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Caddie dies at Madeira course

Madeira: Alastair Forsyth’s caddie has died of a heart attack during the final day of the Madeira Open, here, on Sunday.

A statement on the European Tour website confirmed Zimbabwean Ian MacGregor had passed away despite the best efforts of medical personnel.

“Everyone at the European Tour extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Ian at this time,” the organisation said.

A minute’s silence took place at the clubhouse before play resumed.

“Following consultation with the players and caddies involved, it has been decided that play should continue and the tournament should finish,” added the European Tour in their statement.

“All administration will be taken care of by the European Tour and we will help in any way possible.” MacGregor is believed to have suffered a heart attack at the ninth hole at Santo da Serra. The tournament had been reduced to 36 holes due to numerous lengthy delays caused by fog.

Nine-time major winner Gary Player was among those to paid tribute to MacGregor on Twitter, saying: “RIP Big Mac. You will be missed. My condolences.”

Zimbabwean golfer Tony Johnstone tweeted: “Just heard very sad news of passing of my friend Ian MacGregor (Zim Mac) whilst caddying in Madeira. A top man and will miss him. RIP Mac.”

And Forsyth’s fellow Scot Paul Lawrie added on the social network: “One of the caddies Ian McGregor (mac) died on the course today in Madeira while working for Al Forsyth, great guy RIP my friend.”

The Madeira Islands Open, Portugal, was reduced to 36 holes, with the cut to fall at the conclusion of round one on Sunday morning, after persistent fog played havoc with The European Tour’s 1,500th event.

After day one was abandoned due to heavy fog all day, round one got underway on Friday but not before further delays, as more clouds moved in on the mountain-top Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra in the morning.

Play was eventually halted at 8:00pm (local time) on Friday evening when more fog settled on the course and Round One once again resumed on Saturday at 12:00pm, after another delay in the morning.

Two more suspensions followed on Saturday, the latest coming at 4:38pm and as the fog continued, play was suspended overnight, with the first round set to resume at 8:00am on Sunday morning.

Jose Maria Zamora, The European Tour’s Tournament Director, said: “Due to the very long delays throughout this tournament, a decision was made to reduce the tournament to 36 holes, with a cut after 18 holes.

“We have made a decision which will give us the best possible chance of a satisfactory conclusion to what has been an extremely long and trying week for everyone so far.