Whiteford and Stewart agree with Madeira call

SCOTTISH duo Peter Whiteford and Duncan Stewart both agreed the correct decision had been made after the weather-plagued Madeira Islands Open was cancelled with only one round played over four days.

Greens staff pump water out of a bunker at the Madeira Islands Open. Picture: Getty
Greens staff pump water out of a bunker at the Madeira Islands Open. Picture: Getty

Even after being reduced to 36 holes, heavy rain overnight and yesterday morning at Santo da Serra ruled out the possibility of a second round, with a weather warning for today leaving officials with no option but to cancel the event and declare all scores null and void. It is just the third event in European Tour history to be subject to a cancellation. The Compaq European Grand Prix at Slaley Hall in 1998 was also lost to adverse weather while the WGC-American Express Championship was cancelled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.

“Personally, I’m gutted,” said Whiteford, who was due to head into the second and final round just one shot off the lead in his first event on the Challenge circuit since losing his main Tour card at the final event of last season. “But the decisions were all correct.”

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Stewart, who also had his sights set on getting the new campaign off to a good start by claiming a decent cheque in one of the Challenge Tour’s majors, concurred. “This week was a disaster and it was all down to the weather,” said the Edinburgh-based Highlander. “We got here Sunday and played 18 holes on Monday, which was fantastic. The greens were great and the course looked good. By Tuesday it was blowing a gale and almost unplayable.

The officials and greens staff couldn’t have done any more to try to complete the event. At the end of the day, cancelling the event was the only decision that could be made as the weather was like a wild January night in the north of Scotland.”

The European Tour has already begun discussions with the sponsors and host venue to reschedule the event for another week in the 2015 Race to Dubai schedule.

“The Madeira Islands Open is a hugely important event for the European Tour,” said chief operating officer Keith Waters, “so we feel we must now make every effort to make sure that it takes place this year and that together we can show the world the true potential of this great event and this beautiful island.”