European Tour: George O'Grady apologises for the 'hurt' caused in Madeira
Last Updated: 17/05/14 5:27pm
George O'Grady: Sorry for hurt and upset caused in Madeira
George O'Grady has apologised for the 'hurt and upset' caused by the European Tour's decision to continue with the Madeira Islands Open last Sunday following the death of long-time caddie Iain McGregor.
The Zimbabwean, who was carrying the bag for Scottish pro Alastair Forsyth, suffered a fatal heart attack on the ninth hole (his final one) at Santo da Serra.
Immediately following the tragic incident, the Tour announced an indefinite suspension but hours later chose to finish the tournament, which had already been reduced to 36 holes.
A number of golfers and officials criticised the European Tour's decision to resume play at 6pm, following a one-minute silence at the clubhouse.
The Tour's chief executive O'Grady said in a statement: "We had a full and frank meeting with chairman Gerry Byrne and his committee, a meeting which was understandably emotional at times.
"I apologised to them for the hurt and upset caused by events in Madeira and 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.
"This 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."
O'Grady also paid tribute to Forsyth: "Throughout this whole process Alastair has behaved like a true gentleman in incredibly challenging circumstances.
"He accepted our decision to play on in Madeira with grace and dignity and he should command enormous respect for the way he has conducted himself throughout this difficult week."
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 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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