Euro Tour chief sorry over ‘hurt’

European Tour

European Tour chief executive George O’Grady has apologised for the way they handled things following the death of caddie Iain McGregor at the Madeira Islands Open.

McGregor, on the bag of Alastair Forsyth, suffered a heart attack on the ninth hole and paramedics were unable to revive him. Play at the Santo da Serra was initially suspended, but officials decided to return to the course after a few hours.

Although Forsyth defended the decision to resume play, Paul Lawrie and two other players immediately withdrew from the tournament and the Scot said “in my opinion it was shocking, absolutely shocking, they played on”.

O’Grady held an “emotional” meeting with the European Tour Caddies Association at the Spanish Open and players’ tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn also attended.

“We had a full and frank meeting with chairman Gerry Byrne and his committee, a meeting which was understandably emotional at times and one during which I apologised to them for the hurt and upset caused by events in Madeira,” he said in a statement.

“I completely understand the views of people who say that we should not have carried on, but it was a terrible situation for anyone to be in and the decision to finish the tournament was not taken lightly, either by myself or by the tournament officials on the ground in Madeira.

“However, that decision is in the past and the important thing now is that we continue to work with Mac’s family and friends – as we have done from last Sunday – to assist with arrangements surrounding the funeral, which will take place in Madeira next Thursday, the same day as we wear ‘Black for Mac’ at Wentworth (during the first round of the BMW PGA Championship).

“I have also personally instructed a review of how we deal, operationally, at tournaments with situations such as this so that we can ensure the lessons of Madeira are learned.”

Gerry Byrne, chairman of the European Tour Caddies Association, said: “We as a committee have faced an extremely tough week. Dealing with the passing of our colleague and friend during a tournament is particularly upsetting.

“While we understand that decisions have to be made at very short notice, it will come as no surprise to anyone that all European Tour caddies felt the wrong one was made in Madeira.

“We went into the meeting unhappy and it was emotional at times, but George’s humility and honesty in dealing with tough questions was greatly appreciated and it reassured us of the caddies’ important position within the Tour.

“We can now look forward to celebrating Iain’s life next Thursday and strengthening our links with the European Tour moving forwards.”

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