Ryder Cup legend Brian Barnes dies aged 74

Six-time Ryder Cup player, Brian Barnes, has died aged 74 after a short battle with cancer.

Jack Seddon's picture
Wed, 11 Sep 2019
Ryder Cup legend Brian Barnes dies aged 74

Brian Barnes has passed away, aged 74, after a short battle with cancer. Born in South London, he was best known for his epic performance in 1975 when he beat Jack Nicklaus twice in one day in a match against the United States.

Barnes played in six Ryder Cups between 1969 and 1979, playing for Great Britain & Ireland and then Europe once the format changed. He won 20 professional titles throughout his career and had three top 10 finishes at the Open Championship.

In 1995, Barnes won his first Senior British Open and then went on to become the first player to successfully defend the title the following year.

Bernard Gallacher, Barnes' partner during four Ryder Cups, paid tribute to who he classed as one of his best friends.

"I knew Brian ever since I turned pro back in 1968 and we often played practice rounds together. In some ways they were more enjoyable than the tournaments," he said.

"He was a terrific driver of the ball - long and straight - and if he had enjoyed travelling more, he had the potential to be one of the best players in the world."

In 1975, the USA beat Great Britain & Ireland in the Ryder Cup, but Barnes triumphed against reigning Masters champion Jack Nicklaus, not once, but twice. After beating Nicklaus 4&2 in the morning singles, Nicklaus demanded his US captain Arnold Palmer to make it happen.

"There ain't no way you're going to beat me again," Nicklaus told Barnes on the first tee prior to their second match, but Barnes beat arguably the greatest golfer to have ever lived for a second time, this time 2&1.

Barnes was a lively character who enjoyed a drink and famously marked his ball with a beer can on the final hole of the 1982 Scottish Professional Championship, before lining his ball up and draining the putt for the win.