched the term 'anywhere' just a tad, lad," Duncan says.

Bob tries to keep his emotions from rising to the surface for that one shot he needed more the any other.

When Yohan finds his ball it lies in the hollowed depths of the 'Valley of Sin'. With eyes still firmly fixed on his ball, he reaches out snapping his wet fingers.

"Give me the dancing girl."

Holding the umbrella over the bag, the Professor sifts through the wedges and grabs the one with a belly dancer engraved on the back of the iron.

"One last dance," the Professor says as he hands it to Yohan.

Yohan steps down into the grass-like bunker with his 'Dancing Girl' wedge in hand. He hits a great shot, landing the ball four feet from the hole.

The gallery responds to Yohan's shot as Bob makes his way to his ball.

David Feherty comments on Bob's ball position that lies on the left edge of the green.

"Oh, this is ugly. With the Open Championship on the line, this is not where you want to be. And with Yohan one putt away for birdie."

Bob walks the green, checking the line when out of the corner of his eye he feels Paula's presence with every step.

Yohan, walking to his ball, sees Bob turn and begin the sixty foot walk back to his ball. With Bob’s back to Yohan, Yohan gestures to him and steps up behind his own ball.

"What is he doing?" Johnny asks.

Yohan lines up his putt when a low disapproving groan surfaces from the gallery. Yohan resets his feet and proceeds with his putt.

Bob turns in time to see Yohan's ball lip out.

A mixture of cheers and groans resonates through the gallery as Yohan taps in for par. Feherty is speechless once again with Yohan.

"I can't believe he did that! It was a birdie putt! Now he has given MacCray a chance to make history."


Up in the broadcast booth, Jim and Johnny are at a loss as well.

"Wow that was unexpected. Barring any penalties, he has left Bob a chance of winning — or at least forcing a playoff.

Johnny follows Jim’s comments as Bob stands behind his ball.

“But with the last hour or so of some decent precipitation and a putt of that length, one would just hope to get it close,"

Paula's eyes are locked onto Bob as thunder rumbles through the dark sky above.

"It looks like the skies are going to open up right over the green," Nantz predicts.

"No, Jim, that's just the golf Gods cleaning their shoes," Johnny says.

Duncan stands next to Bob holding an umbrella as Bob dry's his hands. Feherty is only a few feet away.

"MacCray looks as if he is not certain what he wants to do, a chip, or a putt to get it close for par which would take us to a playoff. More than that, chip or putt? This is for the Championship and his first Open win."

Bob hands the towel to Duncan.

"Clear your mind Bobby, just one last feather to go."

Handing Bob his putter, Duncan takes Bob's bag and umbrella, leaving him in the elements of St. Andrews. All signs of sunlight are gone, leaving Bob without any shadows in a veil of light rain.

Paula looks on under the pink and white diamond jubilee umbrella.

The tapping sound of raindrops on Bob's cap is drowned out by the rain falling upon the numerous umbrellas that surround him. Paula grabs Harold's arm hard enough to make him wince as Bob draws his putter back. Suddenly, the double tap of a Lorry’s horn in the distance pulls Bob off of his putt.

Taking a deep breath, Bob steps back, gathering himself as thunder hushed by the rain rolls overhead. As all eyes wait for Bob to reset over his ball, Duncan, with umbrella and towel in hand, quickly meets Bob just off the green. Feherty fills the empty air.

"With the constant rumblings from above, it's not unlike a surfer timing a wave." Johnny then adds,

“And a tricky wave at that.” David responds before Bob Steps back his ball.

“Tricky, like shaving a wet Squirrel.”

Wiping his hands and grip one last time, 'just get it close, just get it close' becomes his mantra of the moment. Once again, Bob settles over the ball, establishing his feet, staring down the cup and then the line.

In the viewing room of Bothwell Castle, Sir Hepburn watches Bob's ball leave his putter with a fin of water trailing behind.

"Go," he urges.

From a third floor window in the St. Andrews hotel, a well-groomed man peers through a pair of binoculars, watching Bob's putt travel across the watery green.

Bob's ball rolls over a rise in the green and turns left, picking up speed. It begins to slow as it hits another rise that almost brings it to a complete stop. Paula squeezes Harold's arm harder as Bob's ball is moving ever so slowly. As it reaches the backside of the slope, it picks up speed once again, tracking right to the hole. Yells and shouts come from the crowd as Bob holds his putter to his chin. His ball slows, stopping on the edge of the hole.

