Born: June 3, 1945;

Died: September 9, 2019

BRIAN Barnes, who has died aged 74, was a flamboyant character in the world of golf in the 1970s and brought much colour when he appeared in the major tournaments around the world. None more so than at the Ryder Cup at Laurel Valley in 1975.

The UK and Ireland team were not greatly fancied and it was considered that Barnes was the one person who could take on the leading player in the world, the charismatic ‘Golden Bear’, Jack Nicklaus. In fact, the two had another great mutual passion – angling.They had fly fished together in Scotland and America.

Years later, Barnes would recall that historic day. “I felt comfortable because I have always been a good driver of the golf ball and not a bad putter. I knew full well I could keep up with Jack off the tee. There was no difficulty there.

“I was a good iron player so I didn’t miss too many greens and I didn’t have to rely on somebody else. It was just me against Jack — that was it. Jack was always friendly. The one thing he would never do was gamesmanship.”

Barnes won the morning singles by a convincing 4 and 2. In the afternoon, the pairings were quickly rearranged so that Nicklaus could get his revenge. Nicklaus showed his mettle and started with two birdies but Barnes won the match 2 and 1. The UK and Ireland did not win the Ryder Cup but it was undoubtedly the highlight of Barnes’s career.

Barnes took part in six Ryder Cups, including the tied match in 1969 and the first appearance by a European team a decade later.

He won nine European Tour titles and the Senior British Open in 1995 and 1996, both played at Royal Portrush, where his father-in-law, Max Faulkner, had won the Open in 1951.

Barnes was an ebullient extrovert. In his tartan shorts or trews and long socks he bestrode the fairways, puffing away on his pipe often with a can in his hand.

The golfing establishment was not always too pleased but Barnes was a golfing maverick and insisted: “We’re also bloody entertainers.”

Brian William Barnes was born in Purley where his father, who hailed from Turnberry, was a professional and a golf designer while his mother, Jessie, a piano teacher from Glasgow.

Despite being schooled in the south – not easy, as he was dyslexic – Barnes always considered himself Scottish and after winning the Scottish Open at Dalmahoy he declared: “Surely now I’ll be accepted by everyone as a Scot.”

The Duddingston player RDBM (Ronnie) Shade (always dubbed ‘Right Down the Bloody Middle’ on account of his accuracy off the tee) proposed Barnes for membership of the Scottish PGA. Barnes proudly represented Scotland in four World Cups and six Double Diamond Tournaments.

At Millfield School, in Somerset, Barnes showed talent as a sportsman, playing hockey for the school. At the age of 19 he joined the Butten Boy scheme in Kent, which encouraged young players to take up the game. There he met his wife, Hilary Faulkner, whose father was one of his tutors. She too was a keen sports enthusiast. They were married in 1968.

Barnes enjoyed considerable early success, winning the 1964 British Youths Open Championship and, after winning the Rhodesian Open in 1967, as well as tournaments in the UK and in Australia he turned professional.

He finished fifth at The Open in 1972 at Muirfield and made The Open cut 16 times in a row from 1967 to 1982, with three top-10 finishes. He also became one of the leading players on the new European Tour, winning the Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Opens.

His final European tour triumph came in the Tournament Players Championship at Dalmahoy in 1981. It was a memorable final appearance with Barnes carding an excellent 62 on the last round. He beat Brian Wates in an exciting play-off, winning on the fourth extra hole.

Earlier that year, again at Dalmahoy, at the Scottish PGA championship Barnes marked his ball on the 18th green with a can of ale before knocking in the putt to win the championship. After those wins in the Seniors Tour Championship he joined his friend Ewen Murray as a commentator on Sky.

His exuberance made him popular with the crowds but raised eyebrows amongst the administrators – especially after he wore, for a bet, a kilt at the Morocco Open in 1979.

His career was cut short as he suffered from severe arthritis. And the 1990s were not a happy period for him: he had a serious alcohol problem with added suicidal thoughts.

In 2014 he was photographed alongside Iain Clark, Tommy Horton, Mike Ingham, Tony Martin, Jim McAlister and Sandy Wilson at a dinner held in honour of Ernest Butten, the businessman who had had the idea of sponsoring and training The Butten Boys.

His wife Hilary Faulkner in 1968; she died in 2014, and he is survived by their daughter and son.