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Lawrie's new caddie in shorts row

British Open champion Paul Lawrie is not defending his Qatar Masters title but his new caddie Colin Byrne is here and has made his mark - with his shorts.

Byrne is incensed the European Tour have banned caddies from wearing shorts, even at hot venues like Doha. In the past, caddies were allowed to wear shorts under special circumstances.

Byrne ignored the new rule and wore shorts while caddying for England's Roger Chapman in the opening round of the Qatar Masters on Thursday, and was warned he could expect a fine.

But the European Tour cannot fine caddies, only players, and Chapman said he would refuse to pay the fine on his bagman's behalf.

Tournament director David Probyn said: "We shall be pleased to talk to the caddies about the shorts situation. A meeting could be arranged if we are approached."

His words failed to please caddie chairman Martin Rowley.

"Approached? We've wanted to talk about this for eight years because this wholesale ban has been coming for that long," he said.

Byrne, reprimanded for not "going through the proper channels" to register his dissent, echoed these words.

"The tour haven't addressed the matter when we've been talking about it for years. I decided that it was time for action."

It remains to be seen whether Byrne's action now meets with the approval of his new master Lawrie.

Byrne was taken on in Dubai last week to replace Lawrie's Open-winning caddie, curiously also an Irishman called Byrne.

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