Forsyth defends decision to play on

Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth has defended the decision to finish the Madeira Islands Open after his caddie died on the course on Sunday.

Forsyth defends decision to play on

Forsyth was playing the last hole of his round – the par-four ninth on the steeply undulating Santo da Serra layout – when 52-year-old Zimbabwean Iain McGregor collapsed on the fairway and suffered a fatal heart-attack.

An indefinite suspension of play was initially announced, but the decision was later taken to resume play at 6pm, with England’s Daniel Brooks eventually beating Scotland’s Scott Henry on the first play-off hole.

“Everybody is in shock,” Forsyth 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, because we felt that was what Mac would have wanted. He was a guy I’ve known for 15 years and was very popular amongst the caddies. Obviously my thoughts go out to his family at this time. For something like this to happen so suddenly is so sad. He’s was far too young for this to happen.

“He was the life and soul of the caddies’ lounge and a nice guy who will be sorely missed. I’m absolutely numb.”

The decision to finish the event was criticised by a number of players, including Sweden’s Joel Sjoholm who had previously worked with McGregor. “Can’t believe that they are sending out players to finish the 2nd and final round when someone just died on the course!!!,” Sjoholm, who missed the 18-hole cut in Madeira, wrote on Twitter.

“R.I.P my dear Mac! Way too young! This going to be a tough evening!”

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