LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Sept. 11, 2020) – Takumi Kanaya, of Japan, is the recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2020 World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR®. The McCormack Medal winner receives exemptions into the U.S. Open Championship and The Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, in 2021.
Kanaya, 22, has been the No. 1 player in the WAGR® during an abbreviated playing year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He tied for fifth and was low amateur in the Japan Golf Tour’s Fujisankei Classic on Sept. 6 following a nine-month absence from competition. He had tied for third and was low amateur in the Australian Open on Dec. 8.
Kanaya, who will compete in his first U.S. Open next week at Winged Foot Golf Club, won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2018 and was runner-up last year, losing to Yuxin Lin in a playoff.
“I am extremely happy and excited because receiving the McCormack Medal was the biggest goal that I have set in my amateur golf career,” Kanaya said. “I would like to thank everyone who helped me train and compete overseas so I could gain international experience competing in various conditions and raise my World Amateur Golf Ranking.”
He added, “My next goals are to win professional majors and there is still a small chance that I could represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, so I would like to try my best.”
In 2019, Kanaya was a member of the winning International Team in the Arnold Palmer Cup and advanced to the Round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. He was also one of four amateurs to make the cut in the 2019 Masters Tournament, finishing in a tie for 58th place. He missed the 36-hole cut in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush by one stroke.
The USGA and The R&A co-award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
“On behalf of the USGA, I would like to extend our congratulations to Takumi Kanaya for earning the distinguished McCormack Medal,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “He is following in the footsteps of such accomplished past recipients as Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and Joaquin Niemann. Takumi already has an exemplary record on a worldwide level and is a proven competitor. We look forward to watching him in the upcoming U.S. Open at Winged Foot.”
Professor Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A, said, “This is a tremendous achievement for Takumi Kanaya in winning the McCormack Medal and we are all very proud of him at The R&A, having seen him progress within his native Japan and since winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. To perform at such a consistently high level is very impressive and Takumi deserves huge credit for being such an excellent ambassador for the sport. We wish him all the very best in The Open at Royal St George’s and the Tokyo Olympics next year and will follow his future career with great interest.”
The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,800 counting events, ranking 6,777 players from 106 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of nearly 2,000 counting events with more than 3,375 ranked players from 78 countries.
The World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR®, which comprises a women’s ranking and a men’s ranking for elite amateur players, is offered by The R&A and the USGA as a global service to golf. Through incorporation and assessment worldwide of both amateur and professional events, WAGR encourages the international development of the competitive game. The ranking endeavors to be the most comprehensive and accurate ranking in golf by effectively comparing players from around the world who may never directly compete against one another. It is available to national federations and organizers of amateur and professional events and tours as a criterion for tournament field selection and for purposes of exemptions, national team selection, and orders of merit.
About The Mark H. McCormack Medal
The award is named after Mark H. McCormack, the late founder of sports marketing company IMG and an avid supporter of amateur golf. The Mark H. McCormack Medal is awarded to the player ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR® after the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship or the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship, whichever concludes last. Established in 2007, the same award goes to the player leading the men’s ranking after the European Amateur Championship or U.S. Amateur Championship, whichever concludes last.
Men: 2019 Cole Hammer (USA), 2018 Braden Thornberry (USA), 2017 Joaquin Niemann (Chile), 2016 Maverick McNealy (USA), 2015 Jon Rahm (ESP), 2014 Oliver Schniederjans (USA), 2013 Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG), 2012 Chris Williams (USA), 2011 Patrick Cantlay (USA), 2010 Peter Uihlein (USA), 2009 Nick Taylor (CAN), 2008 Danny Lee (NZL), 2007 Colt Knost (USA)
Women: 2019 Andrea Lee (USA), 2018 Jennifer Kupcho (USA), 2017, 2016, 2015 Leona Maguire (IRE), 2014 Minjee Lee (AUS), 2013, 2012, 2011 Lydia Ko (NZL)
About The R&A
Based in St. Andrews, The R&A runs The Open, elite amateur events, international matches and rankings. Together The R&A and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions but sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards. The R&A, through R&A Rules Ltd., governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 36 million golfers in 143 countries and with the consent of 158 organizations from amateur and professional golf.
The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the sport internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities.
About the USGA
The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.