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When I asked the caddy master about getting a cart that I could keep overnight, he suggested that I first talk to the starter about playing. I soon found out why. The starter told me that the Old Course was closed the next day because of a match between Deane Beman and Bob Charles that was going to be filmed for television by BBC. The match was to start at 8:30, but the BBC was to prepare the course and set up its cameras beginning at 7 a.m. Even though I had assured the starter that I would be off the course an hour before the BBC arrived, the answer about my playing remained negative.
Once again I thought that my golf day was over. I returned to the golf shop to tell the caddy master of my problem with the starter. Here again, as had happened at the airport, my tale of woe fell on sympathetic ears. It was "suggested" that I go out at daylight on the Old Course as I had planned and that no one would know the difference, since by the time the BBC arrived I would be well on my way to Edinburgh.
It was now 8:30 p.m. and all that remained to do was to find a room, have dinner and wait for the morning. I got the last single room left in the Golf Hotel, prepaid my bill and was in bed at 9:30 p.m. I did not sleep, but I had not expected to.
The Great Day started for me at 3 a.m. when I got up, dressed and went to sit in my rented car to wait for enough light to see the ball on the first tee and hopefully to follow it in flight. Finally, at five minutes to 4, I stood in front of the picture window of the Royal and Ancient clubhouse and, with only God as my witness, hit my drive down the No. 1 fairway.
The round at St. Andrews, a 79, was the best of the three I played and was highlighted by an eagle 3 on No. 17, the Road Hole, perhaps the most famous golf hole in the world. The second shot actually hit the pin but bounced back—two inches away from a double eagle. It must have been one of the fastest rounds ever played on the Old Course, for, even with a five-minute wait for additional daylight, on the second tee, I had putted out on 18 at 5:45 a.m.—one hour and 50 minutes after my first drive. I was at Edinburgh airport at 7:10 a.m., well in advance of schedule and with sufficient time on my hands to have coffee and two doughnuts. This was all the food I was to have until a 9 p.m. dinner following the round at St.-Cloud.
The flight from Edinburgh arrived in London at 9:15 a.m., and here I had no trouble at all arranging a car rental, although it was a full hour after I landed before I was on my way to Sunningdale, about 15 miles south of the airport. It was 11 o'clock when I teed off on the first hole of the Old Course. Eighty-two shots and two hours and five minutes later my caddy and I walked off the 18th hole.
By 2 p.m. I had driven back to the London airport, turned in my car and boarded my flight for Paris. Now, for the first time, I felt relaxed and satisfied that only time stood between me and the successful completion of my three-country golf tour. All that I had to accomplish now was a plane ride to Paris, a taxi from the airport to St.-Cloud and a leisurely 18 holes with friends.
My taxi arrived at St.-Cloud at 4:15 p.m., a full 45 minutes before the tee-off time that had been agreed to in Majorca. At 4:25 p.m. the first of my friends arrived. The two others were there within the 10 minutes that followed. Their enthusiasm and encouragement made the last 18 holes most enjoyable, despite a start of 6-7-6 and a final round of 84. At 8:15 p.m. the final putt went in on St.-Cloud's finishing hole, and a day of golf that had begun at St. Andrews 16 hours and 20 minutes earlier was now ended. It had passed quickly.
As I look back on what I did, I am very certain about three things: first, a great deal of luck is necessary when there is no advance planning other than the plan itself. Second, I am very pleased that I went through with my project, although it may not have proved anything other than the fact that airplane travel now makes almost everything possible. Third, I have no intention of trying to improve on this accomplishment. Before I had gone to St. Andrews I had thought about trying next year to play three courses on three continents in the same day. If such a feat is possible, someone else is going to have to prove it.