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 151st Open and the US Open in 2023.
Nakajima, who has been the number one player in the WAGR for a record 83 weeks, including 70 consecutively, is the first male player to receive the McCormack Medal twice. He also earned the honour last year. Nakajima, 22, and Takumi Kanaya are the only Japanese players to secure the honour.
Nakajima, who competed in The Open and this year’s Masters Tournament and US Open, won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last November when he converted a 20-foot birdie putt on the second play-off 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 honour 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 Championships) 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 ten-under-par 270 and was tied 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 R&A and the USGA jointly award the McCormack Medal each year. It is named after Mark H McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
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.”
“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.”
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.