George Lyon (golfer)

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George Seymour Lyon
George Lyon 1904.jpg
Personal information
Full nameGeorge Seymour Lyon[1]
Born(1858-07-27)July 27, 1858[1]
Richmond, Canada West
DiedMay 11, 1938(1938-05-11) (aged 79)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ClubLambton Golf and Country Club, Toronto
Achievements and titles
National finals8-time Canadian Amateur champion
Olympic finalsGold medal, St. Louis 1904

George Seymour Lyon (July 27, 1858 – May 11, 1938) was a Canadian golfer, an Olympic gold medalist in golf, an eight-time Canadian Amateur Championship winner, and a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Early life, cricket[edit]

Lyon was born in Richmond, Ontario, near Ottawa. His early sporting career was in cricket,[2] where, as a batsman he represented Canada eight times, averaging 14.07, and scoring 238 not out in a club game, at that time the highest score ever made in Canada.[3]

Three golfers, one man and two women, posed for an outdoor photograph.
George Lyon, Mabel Thomson, and Florence Harvey, from a 1909 publication.

Golf career[edit]

Although he only began playing golf at the age of 38, due to lack of available golf courses in most areas of Canada before that date, he won the gold medal in golf in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, at age 46. He won the Canadian Amateur Championship a record eight times between 1898 and 1914, the last time in his 56th year. He was also runner-up in that event on two further occasions. He won the Canadian Seniors' Golf Association Championship ten times between 1918 and 1930, the final time in his 72nd year; these events were staged before the inauguration of the Canadian Senior Golf Championship by Golf Canada.

Lyon lost in the finals of the 1906 U.S. Amateur, in his 48th year, and in the round of 32 of the 1908 British Amateur,[4] when in his 50th year. He was a lifelong amateur golfer, never turning professional.

He traveled to London in 1908 to defend his Olympic title, but plans to stage a golf tournament there were cancelled at the last minute, since representatives from England and Scotland were unable to agree on the format.[5] Offered the gold medal by default, Lyon refused to accept it.[5] Golf did not return to the Olympics until 2016.[6]

Lyon was also a founding member, with Albert Austin, of the Lambton Golf and Country Club in Toronto. It was officially opened on June 13, 1903.

Lyon often partnered with the future Canadian golf hall of fame member, professional George Cumming; as a pair they were a difficult team to beat in 4-ball matches.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

Lyon died in Toronto, Ontario, in 1938 and was buried in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. In 1955, Lyon was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1971, he was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

A fictionalized version of Lyon, portrayed by Kevin Jubinville, is a supporting character in "A Case of the Yips", a 2016 episode of the Canadian series Murdoch Mysteries. The episode is set in 1903 -- Lyon mentions his planned upcoming trip to the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis. A running gag through the episode is that as Lyon advises Detective Murdoch about golf, he is also a pushy insurance salesman, trying to talk Murdoch into buying a policy.

His life and achievement as an Olympic Gold medalist are described in the 2016 book "Olympic Lyon" by Michael G. Cochrane.

Lyon reigned as the Olympic champion for 112 years, until golf returned to the program at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the gold medal being won by Englishman Justin Rose.

Tournament wins[edit]

  • 1898 Canadian Amateur
  • 1900 Canadian Amateur
  • 1903 Canadian Amateur
  • 1905 Canadian Amateur
  • 1906 Canadian Amateur
  • 1907 Canadian Amateur
  • 1912 Canadian Amateur
  • 1914 Canadian Amateur

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915
The Open Championship CUT NT
The Amateur Championship R64 R32 NT
U.S. Amateur R32 2 R16 R32

Note: Lyon only played in the British Open, U.S. Amateur, and the British Amateur.

  Top 10
  Did not play

NT = No tournament
CUT = missed the half-way cut
DNQ = Did not qualify for match play portion
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play

Sources: U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur,[8] 1905 Open,[9] 1905 Amateur,[10] 1908 Amateur.[4]


  1. ^ a b "George Lyon". Sports Reference. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Toronto Star, June 10, 1899, p. 2
  3. ^ Adams, p. 192.
  4. ^ a b "Golf at Sandwich; Amateur Championship". The Glasgow Herald. May 28, 1908. p. 13.
  5. ^ a b Wallechinsky, David (1984). The Complete Book To The Olympics. England: Penguin Books. p. 428. ISBN 0140066322.
  6. ^ Barclay, James A. (1992). Golf in Canada: A History. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-1080-4.
  7. ^ Marshall, Doug. "George Cumming: Toronto Golf Club (1900-1950)". Golf Historical Society of Canada. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "USGA Championship Database".
  9. ^ "45th Open – St Andrews 1905". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Burn, Percy B. (June 1905). "The Amateur Championship Of Great Britain". Golf: Official Bulletin U.S.G.A. pp. 339–345 – via SEGL Electronic Golf Library.


External links[edit]