DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A caddie collapsed and died during the Dubai Ladies Masters on Wednesday, forcing the suspension of the first round and shortening the tournament to 54 holes.
The Ladies European Tour said play was suspended at 10:30 a.m. after 56-year-old caddie Maximilian Zechmann fell ill on the 13th fairway of the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club. It said a medical team at the golf course immediately treated him before he was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Zechmann, an Austrian who had been based in Dubai, was caddying for French player Anne-Lise Caudal.
"Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is extremely shocked and saddened today by this sudden death and therefore we have taken the decision to suspend first-round play as a mark of respect," Tour chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh said in a statement.
The first round at the season-ending tournament was scheduled to resume Thursday.
It is not the first time a caddie has collapsed and later died during tournament play.
In 2014, 52-year-old Ian MacGregor, a caddie of Alastair Forsyth, died of a heart attack on the ninth fairway at the Madeira Islands Open.
Ian Poulter was among the golfers paying tribute to Zechmann online.
"Very sad to see the passing of another caddie. Done many rounds with Big Max. #RIP thoughts go out to his family and friends," Poulter tweeted.
Carly Booth, who was playing in the same group as Caudal, called the death "horrendous."
"Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Max," she wrote on Twitter.
Zechmann is survived by wife Elinor and three sons, Maximilian, Ryan and Marco, the Tour said.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa contributed to this report.