The R&A has announced that the Mark H McCormack Medal will be presented annually to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The ranking is a weekly performance table of the world’s top 1,200 players in men’s amateur golf, and reflects player performance over the previous 52 weeks.
The inaugural medal winner will be the player who leads the World Amateur Golf Ranking on Sunday 23 September 2007, at the end of week 38. This timing allows ranking points in the US Amateur Championship and the European Individual Amateur Championship to be taken into account with the medal presentation then forming a new closing highlight to the world amateur golf season.
The medal commemorates the contribution to golf of Mark H McCormack, the late founder of IMG, who was elected a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1981.
The R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson commented, “This is a fitting way to pay tribute to the legacy of a man who contributed so much to the game of golf around the world.
“Having been an able and enthusiastic player of the game at amateur level, and actively involved in the establishment of the Official World Golf Ranking for professionals, Mark would, I am sure, have shared our golf development aim in establishing The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“We are delighted that the leading amateur player over the season will win the award that bears his name.”
Mark McCormack was instrumental in the growth of world golf. It was whilst playing college golf for The College of William and Mary in Virginia that he came up against a young Wake Forest golfer named Arnold Palmer.
This meeting led to the celebrated handshake agreement between McCormack and Palmer that provided the foundation for IMG’s birth. Within eighteen months, IMG had also added Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus to the IMG client list. Between them, the ‘big three’ won eight Open Championships. McCormack also devised and created The Official World Golf Ranking, which The R&A sanctioned in 1986.
Over four decades, Mark McCormack grew the IMG business to become the largest sports management agency in the world. Golf magazine called him “the most powerful man in golf” whilst Sports illustrated described him as “the most powerful man in sports”.
Until his death on 16th May 2003 he worked tirelessly in the promotion of golf worldwide.
Todd McCormack, Mark’s son, said, “Given IMG’s prevalence in the world of professional golf, people know little about my father’s devotion to the amateur game. His early trips to Britain to play in the Amateur Championship began so many treasured life long friendships. Knowing The R&A developed a ranking for the amateur game and an award that honours his life in this fashion would have meant so much to him.”