Caddie McGregor dies on course in Madeira Islands Open

The Madeira Islands Open was played to a finish last night despite the death of caddie Ian McGregor on the course.

The Zimbabwean, who was working for Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, suffered a heart attack on the ninth hole at Santo da Serra, a steeply undulating course more than 2,000 feet above sea level. An indefinite suspension of play was initially announced, but the decision was eventually taken to resume play at 6pm.

A statement from the European Tour read: “It is with great sadness and deep regret that we report the untimely passing of caddie Ian McGregor. Everyone at the European Tour extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Ian at this time.

“After consultation with the players and  caddies involved, however, it was decided the tournament should finish. A minute’s silence has taken place.”

Gary Player led the tributes on Twitter, writing: “RIP Big Mac. You will be missed. My condolences.”

And McGregor’s fellow Zimbabwean, former player Tony Johnstone, added: “Just heard very sad news of passing of my friend Ian McGregor (Zim Mac). A top man and will miss him. RIP Mac.” Scottish caddie Craig Connolly, who was preparing to work for joint-leader Martin Kaymer in the final round of the  Players Championship in Florida, wrote: “Just got to the course and hearing the news Ian McGregor (Mac) died on the course in Madeira. Very sad news. Great character.”

The event, reduced to 36 holes due to fog delays, was won by Englishman Daniel Brooks on nine-under par, after a play-off over Scotland’s Scott Henry.

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