Brian Barnes will be forever remembered as the man who beat Jack Nicklaus twice in the 1975 Ryder Cup. Nicklaus asked for it.

Barnes, who died Monday at the age of 74, was also one of the European Tour’s great characters. Larger than life is an apt phrase to describe the Scotsman.

He also had his demons.

Aside from the day he dined out on for the rest of his career, Barnes played on five other Ryder Cup teams. He was a perennial member of the Great Britain & Ireland side between 1969 and 1977, and kept his place in 1979 when Continental Europeans joined the fray. He compiled a 10-14-1 record in those matches. Very respectable considering he was on five losing sides and a member of the 1969 team that halved at Royal Birkdale.

The English-born Scot won nine European Tour titles between 1972 and 1981. He also won two Senior British Opens. His 1995 win in that event was quite emotional as it took place on the same course Royal Portrush that father-in-law Max Faulkner won the 1951 Open Championship.

His career went downhill after those two senior wins because of rheumatoid arthritis.

Barnes, born on June 3, 1945, was good enough to be part of an elite squad of young British players along with Tommy Horton called the “Butten Boys.” The name came from English millionaire Ernest Butten. He wanted to produce English golfers capable of winning the Open Championship and paid to have facilities built at Sundridge Park Golf Club to the South East of London to do just that.

The closest Barnes came to Open Championship glory was fifth place behind Lee Trevino at Muirfield in 1972.

Not everything was rosy in Barnes life though. He fought alcoholism for years, an addiction he took to the fairways. He was known to fill his water bottle with vodka and orange juice during rounds. He once marked his ball on the 18th green of the 1982 Scottish Professional Championship with a can of beer before putting out to win.

I covered Barnes during the last few years of his career. I remember walking into my hotel for the 1990 Scottish Open at Gleneagles to find an inebriated Barnes behind the bar serving beers. When the barmaid tried to move him from behind the bar, Barnes picked her up around her waist and playfully bounced her up and down.

Alcohol led him to consider taking his own life. He once admitted to driving to Beachy Head in the South of England, a notorious suicide spot, and sat in his car contemplating ending it all. Fortunately he didn’t and went on to a career as a TV commentator.

Barnes’s famous Nicklaus double was part of an Arnold Palmer setup. 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.