Brian Barnes, the colourful Scottish golfer famous for beating Jack Nicklaus twice in one day at the Ryder Cup, has died at the age of 74.

Barnes, who was born in England to Scottish parents and was the son-in-law of former Open champion Max Faulkner, was one of golf’s great mavericks who would captivate spectators, mark his ball with a can of beer – “we’re also bloody entertainers" – and leave golfing officialdom tut-tutting like disapproving headmasters.

The Herald:

Barnes, who joined the Scottish PGA in 1971 and subsequently represented the country in international events, was an effervescent character and a mightily imposing competitor. His two wins over Nicklaus during the singles in the 1975 Ryder Cup brought considerable acclaim.

“When we went to the press tent after the morning round everybody acted as if I’d beaten Jesus Christ,” Barnes recalled in an interview with Today’s Golfer in 2012. “He was Jesus Christ as far as golf was concerned, but he was still beatable."

The Herald:

Barnes would feature six times in the biennial bout with the US between 1969 and 1979 while his individual record on the week-to-week battlefronts was decorated by nine European Tour wins.

Barnes was a larger-than-life free spirit and would regularly tee off with a bottle of vodka and orange juice in his bag. At the Zambia Open one year, he gulped down three pints in the clubhouse, checked his watch and headed for the door. “I better be going now,” he said. “I’m on the 10th tee.”

The drinking took its toll and he came close to taking his life before eventually receiving treatment for alcoholism in 1993.

Barnes would also win two Senior British Open Championships as he moved into his 50s but the painful onset of arthritis brought his playing days to a premature end.

Nicklaus himself used social media to memorialise Barnes. 

"Surrounded by family and friend, one of golf's very talented and most colourful left us at 74.

"Barnesy was an absolute character. As much entertainer as golfer. Wasn't uncommon to see him wear long, dark socks with shorts, tee off with pipe in his mouth and mark his ball with a can!"

Nicklaus also recalled the day he lost twice to Barnes.

"To be honest, too much has been made of Barnesy beating me twice on Sunday at the 1975 Ryder Cup. Why? Because Brian Barnes was a tough competitor. Played in six straight Ryder Cups, won 20 times as a pro and enjoyed success on both sides of the pond - before & after he turned 50.

"Yes, we will miss Barnesy. Barbara and I want to thank Didi and family for letting us know of this great loss - for the game and to us, personally - as we send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of them."