It's 10 months now since Alastair Forsyth endured the darkest chapter of his golfing career when his caddie, Iain McGregor, collapsed and died on the course during the Madeira Islands Open.

The Scot, who won the Madeira title in 2008, is back on the Portuguese archipelago to compete in the dual ranking event this week but, understandably, the mood is decidedly sombre.

McGregor suffered a fatal heart attack on the ninth fairway of the steeply undulating Santo da Serra course during the final round of last year's tournament and the decision by the European Tour officials to play the weather-delayed event to a conclusion caused a great deal of anguish and anger among players and caddies alike.

The picture of Forsyth hunched down over the stricken McGregor, in a stunned and desperate attempt at offering some kind of assistance to his bagman, will remain an enduring, disturbing image of the 2014 season and returning to the scene of the tragedy has not been easy.

"It was strange coming back and when I played up the ninth hole in the Pro-Am, I just tried to look away from where it happened," said Forsyth. "You never expect something like that to happen on a golf course and it took a while for me to get over it. I was in two minds about coming over and I know some of the caddies, who were friendly with Iain, have not come out. It's been tough for them. There's a strange, sombre feeling to the whole thing and I know the big man will be in everybody's thoughts this week."

Black ribbons will be worn by players and caddies this week and a minute's silence will take place at noon on Sunday to mark McGregor's passing. Among those also returning to Madeira is Forsyth's countryman Scott Henry, who lost in a play-off for the title last season.