STATEMENT FROM THE EUROPEAN TOUR
Everyone within The European Tour family continues to mourn the untimely passing of caddie Iain ‘Mac’ McGregor, who died during the final round of last week’s Madeira Islands Open.
Tributes paid during this week’s Open de España included a minute’s silence during the first round and a banner beside the clubhouse celebrating his life, while all players and caddies during the first round of next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, have been encouraged to wear ‘Black for Mac’ as a mark of respect.
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady travelled to PGA Catalunya Resort this week to meet personally with the committee of the European Tour Caddies Association, a meeting also attended by Players’ Tournament Committee Chairman Thomas Björn.
O’Grady said: “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.
“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.
“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 the dignity shown by Scotsman Alastair Forsyth, whose bag Mac was carrying when the tragedy struck.
“Throughout this whole process Alastair has behaved like a true gentleman in incredibly challenging circumstances,” said the European Tour Chief Executive. “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 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.”