Brian Barnes to Play First Professional Tournament for Ten Years at 2012 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Six time Ryder Cup player, 9-time European Tour winner and twice British Senior Open winner Brian Barnes will compete in his first professional tournament for 10 years at Nailcote Hall, Warwickshire for the British Par 3 Championship, from August 7th.
Pictured: Tony Jacklin, Frank Christian and Brian Barnes
Barnes was one of the most colourful, popular and recognisable golfers of the 1970s and 80s. A regular winner on tour, he was a charismatic and mercurial talent who could beat any player on his day and was as good as any player in the world when he got on a roll.
Having suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since the 2000 Hawaii Open, Barnes has been prevented from playing golf by the condition, which cruelly seriously affected his wrists, causing him excruciating pain when playing the sport that he took up when in his teens. With the condition now in remission, Barnes has been able to start playing golf in recent months and is set to make a hugely popular return to professional tournament golf when he plays in the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship later this year.
Nowhere was Barnes’s tremendous talent more evident than in the final day singles at the Ryder Cup in 1975. Barnes was part of the team captained by veteran Bernard Hunt who has also played in the British Par 3 Championship. The team included such greats of the game as Tony Jacklin, Peter Oosterhuis, Christy O'Connor Jnr, Maurice Bembridge and Tommy Horton. Coming in to the Ryder Cup, the USA team was expected to be supremely dominant, and none more so than The Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus himself, who had recently secured his fourth PGA Championship victory and his second Major Championship of the year.
However, drawn against Barnes on the final morning of the competition, Nicklaus came up against a highly skilled and most certainly undaunted golfer with the experience and the confidence to take the biggest scalp of the competition. After defeat in the morning singles (in the old format of the matches), Nicklaus wanted revenge in the afternoon, so made a request to captain Arnold Palmer for a rematch in the afternoon. Request granted, on the first tee of their afternoon match Nicklaus confidently told his sparring partner: "There ain't no way you're going to beat me again".
However, despite a fine start from Nicklaus with two birdies, it was Barnes who strolled to another victory, this time 2 up with 1 to play. Showing a similar incredible skill and talent five years later, in the final round of the Tournament Players’ Championship at Dalmahoy in 1981, Barnes turned on a score of -1 under par before going eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie and then scoring an eagle at the Par 4 17th en route to a course record 62 and a memorable playoff victory over Brian Waites.
Playing on the Senior Tour after he turned 50, Barnes managed to capture the major championship victories that eluded him on the regular tour when he won back to back Senior British Opens in 1995 and 1996. He topped the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit in 1995, and went on the play the US Champions Tour in the late 1990s, enjoying significant success. As always for this charismatic player, Barnes certainly made an impact! Touring the country from tournament to tournament in a grand luxury Motor Home, Barnes won the AT&T Canada Senior Open Champiosnhip in 1998.
Throughout his career, Barnes was mentored by his friend and father in law, the late, great former Open Champion Max Faulkner, whose daughter, Hilary, Barnes is married to and who was a great believer and supporter of Barnes’s huge talent. By attending the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship this year, Barnes is yet again following in the footsteps of Faulkner, who played in the event from 1999 - 2001.
This year, the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship is hosted by 1969 Open Champion, 1970 US Open Champion and Ryder Cup legend Tony Jacklin CBE. Joining Jacklin on the Cromwell Course at Nailcote Hall by the best ever field of golfing legends, including 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam OBE, Solheim Cup-winning Captain Alison Nicholas MBE, US Senior Open-winning Larry Laoretti, Senior Tour star Gary Wolstenholme MBE, Former Ryder Cup player Tommy Horton MBE and current European Tour Stars Marc Warren, Graeme Storm and Scott Jamieson.
The Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship runs from 7th August to 10th August at Nailcote Hall, Warwickshire. For ticket information, visit www.britishpar3.com.