(Reuters) - Brian Barnes, a larger than life character who once beat Jack Nicklaus twice on the same day in the Ryder Cup, died on Monday aged 74, the European Tour announced.
Barnes, who once famously marked his ball with a beer can, was born in England but represented Scotland internationally.
Though he won nine times on the European Tour, he will forever be remembered for taking down 18-times major champion Nicklaus twice in quick succession in Ryder Cup singles.
Barnes played in six consecutive Ryder Cups from 1969-79, with his crowning achievement coming in the 1975 event at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania.
The Ryder Cup back then was not the fiercely-competitive affair it is today, because the U.S. routinely dominated, but the then-Britain and Ireland team had their moments.
Barnes, in a 2016 interview with Golfing World, recalled a conversation with a smiling Nicklaus on the first tee before their second encounter.
“He shakes me by the hand and says ‘well done Barney this morning but there ain’t no way you are going to beat me this afternoon’.”
Having won the opening encounter 4&2, Barnes triumphed again in the afternoon 2&1.
“It was an amazing moment for British golf when Brian won in the afternoon,” Bernard Gallacher, a team mate of Barnes, recalled.
“The Americans couldn’t believe it and they were all congratulating him saying they never thought anybody could beat Jack.”
Nicklaus is the sport’s most successful player, although he always regarded the Ryder Cup as an exhibition not to be taken too seriously.
Barnes played in an era before leading European players were regularly invited to compete in the American majors.
He never played a U.S. Open or PGA Championship, and just twice competed in the Masters.
Yet he was a regular at the British Open, recording three top-10 finishes.
Barnes is survived by two children. The BBC reported that he died of cancer.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis
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