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 [rescheduled] 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 [his bid to play in] 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 108 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.