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Brawling bag men backed by their players as inquiry begins

DAY two of what can now simply be referred to as ''caddywhack'' brought the respective golfers into the picture. No war of words to match the war on the chipping green, but as the PGA Tour of Australasia announced an inquiry - to use the tournament director's words - Marc Leishman and James Nitties had their say on the strange events of Thursday.

Leishman, whose caddie Matt Kelly was left bloodied after the altercation with Nitties' bag man Grant Buchanan, said he was proud of Kelly. ''I don't think me or Matty have got too much to worry about,'' Leishman said. ''He didn't retaliate. I saw what happened, and Matty did nothing. I knew he wasn't in the wrong.''

Asked whether he was happy for the matter to be investigated, Leishman said: ''Of course. Definitely. I was there. He didn't do anything - he stood there, copped what he got, and didn't do anything apart from that. I was proud of him, to be honest.''

That said, Leishman said he had been ''shocked'' by the altercation, and admitted he had not seen anything like it on a golf course.

''It's certainly something you don't expect, and you don't want to see at all in your workplace,'' Leishman said. ''I was very shocked. Obviously you don't expect to see that when you're 45 minutes away from your tee time in the Australian Open. But really, it doesn't affect me at all. Matty did nothing wrong, and he's got nothing to worry about.''

Leishman shot an even par round on Friday at the Open, to be two under over the first two rounds. Nitties fared rather worse, finishing four over after Friday.


But Nitties said he was not distracted by his caddie's fight. He also said he had seen it happen before on a golf course.

''It's unfortunate what happened,'' he said. ''I don't know both stories. But Grant is one of my best friends. We go way back, and I know he's a great person … I can't really change what happened, but I'm sure we'll sort it out. I really can't tell you much more about it. I didn't know what happened. It's between those boys.''

It's not really, of course. The PGA Tour of Australasia is still investigating the incident, and may fine the two protagonists, or even the golfers who employed them.

''PGA Tour of Australasia officials met the caddies and their respective players immediately after their round to clarify details of the altercation,'' tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones said.

''Having spoken with those involved, there is still a need to speak with a number of other individuals who may be able to provide further information on the incident.

''To be fair to everyone concerned, we need to let our inquiry go through the correct process in line with the PGA's regulations. However, we will endeavour to reach an outcome by the end of next week. The PGA Tour of Australasia and our members in no way condone this behaviour, and we are saddened the incident has drawn attention away from this great tournament.''