Chris, a full-time caddie at nearby Queenwood Golf Club for almost 20 years, suffered a cardiac arrest during a practice round on Tuesday afternoon, where he was caddying for American professional Fran Quinn, who had come through Monday qualifying for the Championship at Burhill Golf Club.
He was given immediate attention on site by the tournament’s medical staff before being taken by ambulance to the nearby Frimley Park Hospital where he passed away later that evening.
Bill Cooley, brother of Chris, said: “As a family we are heart broken. Words cannot describe how sad and devastated we all are and the immense hole in our lives Chris has left.
“Chris loved being a caddie and was over the moon to be at Sunningdale this week. He leaves a legacy of love and integrity with his family and those who knew him and has left us all with wonderful memories of him as a loving husband, father, son, brother and uncle.
“We are grateful for each and every day we got to see his glowing smile, and for the wonderful times we all shared together.”
Mark Aspland, Head of the Legends Tour, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the passing of Chris on Tuesday. On behalf of the Legends Tour, The R&A, Rolex and everyone associated with The Senior Open, our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Mandy, son Ben and his family during this difficult time.”
Mark Roberts, Director of Golf at Queenwood Golf Club, added: “Chris had caddied at Queenwood for close to 20 years and was fondly regarded by all those who golfed and worked at the club. His humour, bubbly personality and fine caddying skills will be missed by everyone at the club and our thoughts go out to his wife, son and family.”
Out of respect for Chris, flags will be lowered to half-mast at Sunningdale Golf Club and there will be a minute’s silence at 4:45pm during Thursday’s opening round. Black ribbons will also be made available at the first tee for players, caddies and staff.