SANTO DA SERRA, Madeira Islands – Daniel Brooks made par on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the fog-shortened Madeira Islands Open, which was overshadowed by the death of a caddie earlier in the day.
Scott Henry, who had birdied the last three holes to force a playoff, three-putted for bogey on the first extra hole to finish second.
However, some European Tour members said the tournament should have been stopped after Ian MacGregor, the 52-year-old Zimbabwe-born caddy to Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack on the ninth fairway – Forsyth’s final hole.
The event, which had already been shortened to 36 holes because of a series of fog delays, was halted again after the delay but restarted following a minute’s silence.
“Can’t believe they are going to keep playing in Madeira,” Pablo Larrazabal, who was not in the tournament, wrote on Twitter. “Life is more important than golf.”
France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, who missed the first-round cut, also wrote: “There is no respect anymore. How you can even walk on the 9th fairway.”
However, European Tour officials said they had consulted with players and caddies before deciding to play on. Forsyth said it was the right decision.
“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’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.
“He was the life and soul of the caddies’ lounge, a good laugh and nice guy. I’m absolutely numb.”
Brooks shot a 5-under 67 to sit tied with Henry (68) at 9-under 135 after the second and final round.
It was Brooks’ first European Tour victory in his 33rd event. His previous best was 11th place at last December’s Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa.
“It’s great to get a win, but it’s not nice to do it in these circumstances,” Brooks said. “It’s horrible what happened out there so my condolences go out to all of his family.”
Four players, including Spanish duo Jordi Garcia Pinto and Antonio Hortal, were three shots back in a tie for third.