In this season unlike any other, there were bound to be some players who were helped by the 13-week work stoppage – and others who were hurt by it.
Of course, there were myriad factors to consider. How much did they practice during the pandemic shutdown? Did they suffer an injury or struggle without their coach? Did they play enough during the restart? Were they affected by the fan-less atmosphere?
Now that the FedExCup top 30 are set to gather for the Tour Championship, we delved into the numbers to find the biggest risers and fallers from when the sport shut down (following the Players Championship) to the season finale.
BIGGEST RISERS OVERALL
Michael Thompson: 132 spots (from No. 191 to No. 59)
Jim Herman: 125 (No. 189 to No. 64)
Justin Rose: 114 (No. 205 to No. 91)
Dustin Johnson: 110 (No. 111 to No. 1)
Brooks Koepka: 109 (No. 213 to No. 104)
Notes: Thompson had only one top-20 prior to his 3M victory, while Herman hadn’t been better than 35th in a full-field event prior to his 124 weekend at the Wyndham. … Rose uncharacteristically struggled this season (more missed cuts than made) while Johnson and Koepka had gotten off to quiet starts and were still recovering from Fall 2019 surgeries.
BIGGEST FALLERS OVERALL
Scott Brown: 44 spots (from No. 70 to No. 114)
Nate Lashley: 44 (No. 52 to No. 96)
Zac Blair: 42 (No. 71 to No. 113)
Brian Gay: 42 (No. 73 to No. 115)
Vaughn Taylor: 42 (No. 43 to No. 85)
Notes: Brown’s best finish during the restart was a 42nd-place showing, while Lashley had four straight missed cuts and a withdrawal before a restart-best 37th at the PGA.
TOP 10 RISERS AMONG THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
Dustin Johnson: 110 spots (from No. 111 to No. 1)
Kevin Kisner: 55 (No. 76 to No. 21)
Mackenzie Hughes: 41 (No. 69 to No. 28)
Daniel Berger: 39 (No. 45 to No. 6)
Collin Morikawa: 36 (No. 41 to No. 5)
Ryan Palmer: 25 (No. 48 to No. 23)
Jon Rahm: 19 (No. 21 to No. 2)
Billy Horschel: 19 (No. 49 to No. 30)
Harris English: 17 (No. 24 to No. 7)
Viktor Hovland: 17 (No. 44 to No. 27)
Notes: Johnson has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in three consecutive tournaments, going 2-1-2. … Kisner has three top-4s in his past seven starts. … Berger has been one of the top players of the summer, winning the first event back at Colonial and racking up three other top-3s, climbing all the way to 13th in the world. … Morikawa had a playoff loss and two victories this summer – none bigger, of course, than the PGA. … Hughes nearly won at the Honda this year and added four more top-15s, his latest coming at the BMW, where he got up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole to earn his first Tour Championship berth.
TOP 10 FALLERS AMONG THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
Marc Leishman: 18 spots (from No. 7 to No. 25)
Cameron Champ: 14 (No. 15 to No. 29)
Cam Smith: 13 (No. 13 to No. 26)
Kevin Na: 13 (No. 11 to No. 24)
Rory McIlroy: 9 (No. 3 to No. 12)
Sungjae Im: 8 (No. 1 to No. 9)
Lanto Griffin: 8 (No. 8 to No. 16)
Patrick Reed: 7 (No. 6 to No. 13)
Brendon Todd: 7 (No. 4 to No. 11)
Sebastian Munoz: 6 (No. 9 to No. 15)
Notes: Leishman, who won at Torrey Pines, bottomed out with a 30-over par week at the BMW and admitted that he’s struggled with energy and his swing. … Champ took the season-opening Safeway but didn’t have another top-10 until the PGA. … Na slid down the standings despite top-10s against strong fields at the Travelers and Memorial. … Dropping nine spots, McIlroy battled a wandering mind this summer and didn’t have a single top-10 (his longest drought in more than a decade), and now we know part of the reason why – he and wife Erica are expecting the couple’s first child, a girl, this week. … In 11 restart events, Im, the season-long points leader prior to the break, had only a pair of top-10s. … Todd was a two-time winner this season and also blew leads at the Travelers and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
LEAST MOVEMENT OF ANY PLAYER
Hideki Matsuyama: 0 spots (stayed at No. 10)
Rickie Fowler: 0 (stayed at No. 94)
Webb Simpson: 1 (improved from No. 5 to No. 4)
Adam Long: 1 (improved from No. 32 to No. 31)
Justin Thomas: 1 (dropped from No. 2 to No. 3)
Joaquin Niemann: 1 (dropped from No. 17 to No. 18)
Joel Dahmen: 1 (dropped from No. 37 to No. 38)
PLAYED THEIR WAY OUT OF A TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BERTH
Ben An (dropped from No. 23 to No. 33)
Patrick Cantlay (dropped from No. 29 to No. 34)
Tyler Duncan (dropped from No. 27 to No. 40)
Adam Scott (dropped from No. 20 to No. 41)
Nick Taylor (dropped from No. 18 to No. 48)
Tom Hoge (dropped from No. 22 to No. 50)
Carlos Ortiz (dropped from No. 26 to No. 51)
Andrew Landry (dropped from No. 30 to No. 61)
Tiger Woods (dropped from No. 28 to No. 63)
Notes: Tabbed by many as a 2020 breakout candidate, Cantlay didn’t win this season and had just three top-12s (none better than a T-7) during the restart. … Scott took the longest break of any big-name player, opting not to return until the PGA. … Woods didn’t return until the Memorial and played the fewest number of overall events (seven) of any BMW participant, by three. None of his restart results were inside the top 35.