LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Aug. 24, 2022) – Keita Nakajima, of Japan, is the recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2022 World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR®. The McCormack Medal winner receives exemptions into the U.S. Open Championship and The Open, conducted by The R&A, in 2023.
Nakajima, who has been the No. 1 player in the WAGR® for a record 83 weeks, including 70 consecutive, is the first male player to receive the McCormack Medal twice. He also earned the honor last year. Nakajima, 22, and Takumi Kanaya are the only Japanese players to be secure the honor.
Nakajima, who competed in this year’s Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and The Open, won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last November when he converted a 20-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. He is the third player from Japan to win the title, joining Hideki Matsuyama (2010, 2011) and Kanaya (2018) on the list of champions.
“It is a great honor to receive the McCormack Medal again,” said Nakajima. “The excitement I felt when I saw the medal in Dubai last year is still fresh in my memory. Seeing it again in Paris [at the World Amateur Team Championship] will be really wonderful.”
He continued, “I appreciate the opportunities I have been given thanks to the medal. I hope I have created a pathway for not only Japanese players but all Asia-Pacific players to pursue the dream they have.”
Nakajima finished 41st in the PGA Tour’s 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii at 10-under 270 and was T-28th in last year’s ZOZO Championship. In 2021, he won the Japan Golf Tour’s Panasonic Open and captured the Japan Amateur Championship by three strokes, which included a second-round 63.
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 Keita for earning the prestigious McCormack Medal,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA. “He is creating history with his second award and has played unbelievable golf over the past two years. Nakajima has an impeccable record on a worldwide level and all of us at the USGA look forward to watching him excel as his career continues.”
Professor Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A, said, “Keita Nakajima deserves huge credit for performing to such a high standard throughout the year and for representing the sport of golf in such exemplary fashion. We saw at first hand just how good a player he is when he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Dubai Creek last year and it has been a pleasure to see him continue to flourish this season. I congratulate Nakajima-san on behalf of everyone at The R&A and wish him every success in the future.”
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 3,300 counting events, ranking 4,629 players from 110 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of nearly 2,300 counting events with more than 2,867 ranked players from 88 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: 2021 Keita Nakajima (JPN), 2020 Takumi Kanaya (JPN), 2019 Cole Hammer (USA), 2018 Braden Thornberry (USA), 2017 Joaquin Niemann (CHI), 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: 2022, 2021, 2020 Rose Zhang (USA), 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 41 million golfers in 144 countries and with the consent of 159 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.
For more information visit www.RandA.org.
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 Presented by ProMedica. 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.