• European Tour

Forsyth defends decision to play on after caddie death

ESPN staff
May 13, 2014
Alastair Forsyth was midway through his final hole when his caddie Iain McGregor collapsed © Getty Images

The golfer whose caddie suffered a heart attack and died during the Madeira Islands Open has revealed he was part of the decision to continue playing.

Alastair Forsyth was playing the ninth hole at Santo da Serra, a steep and undulating course 2,000 feet above sea level, when his bagman Iain McGregor - affectionately known as 'Mac' in golf circles - collapsed.

The European Tour was condemned by some of its own players for deciding to complete the tournament, but Forsyth, who returned to finish his final hole of the round, defended the decision.

"Everybody is in shock," he said. "To see that happen to someone in front of your eyes -- I don't know how or when you get over that.

"Myself and playing partners Adam [Gee] and Tano [Goya] met tournament officials and spoke to [European Tour chief executive] George O'Grady on the phone before taking the decision to play on.

"We felt that was what Mac would have wanted."

A statement on the death of McGregor, who would have turned 53 on Tuesday, was immediately released by the Tour. Part of it read that "following consultation with the players and caddies involved, it has been decided that play should continue and the tournament should finish".

Three players, including Peter Lawrie, decided to withdraw. And with the Irishman a member of a 15-strong committee, it is almost certain this issue will be raised at the Tour's next meeting at the end of May.

Lawrie, who tried to persuade officials to postpone the tournament, told the Irish Independent: "It was a mark of respect to Mac. I've been out here 12 years and I've known him all that time. He was a lovely man.

"In my opinion it was shocking, absolutely shocking, they played on.

"I've never withdrawn from a tournament before. I wasn't going well but that had nothing to do with it. A man died. I believe it's totally wrong what they did. I don't see how I could have played that ninth hole."

Australian Scott Arnold revealed the tournament director told players that "it's a professional sport and the show must go on".

European Tour players Oli Fisher, Simon Khan, Pablo Larrazabal, Joel Sjöholm and Mikko Ilonen also took to Twitter to add their disgust.

Fellow caddie, Craig Connelly, who at the time was preparing for the final round of the Players Championship at Sawgrass for eventual winner Martin Kaymer, added:

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