"medaling" (in golf, etc.)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Dec 8 09:25:28 UTC 2004

The OED3 draft entry for intransitive "medal" ('to win a medal') has a
first cite of 1979.  Here are a few antedatings:


(Van Nuys, California) Valley News, Jun 9, 1966, p. 34 [?]
Divers from the Rita Curtis Valley Athletic Club gold-medaled in all of
the events but three. ... In the boys competition, the following RCVAC
divers medaled: (10 & under) Phil Loyola, 2nd; (11-12) John Vender, 3rd;
(13-14) Mike Martinelli, 1st.

Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press, Feb 27, 1967, p. 22
Drew Gorrell of Nicolet also medaled twice, in the 50 and 100-yard
freestyle events.

(Placerville, California)  Mountain Democrat, Nov 23, 1972, p. 5
Arundell has medalled in five major invitationals or championships.


(The Valley News, source of the first cite, has some other examples of
intransitive "gold-medal" from 1966 to 1968, but I don't see that usage in
any other paper.)

There are much earlier usages of intransitive "medal" in golf, referring
to "medal play" ("in which the score is reckoned by counting the number of
strokes taken to complete a round by each side").  In these citations,
"medal" means 'to participate or achieve a score in medal play' and is
frequently followed by "with" or "in" (a score):


Port Arthur (Texas) News, Jan 15, 1926, p. 9
Phil Hesler, Tulsa professional, and Ross Youngs of San Antonio, New York
Giant outfield star, medaled around the 18 holes with a best ball card of

Los Angeles Times, Jun 17, 1926, p. B4
It is expected that more than 400 players will have medaled for places in
the ten flights scheduled to start match play one week from today.

Los Angeles Times, Oct 4, 1926, p. B3 (headline)
Feminine Stars Start Medaling in City Golf Championship at Griffith Park

Los Angeles Times, Dec 6, 1926, p. 15
Mrs. Gray Cowan, women's club golf chairman, will be hostess today to more
than four score visiting auxiliary members, all medaling for trophies and
glory in the annual feminine Scots foursome invitational of the Rancho

Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1927, p. B4 (headline)
Morrison Scores 67 to Lead Big Guns Medaling for Gold and Glory.

Los Angeles Times, Feb 8, 1931, p. F4
In their California matches they have medaled consistently in the 70's.

Hammond (Indiana) Times, Aug 12, 1935, p. 9
Johnny Krutilla, holder of the amateur course record, and Wendell Knipp
medalled with 72's.

Van Nuys (California) News, Apr 11, 1949, p. 15
Stewart medalled in with a one-under-par 70 to tie with Harry Bassler for
second place in the individual pro contest.

Walla Walla (Washington) Union Bulletin, May 29, 1950, p. 7
Carl Funseth, North Central, a member of Spokane's 1949 National public
links team, medaled with a two-over-par 73.

(Reno) Nevada State Journal, Apr 26, 1952, p. 9
Mrs McCullah medaled with an 82 and then turned back Mrs. Martha Cowden,
Santa Cruz, 5-3.


The verb "medal" more often appears transitively in golf usage, usually
with the golfer's score or the course itself as the object of the verb:


Los Angeles Times, Sep 13, 1920, p. I6
Miss Cameron was one up at the turn, both having medaled the first nine in

Los Angeles Times, Jun 8, 1922, p. III3
Neville was 2 up after the morning round, which he medaled in 74, playing
faultless golf, except for the first three holes, which he lost to Stein.

Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1923, p. III1
Miss Parks medaled 48, tying for third position.

Los Angeles Times, Nov 18, 1924, p. B3
Soon after he medaled the Clacton links in 72, handing his crutches to his
caddy for each shot.

Los Angeles Times, Jun 25, 1925, p. B2
Lester Coleman, 17-year-old California star, medaled 76 yesterday to tie
E. E. More, a club mate, for low gross honors in the annual Invitational
Golf tourney at the California Club.

Los Angeles Times, Aug 24, 1925, p. 13
In turning this feat Miss Wright medaled the course in 83, excellent golf
in any company.

Los Angeles Times, Sep 18, 1925, p. B3
Mrs. F. S. Hardin, runner-up in the resort classic last year, was medaling
83 to win from Miss Anne Webster, 3 and 2.

Los Angeles Times, Apr 13, 1926, p. B3
Mrs. Ted Haas of Wilshire, winner of the event last year, and Mrs. T. H.
Pike, also of Wilshire, were chalking up the highest scores they have
medaled this year.

Los Angeles Times, Apr 17, 1927, p. A7
The open field this year is strokes faster than the classy aggregation
that medaled seventy-two holes in the yearly affair at the El Caballero
Country Club in Los Angeles, last April.

Syracuse (NY) Herald, Dec 7, 1929, p. 10
Diegel set a new competitive course record for a 6-1 medal, five under par
the following day against Hart. In downing Sarazen he medaled 71 and again
yesterday made a 68.

Helena (Montana) Independent, Dec 8, 1929, p. 9
Johnny Farrell medaled 148.  As runner-up, Farrell, a former national open
champion, received a check for $600 and P.G.A. runners-up medal.

Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1933, p. A11
Mrs. Cheney says her golf is nothing to rave about, but you can't forget
that she won the qualifying round with a 77, and has medaled an
approximate 79 each day in three round of match play.

(Reno) Nevada State Journal, Aug 29, 1937, p. 6
The national open champion of 1932 ... medaled the par 72 course in 146
strokes for the two rounds.

Reno (Nevada) Evening Gazette, Aug 15, 1947, p. 8
The heavyweight boxing champ was defeated by Judson Grant of Los Angeles
--  who medalled a 74 yesterday in the 18-hole amateur wind-up.

Van Nuys (California) News, Nov 10, 1949, sec. 3, p. 14
Fortmiller medalled an approximate 70 in the morning round to Neilsen's
74, and then continued with par golf through the afternoon holes.

(Harlingen, Texas) Valley Morning Star, Apr 26, 1952, p. 5
Mrs. McCullah medaled a 40-38 -— 78 on the morning tour and was four over
regulation figures in the afternoon.

(Reno) Nevada State Journal, Aug 20, 1952, p. 9
Kuntz medaled a three-over-par 74 on the Seattle Golf Club course
which was bathed in sun today.

Salisbury (Maryland) Times, Jun 5, 1959, p. 17
This good natured fellow, who has made a career of medaling every course
on the Eastern Shore but Dover, could be tough to handle, and he's long
overdue to take home a championship flight trophy.


-- Ben Zimmer

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