Jack Nicklaus has led the tributes to Brian Barnes and insisted that”a lot” was created of the Scot beating him in one day at the 1975 Ryder Cup.
Barnes, who passed away on Tuesday in age 74 after a struggle with cancer, won 23 championships as a professional and remains the only player to successfully defend the Open title, winning back-to-back 1995 and 1996 in Royal Portrush.
But the Scot is famous for his two Ryder Cup singles victories over Nicklaus in Laurel Valley in 1975, following up a 4&2 victory in the afternoon with a 2&1 victory at the afternoon over the Golden Bear, that was reigning Masters and PGA champion at the time.
However, Nicklaus explained Barnes as a”tough competitor” and theorized that the two wins amid a significant defeat for Europe were no real surprise, as he’d paid a glowing tribute to social networking.
The 18-time major champion wrote:”Barbara and that I heard by Brian Barnes’ daughter, Didi, that her father & our buddy Brian’d lost his battle with cancer & passed. Her voice, amazing & reassuring, said if she had been to reduce her dad, it was as close to a”model death” as any loving family member could desire.
“‘Barnesy’ has been an absolute personality. As much entertainer as golfer. Was not uncommon to watch him put long socks with shorts, tee with pipe in his mouth & indicate his ball with a can!
“To be frank, too much has been constructed of Barnesy beating me two on Sunday at the 1975 Ryder Cup. Why? Since Brian Barnes was a challenging competition! Played in six Ryder Cups that were consecutive, won 20 times as a pro and enjoyed success on each side of this pond-before & after he turned 50!
“Barnesy was straight & long off the teeand, of course, quick of wit. Yes, we’ll overlook Barnesy! Barbara and I wish to thank Didi and family for letting us know of the fantastic loss – for the match and to uspersonally – because we send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to them all.”
Gary Player added:”My sincere condolences to the family members & friends of irrepressible Scotsman Brian Barnes. He had a expert career, winning all over the world, such as back to back Aged Open Championships. You’ll be overlooked Barnsy. RIP.”
Lee Westwood was among many specialists to place tributes, including:”In 1994, my 1st year on tour I had been sat at a hotel bar when I got asked to play at the Perrier Four-ball later that year. It had been Brian Barnes.
“I jumped at the chance. We did not do quite well (missed the cut) but it was clearly one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve ever had outside on tour. An excellent golfer and wonderful story teller and companion. RIP Brian.”
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