O'Grady apologizes for 'hurt and upset' from Madeira


European Tour chief executive George O'Grady issued a statement Saturday in which he apologized for the "hurt and upset" caused by the Tour's decision to continue the final round of the Madeira Islands Open following the death of caddie Ian MacGregor.

MacGregor, 52, suffered a heart attack on the ninth hole during the final round last week and died as a result. Tournament officials suspended play for one hour before resuming the competition, with some players - including Peter Lawrie - opting to withdraw out of respect to MacGregor.

According to a European Tour statement, O'Grady personally met this week with members of the European Tour Caddies' Association.

"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 apologized to them for the hurt and upset caused by the events in Madeira," O'Grady said. "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."

O'Grady added that he has called for a review of tournament operations under similar circumstances "so that we can ensure the lessons of Madeira are learned."

With the BMW PGA Championship on deck next week, the European Tour's flagship event, O'Grady noted that players will be asked to wear "Black for Mac" during the opening round at Wentworth - the same day that MacGregor is laid to rest in Madeira.

"That decision (to continue the event) 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," he said.

Byrne, the chairman of the European Tour Caddies' Association, added that the meeting with O'Grady was a productive one.

"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 at Madeira," Byrne said. "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."