Far Hills, United States and St Andrews, Scotland: As the leading player in the 2017 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the close of the summer’s championship season, Joaquin Niemann is the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal.
“I am very honoured to receive the prestigious 2017 Mark H. McCormack medal,” said the Chilean, the first player from South America to win the McCormack Medal since its inception in 2007. “Thank you to the USGA and The R&A for this important award.”
A 2016 Rolex Junior All-America First-Team selection, Niemann kicked off 2017 with a runner-up finish in the 3rd Latin America Amateur Championship, where he competed in a three-man play-off for the title.
He also made several appearances in professional events in 2017, including the US Open and the GreenBrier Classic, where he returned a 72-hole score of five-under 275 that included a round-leading 64 in the final round.
He also won three professional events in Chile, as well as the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook and the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club, both in April.
In the US Amateur at The Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club, Niemann lost to NCAA individual champion and 2017 USA Walker Cup Team member Braden Thornberry in the Round of 64, one-down.
A two-time winner of the IMG Academy Junior World Championship (2015-16), Niemann advanced to the quarter-finals in the 2017 Western Amateur.
Niemann, who joins Danny Lee (2008) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013) as the only 18-year-olds to earn the McCormack Medal, will receive an exemption into the 2018 US Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (June 14-17), and the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland (July 19-22), provided he remains an amateur.
This R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded the sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “Joaquin is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal. I congratulate him on an excellent season. It’s wonderful to see another talented young golfer emerge from South America to compete on the global stage. We look forward to welcoming Joaquin to Carnoustie for The 147th Open next year.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director, Championships & Governance, added: “Joaquin Niemann has consistently returned impressive results, especially in high-profile events, and the USGA is pleased to see his steady play recognised with the McCormack Medal. We look forward to watching Joaquin succeed for many years to come.”
Past winners of the McCormack Medal are: Colt Knost (USA) in 2007; Danny Lee (New Zealand) in 2008; Nick Taylor (Canada) in 2009; Peter Uihlein (USA) in 2010; Patrick Cantlay (USA) in 2011; Chris Williams (USA) in 2012; Matthew Fitzpatrick (England) in 2013; Oliver Schniederjans (USA) in 2014; Jon Rahm-Rodriguez (Spain) in 2015; and Maverick McNealy (USA) in 2016.
A fortnight ago, Leona Maguire, of Ireland, was named the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year as the leading player in the Women’s WAGR.
The WAGR, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 with the launch of the men’s ranking which encompasses more than 2,600 counting events, ranking more than 6,000 players from 103 countries.
The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,400 counting events with more than 2,700 ranked players from 73 countries.