European Tour players express sadness at on-course death of caddie Ian MacGregor

Ian MacGregor and Joel Sjoholm
Joel Sjoholm via Twitter
European Tour player Joel Sjoholm shared this photo of him with caddie Ian MacGregor, saying "R.I.P my dear Mac! Way too young! This going to be a tough evening!"
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 | 8:20 p.m.

Several generations of European Tour players reacted with shock and sadness on Sunday at the news that veteran caddie Ian MacGregor died while caddying for Scotland's Alistair Forsyth at the Madeira Islands Open.

MacGregor, 52, of Zimbabwe, died of apparent heart attack on the ninth hole at Santa da Serra during the second and final round of the tournament, which had been reduced to 36 holes by fog.

Play continued in the wake of MacGregor's death, prompting a variety of opinion on social media from players and spectators who thought the event should have been cancelled. However, European Tour officials consulted with players and caddied before deciding to hold a minute of silence before finishing up, and Forsyth himself agreed with the call.

"I felt that was what Mac would have wanted," Forsyth said. "He was a guy I've known for 15 years and he was very popular amongst the caddies. 

"Obviously my thoughts go out to his family. For something like that to happen so suddenly is so sad," he added. "He's far too young and he had no problem carrying bags around a golf course so I didn't see an awful lot wrong with him."

Players from legends like Gary Player to young professionals like Branden Grace took to social media to express their condolences at the loss of a caddie who Forsyth called "the life and soul of the caddies' lounge, a good laugh and nice guy."

Among those speaking up was former Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman, who noted that the first time MacGregor caddied for him was right there ar Madeira. 

Here is a sample of their reactions:

Pablo Larrazabal: Very sad news coming from Madeira... All my thoughts are with Alastair Forsyth Caddie and his family... #RIP #DEP @EuropeanTour

Thomas Norret: RIP Mac! A great man! #verysad

Simon Khan: So sad to hear about Zim Mac great caddy and top bloke rip mate

Joel Sjoholm: R.I.P my dear Mac!Way to young! This going to be a tough evening!Died on the 9th fairway in Madeira!! 

Gary Player: RIP Big Mac. You will be missed. My condolences

Pablo Larrazabal: Ian MacGregor... What i am going to say... Great guy, good laugh, a proper Zim,... Rest in peace buddy... #prayingforyou #RIP

Richie Ramsay: Sad news of Mac passing in Madeira #RIPmac

Paul Lawrie: One of the caddies ian Mcgregor (mac) died on the course today in Madeira while working for al forsyth , great guy RIP my friend

Branden Grace: RIP big Mac....what a guy!! You'll be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Matthew Baldwin: Can't believe what I have heard from Madeira today. RIP to a top man, Mac.

Mikko Ilonen: Sad news from Madeira.. RIP Mac

Soren Hansen: I was full of joy after today but now in tears after the news of Zim Mac. He was a top bloke with an incredible life story. Rip my friend...

Roger Chapman: So sad to hear Ian Mac has died. Sadly missed. Caddied for me. The first time was of all places, Madeira. RIP mate #topbloke

Maarten Lafeber: Very sad to hear that caddy Ian McGregor died today at the 9th hole in Madeira! He caddied 3 weeks ago for me at the NH Collection Open.

Gary Boyd: RIP Mac you always put a smile on peoples faces you will be truely missed mate

Oliver Wilson: Terrible news about Zim Mac in Madeira. One of the nicest guys out there & always brightened your day. RIP Pal

Thomas Pieters: Roger and myself will miss you greatly Mac. Such a great person passed today who will be missed by the whole tour. #RIPMac