Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1955
Canadian Amateur Golf Championship (eight times)
Olympic Games, gold medal - Golf
Canadian Senior Amateur Golf Championship (ten times)
George Lyon was the epitome of the late-19th-century sportsman. Dedicated to the pursuit of vigorous physical activity, he—as was common in the age—excelled in a wide variety of sports. But it is for the sport to which he turned late in his thirties, golf, that he is honoured. In 1876, as an 18-year-old, Lyon set a national record in the pole vault. Within a decade he had become a well-known local amateur baseball player and was captain of a Toronto team in the Civil Service League. And, in the 1890s, Lyon cemented his reputation as one of this country's finest cricketers. He represented Canada in the International Series versus the United States nine times between 1890-99, and represented Canada internationally against England four times and Australia once. While batting for Rosedale Cricket Club in 1894, he set a Canadian record with 238 not out against a combined Toronto-Peterborough team. He was also accomplished in soccer, football, and curling. But it was a fortuitous turn of events in October 1896 that changed the direction of Lyon's sporting career. When he was 38 years old, a friend encouraged him to try his hand at golf. He took to the game instantly, and success was not far behind. In 1897, Lyon reached the semi-finals of the Canadian Amateur championship, and a year later he captured the first of his eight national amateur championships winning the final match 12 and 11. In 1904, Lyon traveled to St. Louis to take part in the golf tournament that was taking place as part of the Olympic Games. He finished seventh out of the 86 golfers who took part in the 36-hole qualifier to earn a spot in the match playdowns that would decide the final placings. He moved easily into the final where he faced U.S. Amateur champion Chandler Egan, who was 21 years old. Lyon was 46. In the final, the Canadian was one hole up after the morning's 18 holes, played in pouring rain. When the afternoon heat came out, it was the younger man who faltered, and Lyon captured the gold medal by winning the 36-hole match 3 and 2. Ridiculed throughout his career for his unorthodox swing, which he imported from his cricket and baseball-playing days, Lyon responded with prodigious drives, which often exceeded 280 yards. One of the most accomplished golfers in Canadian history, he won the Canadian Amateur championship eight times between 1898 and 1912, and the Canadian Senior Amateur championship ten times between 1918 and 1930,the last at the age of 71. Lyon also won four North American Seniors championships and was runner-up at both the United States Amateur and Canadian Open championships.