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Caddie's Condition Improves

Caddie Garland Dempsey was upgraded to fair condition Sunday night, one day after he collapsed and his heart stopped during the third round of the Western Open.

Dempsey, 51, remains in the intensive care unit at Palos Community Hospital, but his condition is improving, said Barbara Bianchi, assistant director of nursing. His family has requested that no other information be released.

It's still not clear why Dempsey, John Maginnes' longtime caddie, collapsed as he walked off the 15th tee, though he had been taking medication for pancreatitis. The temperature Saturday also was in the 90s, with the humidity making it feel over 100 degrees.

"I know his heart stopped, I know he stopped breathing. But I honestly don't know what happened," Maginnes said after he finished his round Sunday. "This was a shock. This was not an expected thing."

Maginnes said he and Dempsey were laughing as they walked off the 15th tee. Maginnes got a few yards ahead and then heard Dempsey make a noise and the bag drop. He turned around to see Dempsey on the ground.

Matt Moore, an ABC spotter, performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Paramedics used a defibrillator to get a pulse before putting him in an ambulance and taking him to the hospital, said Rich Stech, assistant chief of the Lemont Fire Protection District.

Maginnes said he considered quitting the tournament, but he knew Dempsey would be mad if he did. He played the rest of Saturday's round looking dazed and shaken, and left for the hospital shortly after he finished.

Patrick Fitzgerald, a caddie who was working for ABC as a spotter, took Maginnes' bag for the rest of the tournament.

"I don't even remember the last four holes yesterday," Maginnes said. "I felt really guilty not going."

Dempsey carried Maginnes' bag from 1992-94 on the Nike Tour, and stayed with him on that tour last year despite having opportunities to caddy on the PGA Tour.

Maginnes stopped to see Dempsey before coming to the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club on Sunday morning, but wasn't able to talk with him because Dempsey was still heavily sedated and on a ventilator. Afterward, Maginnes shot a 2-under 70 that left him in sixth place, eight shots behind winner Tiger Woods.

"Maybe I played well today because I didn't care how I played," Maginnes said. "As far as composure, I didn't have any. I really just didn't care. I really just wanted it over with."

This is the second year in a row a caddie has collapsed during the Western Open. Last year, Greg Kraft's caddie collapsed with heat stroke during the third round at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, but recovered after being given IV fluids.

With temperatures again in the 90s and high humidity Sunday, caddies were given the option of not wearing bibs.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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