In the background Alliss, on TV, said something about a player's ball "bumbling along" one of Lytham's firm fairways. Bonallack smiled when he heard the words, words he had heard from the mouth of Alliss many times in the past, words he hears every year at the Open.
On Friday afternoon John Paramor, the chief rules official of the European tour, was sitting in a cart beside the 13th hole. Business was slow, and he talked about his quarter century as a rules man and the many friendships that had come out of it. He counts Sir Michael among his friends, and they have played golf together numerous times, in various countries and conditions. Paramor is a good amateur golfer, though not in Bonallack's class. Still, they play level.
"When you first see him, you think he might be a bit of a toff," Paramor said. (Toff: person of high social standing.) "But he's really a great sport. When I see him, I drop to one knee and say, 'My liege.' He says, 'Get up, Paramor.' "
Earlier in the day Paramor had met Stuart Callan in his professional capacity. As Callan played in, his misfortunes were mounting and his pace had turned into something slower than a pub crawl. Paramor clocked Callan as needing more than a minute for a shot on 17 and told him he had to pick up his pace. Callan did and closed with a birdie.
Callan's two-day total was an 18-over par 160. Nonetheless, he earned �1,000 ($1,427), among his biggest paydays. As a golfing experience, he said, it was unmatched. Callan took his medal and his experience and headed home.
Dave Musgrove was working as a caddie in 1975 when Paramor joined the European tour, as a caddie himself. Musgrove showed him the ropes—whom to avoid, how to handle a flagstick—and Paramor has been grateful ever since. "He was county champion of Surrey, and he had a thought about playing professionally, but when he saw what these players could do, he thought the better of it," Musgrove said. He was eating a steak-and-onion sandwich, without the onions, waiting for his man, Sandy Lyle, to show up. This year marked the 40th consecutive Open in which Musgrove caddied, a streak that started at Troon in 1962, when he was a silent 19-year-old. Sam Torrance will never catch Musgrove, not now.
Naturally, we are back to Sam. In the village of British golf you are never too separated from him. Six degrees at most. Here is Torrance playing in the qualifier, Callan beside him. Here is Alliss learning about Callan, and Bonallack listening to Alliss. Here is Paramor recalling his rounds with Bonallack, and Musgrove remembering Paramor the caddie. Here is Musgrove on Torrance, a man he has seen play all his professional life. "I'll tell you about Sam," Musgrove said. "In '87 Sandy and Sam were playing for Scotland in the World Cup in Hawaii. I was caddying for Sandy. Sam three-putted the 18th, and we lost to Wales. Scotland losing to Wales—bring that up with him. You'll find he hasn't cooled down yet. That's Sam."