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Caddie Iain McGregor dies of heart attack at Madeira Islands Open

By CNN Staff
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Players and caddies observe a minute's silence for Iain McGregor following his death at the Madeira Islands Open.
Players and caddies observe a minute's silence for Iain McGregor following his death at the Madeira Islands Open.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Caddie Iain McGregor dies after suspected heart attack at Madeira Islands Open
  • European Tour decides tournament should be completed
  • A number of golf players angered by European Tour's decision to finish play

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(CNN) -- Should a sporting event be allowed to continue if a key participant dies during competition?

Golf's European Tour insisted it should be following the death of Alastair Forsyth's caddie Iain McGregor on the final day of the Madeira Islands Open Sunday.

Known affectionately as Mac by his friends, McGregor collapsed on the fairway with a suspected heart attack as Forsyth was playing the ninth hole -- the last of his round -- and was later pronounced dead.

After an initial indefinite suspension of play, and discussions with a number of players and caddies, the European Tour decided the tournament should be completed.

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"Everyone at the European Tour extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Iain at this time," read a European Tour statement.

"Following consultation with the players and caddies involved, however, it has been decided that play should continue and the tournament should finish."

Forsyth, who revealed the 52-year-old Zimbabwean's death was one of the toughest experiences he has ever had to deal with, backed the European Tour's decision, insisting McGregor would have expected the show to go on.

"Everybody is in shock. To see that happen to someone in front of your eyes -- I don't know how or when you get over that," Forsyth told the European Tour's official website.

"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."

Forsyth went on to pay a glowing tribute to a friend and colleague that leaves behind a daughter.

"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 said.

"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."

But while Forsyth welcomed the European Tour's decision to play on, it was a move that did not prove to be a unanimous one among the Scot's peers, with Sweden's Joel Sjoholm, who had previously worked with the caddie, leading the way, expressing his disbelief that the event had continued.

Sjoholm's state of shock and disbelief was shared by many.

Prior to McGregor's collapse, the tournament had been reduced to 36 holes due to adverse weather conditions.

Daniel Brooks eventually went on to claim the Madeira Islands Open title, beating Scott Henry in a playoff at the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra.

Brooks, however, was unable to bask in the glory of his maiden European Tour win, given the day's tragic events that had occurred earlier in the afternoon.

"It's great to get a win, but it's not nice to do it in these circumstances," he told the European Tour's official website.

"It's horrible what happened out there so my condolences go out to all of his family."

Read: Kaymer holds on to claim Players Championship

Read: Woods unable to set date on return to fitness

Read: Holmes completes comeback win at Quail Hollow

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