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European Tour caddy dies in the fairway

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European Tour Caddy Ian McGregor collapsed and died on Sunday, suffering a heart attack during the final round of the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal. Alistair Forsyth, for whom McGregor was caddying, controversially decided to complete his round following the tragedy, eliciting negative responses from the public.

Forsyth was on his last hole at Clube de Golfe Santo da Serra, the course’s ninth, when his caddy dropped to the ground. European Tour officials, after consulting caddies and players, decided to continue play and finish the 36-hole event, which was shortened due to inclement weather earlier in the week.

Play was briefly suspended after initial first aid care attempts were unsuccessful, and a moment of silence was held in McGregor’s remembrance before the event was ultimately resumed.

The European Tour issued the following statement regarding the events that took place:

“It is with great sadness and deep regret that we report the untimely passing of caddie Ian McGregor during play on the final day of the Madeira Islands Open.

Everyone at The European Tour extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Ian at this time.

Following consultation with the players and caddies involved, however, it has been decided that play should continue and the tournament should finish.”

Fellow players took to Twitter to voice their opinion of the actions taken by the European Tour.

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Forsyth, who finished tied for 63rd place, defended his decision to continue playing.

“I felt that was what Mac would have wanted,” said Forsyth. “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.”

“It’s great to get a win, but it’s not nice to do it in these circumstances,” said Daniel Brooks, who went on to win the event. “It’s horrible what happened out there so my condolences go out to all of his family.”

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. jc

    May 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    if that was tiger’s caddie, he would probably dock his family for not finishing the round and steal his wallet. (and if he had a wife, try and make it with her at the funeral)

  2. jc

    May 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    we had two guys at our club who always played together…one day, on no. 13, one of the guys dropped dead…the other guy finished the round after the ambulance took the other guy away.
    but hey, he wasn’t going to get his green fees back was he?
    we did have one guy who said he wasn’t feeling good, so he left.
    a few holes later, we see an ambulane coming down the street…the guy had a heart attack but because he was at home by then, they got him to the hospital and he recovered. the last place you want to be is way out on the course (this was before all the cell phones)

  3. KK

    May 18, 2014 at 1:20 am

    There’s a time for mourning. I’m not sure during a tournament is the time for it. “The show must go on” is not just about money, it’s about the respect for the fans, the charities and everyone involved who puts food on the table because of the tournament. Ultimately, it’s loved ones who carry his legacy, not a group of people who only know him as Forsyth’s caddie.

  4. Evan

    May 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Think of it as if you were the Caddie, Ian. I would have wanted some attention paid to my condition, a moment of silence, and then the players to finish. I would have wanted some nice words said and a few drinks paid my way in the clubhouse. People die everyday, most much more unceremoniously than Ian McGregor.

    Even if the tournament was cancelled, it wouldn’t have been in regard to the individual, but to the circumstance. Honor the individual and his passion, his life work. Play golf, play the tournament that hundreds of individuals came to win. Finish what was started… canceling or withdrawing does nothing to Honor Ian McGregor.

  5. alex

    May 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Its not like he died and then they just continued, they stopped, took care of it, consulted with the whole field and decided to play. Since he finished 63rd it shows he wasn’t just playing because he could win, he wanted to finish what him and his caddie started.

  6. Jim

    May 16, 2014 at 7:40 am

    The golfer done the right thing. If I was the caddie then I would want him to play on. Don’t judge the golfer. Judge yourself. R.I.P.

  7. Al

    May 16, 2014 at 4:52 am

    This is just about the smallest event on the European tour. Forsyth finished 63, not first or second or top 10, 63rd! Unbelievable that he could continue and that the European tour would be so single minded in trying to finish the event after someone dies on the course. What if it was a player?
    Terrible…..

  8. Boo

    May 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I can guarantee you Phil M. wouldnt have left Bones dead in the fairway only to continue his round!!!!

  9. GolferX

    May 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I am torn over Forsyth’s reaction, a real pro would have gone on because he knows that is what his caddy would have wanted. But then the other side is that it is disrespectful to the family. I don’t know, I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. Condolences to the family.

  10. Ben

    May 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    The ONLY way not dropping out is acceptable is if he donated all the winnings to the family of the caddy immediately after, which he didn’t do. That’s so incredibly disrespectful.

  11. HD

    May 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Forsythe obviously German player, insensitive to human life

    • AAA

      May 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Do you want to insult us, or what? (apart from Forsyth being Scottish).

    • Matt

      Jun 20, 2014 at 7:05 am

      I am German and I can’t tell you how insulting I find this comment. The only thing I can say is that you are a complete idiot. Additionally, Forsyth is a Scot. And I don’t think that all Scots are like him. Maybe this is how we Germans are… objective, critical and differentiating.

  12. Desolateplanet

    May 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    It reminds me of Young Guns…..I shall finish the game!

  13. Desolateplanet

    May 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I shall finish the game!

