Maverick McNealy might have missed out on match play at the U.S. Amateur and the chance to potentially secure three major-championship starts in 2017 with a victory at Oakland Hills, but on Wednesday he earned himself a pair of major exemptions.
McNealy was announced by the R&A and U.S. Golf Association as the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, given to the leading player in the 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking. For winning the medal, the Stanford senior will play in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills and 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale, provided he remains amateur.
“To win the McCormack Medal is both very special and a huge honor,” McNealy said. “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.”
In the last year, McNealy won four times in college en route to earning first-team All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. His 69.57 stroke average was the second-best in the nation and he was named a Ben Hogan Award finalist for the second year in a row.
He is now tied with Patrick Rodgers for the second-most career wins at Stanford with 10, one behind Woods’ 11.
He also made the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year and in four career PGA Tour starts, McNealy has made the cut three times (missing only at the 2014 U.S. Open).
McNealy, a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, helped the United States to an 18-12 triumph at the 2015 Arnold Palmer Cup, where he won two matches. He was the recipient of the Nicklaus Award and Haskins Award in 2015 and led the nation with the second-best scoring average in NCAA history (69.05) that season.
Past winners of the McCormack Medal include Peter Uihlein (2010), Matt Fitzpatrick (2013), Ollie Schniederjans (2014) and Jon Rahm (2015).