Cyril Tolley

Cyril Tolley

Tolley in 1930
Personal information
Full name Cyril James Hastings Tolley
Born (1895-09-14)14 September 1895
Died 18 May 1978(1978-05-18) (aged 82)
Eastbourne, England
Nationality  England
Status Amateur
Professional wins 2
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship T18: 1924, 1933
PGA Championship DNP
U.S. Amateur DNQ: 1922
British Amateur Won: 1920, 1929

Major Cyril James Hastings Tolley MC (14 September 1895 – 18 May 1978) was a British amateur golf champion and briefly a Liberal Party politician. He died in Eastbourne.[1]


Tolley was the son of James T. Tolley and Christiana Mary Pascall. He was educated at University College, Oxford.[2] He won the Military Cross at Ypres during the First World War. In the Second World War, he commanded a company of the Royal Sussex Regiment and was a liaison officer with the United States Army.[3]

Professional career

Tolley was connected with the London Stock Exchange. He lived for a time in New York.[3]

Golfing career

Tolley twice won The Amateur Championship, in 1920 and 1929. In the 4th round in 1930 at St Andrews he lost to Bobby Jones on the 19th hole after Jones had laid a "horrid stymie" with Tolley within 4 feet of the hole.[4] Jones eventually won the tournament. He won the French Open in 1924 and 1928 and was the Welsh Open Amateur Championship in 1921 and 1923.[1][3] Tolley played in the first Walker Cup in 1922 and again in 1923, 1924, 1926, 1930, and 1934. He captained the team in 1924. He was captain of the R&A in 1948, being one of the few captains to play in the Amateur Championship during their year of office, losing in the third round to defending champion Willie Turnesa.[5][6]

In 1928, Tolley launched a libel action against J. S. Fry & Sons of Bristol, chocolate manufacturers. Frys had produced an advert in which Tolley was caricatured and which contained a limerick, published in two newspapers in June 1928. Tolley claimed that the advert suggested that he had made some financial gain and had been guilty of conduct unworthy of his status as an amateur golfer. In 1929, Tolley won £1,000 damages although this decision was set aside by the Court of Appeal. Tolley then took the case to the House of Lords where he was successful but it was decided that the damages were excessive. Eventually, in July 1931, he received £500 damages and costs.[7][8][9]

Tournament wins

Major championships

Amateur wins (2)

YearChampionshipWinning ccoreRunner-up
1920 The Amateur Championship 37 holes United States Robert A. Gardner
1929 The Amateur Championship 4 & 3 Scotland J. Nelson Smith

Results timeline

Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
The Open Championship T40 DNP T43 T35 T18 LA T28 CUT T36 DNP T25
The Amateur Championship 1 R32 R256 QF R16 R64 DNP R64 R64 1
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
The Open Championship T52 DNP DNP T18 DNP DNP CUT DNP T28 DNP
The Amateur Championship R32 DNP DNP SF R64 R32 QF R64 QF R128
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Amateur Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT R128 R128 R64 DNP
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Amateur Championship SF R32 DNP R256 DNP R256

Note: Tolley played in only The Open Championship, U.S. Amateur, and The Amateur Championship.
LA = Low amateur
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
DNQ = Did not qualify for match play portion
R256, R128, R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Political career

On 3 December 1949, Tolley was adopted as the North Devon Liberal Association's prospective parliamentary candidate.[10] North Devon was a winnable seat, however, by 11 January 1950, he had been replaced as prospective candidate.[11] Instead he became Liberal candidate for the less winnable Hendon South division of Middlesex for the 1950 General Election;[12]

General Election 1950: South Hendon[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir Hugh Vere Huntly Duff Munro-Lucas-Tooth 24,917 52.2
Labour Thomas Sargant 15,389 32.2
Liberal Cyril James Hastings Tolley 7,436 15.6
Majority 9,528 20.0
Turnout 83.6
Conservative hold Swing

He did not stand for parliament again.[14] He continued his activity in the Liberal Party, serving as Honorary Treasurer of the London Liberal Party from 1950–1951. By the end of the decade he had left the Liberals and joined the Conservative Party. He was elected to Eastbourne Borough Council in 1958 and served for one 4-year term.[2]


  1. 1 2 "Obituary - Mr Cyril Tolley - Great golfer's long career at the summit". The Times. 20 May 1978. p. 16.
  2. 1 2 "Tolley, Major Cyril James Hastings". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 The Times House of Commons, 1950
  4. "Golf - the Amateur Championship - a great match". The Times. 29 May 1930. p. 8.
  5. "Golf - Micklem beaten at Sandwich". The Times. 27 May 1948. p. 2.
  6. "William C Campbell".
  7. "The Times diary/PHS - A bitter-sweet golfing story". The Times. 25 May 1978. p. 16.
  8. "High Court of Justice - King's bench division - £500 damages for Mr. Cyril Tolley". The Times. 15 July 1931. p. 4.
  9. "Tolley v J S Fry".
  10. Western Morning News, Devon, 5 Dec 1949
  11. Western Morning News, Devon, 12 Jan 1949
  12. Who's Who of 475 Liberal Candidates fighting the 1950 General Election
  13. "UK General Election results February 1950".
  14. British parliamentary election results 1950-1973, Craig, F.W.S.
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