Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

European Tour were wrong to play after golf caddie tragedy

Biting Back: Where the debate starts

Steven Beacom

A man called Iain McGregor died last weekend. He was a 52-year-old golf caddie from Zimbabwe.

During Sunday's final round of the Madeira Islands Open, while caddying for Scotland's Alastair Forsyth, Iain had a heart attack on the ninth fairway and passed away.

Following the tragedy, it was announced that the European Tour event had been suspended indefinitely.

It wasn't too long, though, before the decision was taken to complete the tournament with the players, including Forsyth, returning to the course with a minute's silence held for Iain before play resumed.

Forsyth finished the ninth hole, which was his last of the day, saying it was what Iain would have wanted. The European Tour gave the same reason for continuing with the tournament.

I know life goes on... but surely not that quickly? Some of the golfers were astounded and angry that play continued, asking for respect to be shown. Irishman Peter Lawrie withdrew from the tournament immediately after the restart was confirmed, slamming the decision.

I shared that discomfort. To me it seemed like an insensitive call to make.

It's a moral dilemma and one I pray we aren't faced with at the North West 200 this week when hopefully all the riders, marshalls and fans get home safely.

Sadly, that's not always the case. In motorcycling, a sport where everyone is aware of the dangers, they tend to carry on if there is a fatality, as was the case at the Tandragee 100 earlier this month when county Dublin rider Noel Murphy died. I'm not sure I could, could you?

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