  14. Butch

    May 15, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    it’s not like he died on the way to the course..he died ON the course. play should have been stopped right then and there. It only proves once again that MONEY is more important to the Tournaments ,than anyone involved IN them. it had already been shortened, so a 1 day delay would not have hurt a thing…. bad call, no class.

    • Evan

      May 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Why did everyone come to the golf course that day? To play golf and finish a tournament… he was taken by natural causes. With some respect being paid his way, they should have finished. What does delaying one day do? His funeral is not going to be that day, not with his family. Let the situation and the people around him (who know him) dictate his final moment and honoring.

      People die everyday, most much less recognized than Ian McGregor. An honorable death for his life’s work; on the fairway, during an event.

  15. Nick

    May 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Euro-trash!

  16. Mat

    May 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Hey, unless I missed it, he might have finished his last couple of shots before he would have known he died. It’s an assumption that he died in two seconds the way this article reads. One might also deduct “I’m having chest pains; go finish and I’ll catch up…” And 10 minutes later, he dies. Tragic, but the story could be that way, and not that insensitive.

  17. Jafar

    May 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    If Forsyth would have dropped out it would have been sufficient. Let everyone else continue while you attend to your “friend” of 15 years.

    What if his father had died playing golf with friends and then they continued their round?

    Shameless, he should feel bad.

  18. Jeremy

    May 15, 2014 at 2:15 am

    It’s hard to hold him at fault based on a few paragraphs on the web. Like Forsyth said, he knew the guy 15 years. They may have joked about exactly this over a few beers many years back. My first thought was “he’d probably want him to compete and continue,” and that’s the first thing Forsyth said. So let’s not be so quick to judge.

    I do hope he carried his own bag the rest of the way though.

  19. Anthony Penney

    May 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    It’s sad that a player would continue to play while his caddy lay dead, a real pro (person) would have stayed with him until his family arrived and help console them with the grieving process, too sad really.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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Equipment

Inside look: Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges on tour…6 months after launch

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Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges hit professional golf tours months ago. We reported on the launch extensively (see our videos later in the article) with deep coverage on the PGA Tour and at retail. As with any new offering, and especially for the gearheads on GolfWRX, it’s the tour chatter that drives us. What the pros do, play, and think is always a driving force.

However…

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the aftermath of a launch. What are the reactions and tweaks that are made once the shine has worn off?  It’s not uncommon for players to need to warm up to a new product before it ultimately finds its way into the bag permanently.

When Jaws hit the scene, it integrated quite quickly, and that is saying a lot. The MD4 was a very successful wedge line on tour and at retail. It was a huge initial launch and one Callaway was happy with as a solid portion of its staff put Jaws in play straight away.

In my conversations with tour staff and techs, spin and lower ball flight has been a recurring theme. In the case of the Tour, being able to flight a wedge down and not have it float, while maintaining maximum spin, is a weapon. Imagine being at Honda last week and knowing you can hit a knee-high fastball with a 58-degree wedge and trust the ball will stay down, not skip, and will stop dead in its tracks. On tour, its the speed of the stop that is valuable, not ripping it backward—that is typically only fun for TV. Golf these days is more like darts and less like billiards.

As to be expected, the grinds on all Callaway wedges are tour favorites. It’s pretty simple to fall in love with something that comes ought of the mind of Roger Cleveland, who has been the driving force in putting Callaway consistently at the No. 2 most-played wedge on Tour.

But how has the MD5  really done thus far?

Let’s be clear, most guys don’t make switches late-summer or fall (when MD5 was launched on tour). The season is too far down the river and the coming winter gives them quiet time to really test. Also, when you work through the California swing, a good portion of the higher-ranked staff only poke their heads out once or twice. This doesn’t mean the guys on the truck aren’t building new products, but a good portion of it is for winter testing, emergency backups, etc.

But now we hit the Florida swing. The Masters is a month away. The world’s best start to show up consistently, the playing surfaces change from the West Coast to the East Coast, and all of these guys are in full attack mode. Any real testing or guesswork is pretty much done, and it’s time to get going. This is the time when you can actually see if a product has staying power.

The question is since Jaws hit the scene, what have the pros learned, what adjustments have been made to dial them in, and ultimately, is this wedge line a success? I wanted to tackle this question from two different perspectives: from the reps on tour and two young staff players that have them in play.

In this case, there is the guy on the Callaway tour trailer who is in charge of wedges, Simon Wood, and young tour staffers Akshay Bhatia and Min Woo Lee.

Three unique perspectives—and also perspectives that give us an honest look at the performance and popularity of a “new” wedge on Tour.

I talk with Simon Wood quite a bit. He’s a good as they get in this category, having worked for years in Europe and on the U.S. tour. His knowledge is extensive and even more importantly, he is ridiculously honest. If the product is solid and he believes in it, he will tell you. If he goes quiet, there’s that too.

