It is now less than 100 days until golf celebrates its eagerly-awaited Olympic return in Rio de Janeiro but, astonishingly, it has required in excess of 100 years for prized medals from the last Olympic competition to surface.
With an impeccable sense of timing, two precious and long-lost Olympic golfing medals won by H. Chandler Egan, the former U.S. Amateur champion, have been discovered at the bottom of a bookcase in a farmhouse in northeast Ohio.
Just as the new medals are struck for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which denotes golf’s readmission to the Olympic movement, the rare gold and silver medals won by Egan in 1904 were discovered in the former home of Egan’s daughter in Chagrin Falls, about 25 miles southeast of Cleveland.
The discovery of this highly valuable memorabilia comes 112 years after the last Olympic golf competition at Glen Echo Country Club in St Louis, and just as the modern-day male and female athletes get ready to face the challenge of the Reserva da Marapendi golf course in Rio from August 11-20.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will exclusively showcase the pair of medals won by Egan at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, the last time golf was part of the Olympic schedule.
Egan’s medals represent his achievements in the individual and team competitions at the 1904 Olympics. Egan, a Chicago native and a member of Exmoor Country Club, was captain of the Western Golf Association team that won the gold medal at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis.
Additionally, he won the silver medal in the individual competition, finishing runner-up to George Lyon, of Canada.
“These medals are an incredibly important piece of golf history,” said Michael Trostel, director of the USGA Museum. “To have them on display is a real treat for fans of the game, the Olympics and sports in general. This exhibit is a great opportunity to connect golf’s Olympic past to its future and celebrate its return to the Games this summer in Rio.”
The medals, on loan from Egan’s grandson, Morris Everett Jr., will be featured at the USGA Museum as part of a special exhibit running from May 11 to June 8, and will also be at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club during the 2016 U.S. Open Championship (June 13-19). As part of the display, the USGA will also showcase the runner-up trophy that Egan received for the individual competition, which is on loan from the LA84 Foundation.
The medals will then be brought to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in St. Augustine, Fla., where they will be featured in a new Olympics exhibit set to open June 23. Amy Alcott, 1999 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee and co-designer of the golf course in Rio, will be in attendance for the grand opening and unveiling of the medals.
“As the anticipation for golf’s return to the Olympics continues to mount, we are honored to showcase these rare medals and help champion the Egan legacy,” said Jack Peter, president of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “The family deserves to be commended for preserving these medals for so many years and for choosing to show them to golf fans everywhere.”
In addition to seeing the Olympic medals, fans visiting the exhibit can learn more about Egan’s extraordinary golf career, which included back-to-back U.S. Amateur Championship victories in 1904 and 1905, as well as four Western Amateur titles. Egan, who later designed nearly 20 golf courses, was a member of the USA’s Walker Cup-winning Team in 1934.
The Olympic men’s competition in Rio is scheduled for Aug. 11-14, while the women’s competition is scheduled for Aug. 17-20, both at 72 holes of stroke play.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.