With these prestigious events taking place on either side of the Atlantic the destination of the Medal is far from certain.
New Zealand’s Danny Lee currently sits atop the World Amateur Golf Ranking and he has timed his move perfectly reaching the top spot for the first time this week. Lee dominated amateur golf in his home country during the 2007-2008 seasons, and carried his excellent form on to the States with a victory in the Western Amateur, one of the year’s biggest tournaments, just a few weeks ago. But it was his tie for 20th place in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, a performance made up of four rounds in the 60s, that finally propelled him to the current number one position.
American Rickie Fowler has been at the head of the rankings for much of this year, and is still neck and neck with Lee. Following on from a highly successful 2007, Fowler has once again enjoyed a season of consistently good golf, during which he has won the Sunnehanna Amateur and made the cut at the US Open. Like Lee, Fowler is playing in the US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst this week, where he will look to improve on not getting beyond the initial match play round last year.
A victory for Lee or Fowler at Pinehurst would be enough to secure the McCormack Medal and both are safely through to the matchplay phase of the tournament. Should they fall short of that mark then there’s every chance that one of Europe’s top three amateur golfers, Anders Kristiansen, Jorge Campillo and Shane Lowry, could overtake them at the top of the rankings if they produce top finishes in this week’s European Championship at Esbjerg in Denmark.
18-year-old Anders Kristiansen has scaled the rankings in the past few months following his triumph at the Australian Men’s Amateur Championship earlier in the season. The Norwegian secured a tie for 9th place at the Lexus Open on the Challenge Tour last week, which was enough to catapult him into the worlds top three.
Campillo, of Spain, has enjoyed a superb season, winning the Spanish National Championship a fortnight ago and making it to the quarter-final of The Amateur Championship in June to add to his earlier excellent performances in US College Golf, which included a second place finish in the NCAA Division 1 Championship and the best individual performance the Big Ten Championship.
Lowry, who comes from County Offaly in Ireland, has climbed the rankings this year, following his victories in the Sotogrande Cup and the North of Ireland Amateur, and his strong performance in helping Ireland retain the European Team Championship. The Irishman, who was recently named in the GB&I team to play the Continent of Europe for the St Andrews Trophy later this month, could head to Kingsbarns as the world’s top amateur golfer.
There are several other players who, given the combination of results, could also find themselves receiving the McCormack Medal. Korea’s Sihwan Kim is playing at Pinehurst this week, and a good finish could propel him from 9th to first in the WAGR list; also France’s Benjamin Hebert, who won the European Championship last year.