I caught up with him on a day off and this was the update he gave:

Wunder: It seems MD5 came out of the gates quickly and never really slowed down, are you surprised at the response?

Wood: Not at all. Truth is, these players are very particular about what makes it in or out of the bag. A new club has to do something better than the old one and do all the things they liked about the old one. The Jaws really spins. This is a unique groove system, and I’ve noticed the players like it for two main reasons 1) They can keep the trajectory down on the high lofts 2) they can be a bit more aggressive because of the amount of spin these wedges offer. Out on tour that’s a big deal.

Wunder: What percentage of staff (25+players on U.S. Tours) are in the MD5 across the board?

Wood: I’d say close to 50 percent, which is a good number considering how many good options are out there.

Wunder: Now that we are in the Florida swing, are you having to do anything special to adjust to the new grass and conditions?

Wood: No its the opposite actually. I think with the grooves being as good as they are and the number of options we have grind wise, we on the truck are doing less tweaking and grinding to wedges. That’s a sign one the R&D team did a great job with this design and two that our players trust our product enough to let their creativity take over.

Wunder: Any surprise grinds that are popping up more often?

Wood: It’s not a surprise because we knew it was good, but the low bounce W has been a hit thus far. Lots of guys testing and gaming that one.

I then went on to chat with Callaway staffers Min Woo Lee (winning WITB, podcast link below) and Akshay Bhatia on their experience with Jaws. This perspective was interesting because Akshay is young, he’s fighting for a place to play this summer, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing as a professional. Min just recently won in Australia and has enough time under his belt now to understand a real asset over something he’s still trying to make work.

Point is: pressure is high on both of these kids, and the last thing either wants to struggle with is their wedges.

Wunder: You were an early adopter of the MD5 last fall, have you noticed any significant improvement over your previous gamers?

Bhatia: Trust is the biggest one. I love the shape of these wedges and just knowing that Roger and Phil have an influence on the wedges you are playing gives me so much confidence. From a performance standpoint, I like the variety in grinds the MD5 offers. Anywhere I play I have an option, whether it be X in soft conditions or C for the firmer turf.

Wunder: With the aggressive grooves of the MD5, what shots have you gained that you didn’t have before?

Bhatia: Definitely the off-speed/three-quarter shots with some spin. These wedges really keep the ball down and it’s a bonus when I know I can take something off of a shot and the ball will stay down and hold its line into the wind.

Wunder: And your current set up is?

Bhatia: Currently, I’m in the Jaws MD5 50S, 54S bent to 55, and the 60C or X depending on the conditions (KBS $Taper 130X shafts in black with Iomic grips) with some heel and toe relief in the X. I also like to mess around wit the PM Grind 60 if I’m looking for a different look.

Young Callaway staffer Min Woo Lee, who recently triumphed at the European Tour’s Vic Open, has this to say

Wunder: What ball flight differences do you see in Jaws over the past wedge set?

MWL: Overall the same. I like to pick my trajectory. So if I didn’t like it,  I wouldn’t have put it in my bag…need to have every shot at my disposal.

Wunder: Do you do any extra grinding to your S?

MWL: Just in the 60, there is a little leading edge relief ground in. Prevents it from digging and gives me a bit more ability to be aggressive into it.

Wunder: Are there any other grinds you tried?

MWL: I tried the low bounce W and really liked, but the S grind has been my go-to for a long time, I know how to play with that one.

Wunder: As far as full shot turf interaction, why do you prefer the S?

MWL: The S is always what I’ve been into looks-wise, nothing else really caught my eye like that grind did. I do pretty good chipping around with it around the greens and we have some history so why mess with a good thing.

Overall, I think the MD5 wedge line has been a success on tour. Let’s be honest, wedges arent drivers, but identifying a popular line over another is quite interesting. These guys can get a TV remote ground into something useable, so when there is a shift across the staff to a new model, it validates that the ideas in it are sound and the wedge performs like it says it will. For larger tour staffs like Callaway has, operating a 50 percent clip for full line use is a really solid number.

Let’s be clear here, Callaway hasn’t made a bad wedge…like ever. From X Forged to the MD line and now into Jaws, Roger and the team know what they are doing. In my experience with these wedges, I will say that the grooves are ridiculously aggressive, and as Bhatia mentioned, there is a grind to satisfy any conditions.

Do most OEMs make solid wedges? The answer is of course they do; they all do. But the advantage that Callaway has over the rest in this category is Roger Cleveland. Having the man who inspired some of the most iconic wedge shapes ever coupled with a superb R&D team yields a combination that will deliver quality and performance time after time.

Here are some pics from the forums of MD5 out on tour now.

Akshay BhatiaFrancesco Molinari
Brendan GraceIsaiah SalindaJ.J. SpaunAlex Noren
Chun An YunHenrik Stenson Matt Wallace 

Si Woo Kim

Check out the videos below to see me and one of our forum members put Jaws MD5 to the test!

 

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