Canada’s Grand Old Man of Golf

George Lyon

For the first time in over a century golf is back at 'that thing currently going on in Brazil'. I thought I'd celebrate by taking a look back at the reigning champ, Canadian, George S. Lyon.

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Before the likes of multi-sport athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders there was George. He excelled in a variety of sports, including baseball, track and field, curling, soccer, swimming, cricket, and tennis – but it wasn’t until the ripe old age of 38 that George discovered his true passion in the game of golf. And it was that passion that guided him all the way to the world's stage.

It was the summer of 1904 – Sir Wilfred Laurier was Prime Minister, Henry Ford opened Canada’s first auto manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario and George found himself in St. Louis, Missouri competing for a round piece of gold. Long story short, not only did George compete for that piece of gold, he ended up winning it.

Rumour has it that the Americans and British were so bothered by George beating them, that they refused to compete in future events. As a result of their lack of participation, up until this year, 1904 was last year that golf was at the Olympics.

In addition to his international success, George won an astonishing eight Canadian Amateur Championships. In 1955, George was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and in 1971 he was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

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George Lyon Grave - Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Recently, motivated by plain old curiosity, I paid homage to Canada's 'Grand Old Man of Golf' (his legendary nickname), by visiting his grave site at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario. I took some photos of the the tombstone, kinda creepy I know but worth the day trip.

Rest in peace, George.

Article by Ryan Watt

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