Alistair Tait files an excellent and very personal remembrance of a player he enjoyed covering, Brian Barnes. The English-born Scot, European Tour great, two-time Senior British champion and wild dresser passed away at 74 and is best known for his Ryder Cup career and two wins in 1975 over Jack Nicklaus in one event—in Nicklaus’ prime.
Tait covers the ups and downs of Barnes’ life but there is this gem from the week he will always be remembered for:
Barnes’s famous Nicklaus double was part of an Arnold Palmer set up. U.S. captain Palmer approached Great Britain & Ireland counterpart Bernard Hunt and asked him to name his best player to play Jack Nicklaus in singles. Hunt picked Barnes and the two captains arranged for the pair to play in the final morning singles match. Barnes ran out a 4&2 winner.
The Ryder Cup featured two singles sessions in those days. Barnes was surprised to find himself out against Nicklaus in the final afternoon singles match. He shouldn’t have been. Nicklaus wanted revenge, and had made sure Palmer fixed the draw so he could play the Scotsman again.
Barnes walked onto the first tee and Nicklaus said: “Well done this morning, Barnesy, but there ain’t no way you’re going to beat me this afternoon.”
Nicklaus birdied the first two holes, but Barnes fought back to win 2&1 in what would turn out to be the greatest day of his career.
Nicklaus hasn’t posted anything on social media yet but when he does I’ll include here.
This is a fun Golfing World piece on Barnes from a few years ago: