Class of 2012

William Tryon


When William A. Tryon graduated from Elmira Free Academy, he was the apple of the Chemung County New York’s eye in golf, baseball, basketball and football, in which he excelled so brightly that he was made a member of the high school sports hall of fame.

Mr. Tryon graduated from Princeton University in 1953 and played varsity football, baseball and golf. In football his teammate, Dick Kazmaier, was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1951.

Following graduation, Mr. Tryon served over two years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon discharge as a First Lieutenant from the Marine Corps, he returned to Elmira and began a career in the insurance business, following in the golf footsteps of his father, Howard, who played in four U.S. Amateurs, as well as the 1936 U.S. Open.

Bill Tryon’s meteoric rise to prominence in the NYSGA Men’s Amateur Championship began with a 38-hole victory over Don Allen in the 1962 final. He also won in 1965 and 1968 – three championships in a seven-year span.

That record in our Men’s Championship is in itself a worthy basis for his selection to our inaugural Hall of Fame. However, Mr. Tryon served as a long-time member of the NYSGA Executive Committee, as treasurer for eight years, and as president from 1969-1971.

His dedication to amateur golf and to the New York State Golf Association occurred during the time he was starting and raising a beautiful family with his wife, Mary Lou, that featured three children. He also took on the principal responsibilities of heading a successful insurance business, while continuing his pursuit of excellence and love for the game of golf.

The most extraordinary, and one of the most endearing qualities, that Bill Tryon possesses is the extreme verbal discipline and non-verbal disclosure insofar as the game of golf is concerned. In short, Bill Tryon never discusses what he has to do, he does what he is responsible for doing or what he has promised to do, after doing it, he never talks about what he has done, i.e., no talk, but lots of action. This is a trait that is unique no matter what period of history is chosen – especially in the 21st century.

For that reason, very few people associated with the NYSGA are even aware that for almost a decade, Mr. Tryon single handedly did the site selection for all our championships.

He had the responsibilities of family, running two businesses separated geographically, and yet, without any fanfare, he did all that superbly.

People who have known him for 40 years have had the pleasure of the company of one of the most gracious, personable and enthusiastic human beings on this planet. He has either good to say about any other person, known or unknown, or he has nothing to say. So we have an honoree in this NYSGA Inaugural Hall of Fame whose golf and whose life reflect extraordinary accomplishment.

Finally a word about the technological era in which Mr. Tryon played. In amateur golf, the years before the 1980’s were full of pitfalls for even the best amateurs around. These pitfalls were the driving iron and the midiron. Today the numbers are the #1 and #2 irons. They are mostly extinct, but back in the 60’s and 70’s, they were anathema to 95% of the best amateurs. The problem was two-headed. They were extremely difficult to strike squarely, and once accomplished, the result generally was a trajectory that kept the ball within 50 feet of the terrain.

Not so with Mr. Tryon. There is a signed affidavit which describes him striking a midiron on a 239-yard par three which landed six feet beyond the flagstick, having come down parallel to the pin.

Lee Trevino, who played as Mr. Tryon’s partner against then-collegians, Mike Hulbert and Joey Sindelar in an Elmira golf exhibition, once said that in a lightening storm, you should hold up a 1-iron because even God couldn’t hit a 1-iron. Maybe God couldn’t, but Bill Tryon sure could. His presence in our Hall of Fame is an honor for the New York State Golf Association.