MCNEALY AND MAGUIRE TOP THE WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING® FOR 2016
Maverick McNealy of USA and Ireland’s Leona Maguire had reason to celebrate their achievements in amateur golf when they were recently confirmed as the leading golfers in the Word Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®) for 2016.
Both players were awarded the Mark H. McCormack Medal, named after the founder of the sports marketing company IMG, Maguire for the second consecutive year after picking up the award as the world’s leading amateur golfer in 2015.
Despite not qualifying for the match play stages at the recent US Amateur, McNealy’s record in amateur events going back last year is outstanding and the 20-year-old was named Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, one of only six golfers, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, to do so.
"To win the McCormack Medal is both very special and a huge honour,” said McNealy. “Amateurism is something that is very important to me, and I really appreciate all that the USGA and The R&A do to promote and support the amateur game at all levels.
“It is very humbling to join the list of previous winners, as well as this year's winner, Leona Maguire, all of whom have reached the pinnacle of amateur golf. I hope that I can represent this award as well as it has been represented over the past nine years."
As winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, McNealy receives an exemption into The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale and 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., as long as he remains an amateur.
Following confirmation of her number one position in the WAGR® two weeks ago, Maguire represented Ireland in the Rio 2016 Olympics, finishing tied for 21st position on the leaderboard.
The 21-year-old was presented with the Mark H. McCormack Medal in Brazil from Lydia Ko, who won the Silver Medal behind Gold Medallist Inbee Park, and is currently the world’s number one professional golfer.
“It is a huge honour for me to win the Mark H McCormack medal again this year,” said Maguire. “I am incredibly grateful to my family, my coach Shane O Grady, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and everyone at Duke University. Without their support and help this would not be possible.
“This year has been great for me so far and winning the McCormack Medal makes it even more special. Earning the medal gives me extra confidence, given how strong amateur golf is right now.”
The Duke University scholar now looks forward to taking part in Qualifying School for the LPGA Tour this autumn, meaning that she may have to forgo her exemptions into next season’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, a tournament where she won the Smyth Salver after finishing as the leading amateur at Woburn in July this year, and the US Women’s Open.
Nevertheless, Maguire’s consistency in delivering excellent results over the last two years reflects her dedication and commitment to a high calibre of golf, and her recent performances in professional events demonstrate her talent and potential to carve out a successful future in the professional ranks.
The World Amateur Golf Ranking®, which is supported by Rolex, comprises a women’s ranking and a men’s ranking for elite amateur players, is offered by The R&A and the United States Golf Association as a global service to golf.
WAGR® was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,300 counting events, ranking more than 6,500 players from 101 countries worldwide. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,320 counting events with over 3,190 ranked players from 72 countries worldwide. Please visit www.wagr.com for more information.