The 2020/21 PGA TOUR season: Spieth makes huge jump as McIlroy falls

As the dust settles on the longest PGA TOUR Championship season in history, it’s time to check out who were the biggest climbers and fallers in the world’s top 20.

When Dustin Johnson wrapped up victory in the 2020 TOUR Championship, he was a clear leader in the world rankings.

He hammered home the point when winning the delayed Masters shortly after but, surprisingly, that was to prove DJ's only victory on the mammoth 50-tournament schedule which was wrapped up at the 2021 TOUR Championship last Sunday.

DJ walked off the course at East Lake this time at No.2 in the rankings, his top spot being claimed by Jon Rahm, who landed a first Major title in June's US Open.

But while the top two switched positions, there were some more significant moves among the elite when season 20/21 was finally in the books.

Here Planet Sport looks at the world's top 20 to see who were the biggest risers and fallers during the course of the 2020/21 campaign.

Biggest risers

Jordan Spieth (15th from 67th - up 52 spots)

Spieth bounced back in spectacular style in 2020/21 after his seemingly inexplicable slide down the rankings. The tide turned with T4 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and that was the first of seven top fours, highlighted by a win in the Valero Texas Open. Spieth hasn't been in the world's top 10 since 2018 but that will surely change sooner rather than later.

Harris English (11th from 45th - up 34 spots)

Harris English ended the season higher in the world rankings than Rory McIlroy. Let that sink in for a minute. The American started his rise with solo fourth in the US Open and posted victories in the Tournament of Champions and Travelers Championship. He added a third in the second US Open played in the period and should really have won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational before a dramatic late slump. However, English can still look back fondly on easily the best season of his career.

Viktor Hovland (14th from 31st - up 17 spots)

The Norwegian's inevitable upwards trajectory continued last season with a string of top-class performances and high finishes. Victory in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico catapulted him into the top 15 and he stayed there with nine other top six finishes and popped back to Europe to become the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour by landing the BMW International Open in Germany.

Louis Oosthuizen (8th from 23rd - up 15 spots)

Oosthuizen was only 31st in the world after T26 at Augusta National in April but his season took flight with three superb performances in the remaining 2021 Majors. It was hugely frustrating that he couldn't win one and add to his 2015 Open triumph but T2 at the PGA Championship, runner-up at the US Open and T3 in the Open Championship blasted him into the world's top 10 for the first time since 2013.

Abraham Ancer (12th from 22nd - up 10 spots)

The Mexican started his move with a rise from 30th to 19th via fifth at the Valspar Championship and second at the Wells Fargo. After fourth in the Travelers Championship, his big moment came at TPC Southwind as he made his first PGA TOUR win a big one when landing the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. That took him to a career-high of 11th and he finished the campaign just one spot down after some solid performances in the Playoffs.

Biggest fallers

Webb Simpson (20th from 6th - down 14 spots)

Simpson started the season in the world's top six and with eyes on his career-high ranking of fourth. Instead, he tumbled down the charts in a flat campaign which produced just a single top five: T4 in January's Sony Open. He had plenty of top 20s but they weren't enough to arrest his slide.

Rory McIlroy (13th from 4th - down 9 spots)

When Rory finished a lowly T43 in The Northern Trust last month he fell out of the world's top 15 for the first time since 2009! To be honest, that also points to his impressive longevity in the top echelons and a fourth at the BMW Championship nudged him back up to 13th. While it wasn't the season he wanted, a victory in the Wells Fargo Championship was a reassuring boost that he's making strides again under the tutelage of new swing coach Pete Cowen. An Open at St Andrews next year will get his attention.

Patrick Reed (19th from 10th - down 9 spots)

This has been a difficult season for Reid and it ended in worrying circumstances after he was hospitalized for bilateral pneumonia. A victory in the Farmers Insurance Open in January provided an impressive high but he managed just a single top five after that (fifth at Memorial) and ended the campaign with no top 15s in his final eight events. Inevitably, his ranking took a hit.

Justin Thomas (6th from 3rd - down 3 spots)

It was hardly a disaster to fall by just three spots but JT will admit the drop could have been further. He rather saved his season with one big week, or rather weekend to be precise. That came when he closed with 64-68 to score a thrilling win in The PLAYERS Championship, a result which lifted him to World No.2. To be fair he'd also banked plenty of points with some good finishes in late 2020 while a pair of top fours in his final three events suggested Thomas will be back in the top five sooner rather than later.

Daniel Berger (16th from 13th - down 3 spots)

Berger's drop is a slight surprise given the perception that he made definite strides this season. The high point was a victory at Pebble Beach, sealed with an eagle, and he cracked the top 10 in the year's final two Majors as well as adding a top five in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude. Still, despite the fall, he ended the campaign just four places below his career-high world ranking of 12th.

READ MORE: Tyrrell Hatton set for BMW PGA Championship defence at his second home

Latest Golf Videos