Bob falls to his knees as a great sigh hangs over the gallery. Then a sudden ground-shaking crack of thunder drops right over the green, causing the ball to fall into the cup. The gallery goes crazy, and Thomas and Jim rush the green with the bagpipers. The well-dressed man in the hotel lowers his binoculars and steps away from the window.

Sir Hepburn leaps from his chair, something he has not been able to do in over ten years.

"Victory and Scotland are mine," he yells.

Thomas makes his way to Bob as his fellow bagpipers surround the victor playing 'Scotland the Brave.' Thomas, using Jim as a moving bag piping shield, Positions himself next to Bob's bag. In the chaos, Thomas palms Bob the 'Grale Ghost' and then slips back joining the other bagpipers.

David Feherty yells over the bagpipers who have him trapped on the green.

"That was amazing! It seems the golf Gods had this one in the bag all along!"

Bob pushes his way through the mass of people who have flooded the green. Finally, he comes face to face with Paula's captures. Looking into Paula's teary eyes, he pushes the Grale into the chest of Daggers.

"Here! And don't come back!"

As Daggers un-cuffs Paula, Bob gently takes her face in his hands.

"She's all yours mate," Daggers says.

Bob looks into Paula's beautiful eyes.

"Honey, next time, you’re staying with me."

Bob and Paula smile and kiss as the gallery around them cheers.

"Not many words can describe what we have just seen," Nantz says.

Johnny has a smile from ear to ear.

"Wow! We are still trembling up here! I believe my hair is standing on end."

Harold and Daggers slip back into the crowd with the Grale Ghost, and Bob is pulled away from Paula by golf officials.

"Stay with her," he tells Duncan.

Bob steps backwards with security on each arm.

"Paula! See you later at the tavern," he yells.

Bagpipers play as Bob stands under a row of umbrella's with officials from St. Andrews golf club and the R & A when he is presented with the Open Championship Trophy to cheers from the gallery.


Later, Bob sits at his locker, untying his shoes.

"It can't be said enough. Well done, lad."

Bob replies without lifting his head.

"Well, thanks."

"So, we're done right?” he adds, looking up with a smile. “You can go back to doing whatever it is you do?"

Bob looks back down to his shoes as King James stands before him.

"Aye, that's true, for now."

"What do you mean, for now!"

Bob looks up to see the King has vanished.

A crowd has formed outside the tavern, And with his trophy in hand, Bob is greeted by their cheers and pats on the back as strangers continue to approach him.

"Well done, lad!"

Once inside, he finds Paula, Thomas, Jim, Duncan and Jay seated at a table in the center of the tavern. Placing the Open Championship trophy on the table, he shakes hands with Jay.

"It didn't do that for me, you’re the one MacCray."

Both men smile, and Bob turns, taking Paula in his arms. Holding her tightly, Thomas steps up on a chair and whistles to quiet the crowd.

"Everyone quiet!" The chatter rolls to a silence like a wave, funneling through the open door to the crowd outside.

"Now lift your glass in a toast. To the Scottish blood returned home, and winner of the Open Championship,
Bob MacCray!"

Thomas holds his glass a little higher to conclude the toast.

"And to all that are here, and to those who have come and gone. To St. Andrews, the holy Grale of golf!"

The tavern patrons respond with a unified ' Here! Here,' carrying to the crowd outside that has continued to grow. Thomas steps down, embracing Bob and shaking hands. Michael steps in, handing Bob a cold pint of ale.

"What a day! One to remember Bobby," Thomas says.

"A day? Try a week. I never would have thought, it really worked!"

Taking in the moment, Bob watches as Paula sits at the table and talks with Jay and Duncan. Thomas places a hand on Bob's shoulder, leaning forward and speaking softly in his ear.

"You had the Grale Ghost, lad. That was you, MacCray. That was all you."

A cool white sensation flushes through Bob as Paula looks up into his eyes. She stands with a big smile.

"You've done it Bobby." She says, as they then embrace.

On a road headed north leaving St. Andrews, the black Jaguar is followed by the man from the hotel window driving a silver Austin Martin.

Days later, next to the original Claret Jug first presented in 1873 and that sits on display in the Royal & Ancient, the Grale finds its resting place, for now.

 

                                                                                        THE END.


                            This story is registered with, The Writers Guild of America, West. # 1652364



                                                                                    Coming soon

                                                                                             The
                                                                                          GRALE
                                                                                               II
                                                                                       Reloaded
                                                                                   The Back Nine

 

 

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