Jack Nicklaus has paid an emotional tribute to Brian Barnes, who passed away yesterday at the age of 74.
Barnes found fame after beating the ‘Golden Bear’ twice in one day during the 1975 Ryder Cup at Laurel Valley and the two struck up an enduring friendship in the wake of that match.
After learning of the English-born golfer’s death yesterday from Barnes’ daughter Didi, Nicklaus took to Twitter to pay his respects to a man he described as “an absolute character”.
“As much entertainer as golfer, it 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,” he wrote.
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“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 and after he turned 50!
“Barnesy was long and straight off the tee, and, of course, quick of wit. 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.”
Nicklaus’ fellow legend Gary Player paid his own tribute to Barnes, who he described as an ‘irrepressible Scotsman’.