In 2001, Chez Reavie defeated Danny Green at the 38th hole to win the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship conducted at Pecan Valley Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas. The victory earned the Arizona State University golfer an invitation to the 2002 Masters. Today, the Scottsdale, Ariz., resident is still playing golf as a member of the PGA Tour. On the 10-year anniversary of his national championship, USGA online intern Rich Conforti caught up with Reavie at Congressional Country Club, where he qualified to compete in the 2011 U.S. Open, to discuss his APL title and what it meant going forward in his career.
It’s been 10 years since you won the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links (APL), what kind of memories do you have of that event?
Chez Reavie: You know it was a fantastic week in San Antonio. Getting to play in the Masters (an invitation that the APL winner traditionally receives) and getting to play Danny Green in the finals of that tournament, I remember every single thing about it.
In the finals, Danny Green, the 1989 U.S. Amateur runner-up and 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, memorably wore a shirt in the morning 18 with the Masters logo on it. How did you deal with that as the two of you battled for the berth?
Chez Reavie: It was good motivation and you know, it was good for me because it made me learn how to deal with things that were out of my control and how not to let those things affect me. If anything I used it as a positive motivation tool to go out and want to beat him.
Does it feel like yesterday that you won that championship?
Chez Reavie: You know it’s crazy…10 years. Just being able to still play pro golf and be out here playing, playing in the U.S. Opens. It’s just a dream come true.
How has the recovery from your right knee injury progressed? I understand you underwent surgery last June. Has it healed well?
Chez Reavie: You know, it has been great. I’ve been progressively getting better every week and I’ve had to be patient. Obviously, I had expected myself to come back right away and compete but that had not been the case. I do see improvements every week which is a good thing.
You’ve been playing some great golf recently, finishing fourth at The Colonial, which included a first-round 62. You also shot 69-63 in Columbus, Ohio, to qualify for the U.S. Open. Is your game coming around?
Chez Reavie: I played well at The Colonial. I played well in the qualifier for the Open but it’s just totally different. You go from a qualifying course where you shoot a 63 and then you come here and you’re obviously not going to shoot nine under here, it’s just not going to happen. So you have to adjust to the course.
In addition to the 2001 APL, you also won the 2008 RBC Canadian Open by shooting 17 under par. Which of the two victories was bigger for you?
Chez Reavie: You know that’s tough because they are two totally different stages of my life. I mean the larger one would be the RBC because I locked a spot out here (on the PGA Tour) to play against the best players in the world. However, winning the Public Links gave me the confidence to be able to come out here and win some tournaments.
Looking back, how do you view your progression over the last 10 years since your victory as a 20-year old in the APL?
Chez Reavie: Things have progressed nicely. I played a year and a half, two years on the Nationwide Tour and from there I got my PGA [Tour] card and have been out here for four years now. Obviously, I would have liked to have won more golf tournaments and be ranked a bit higher in the world right now, but things don’t always go as planned and as long as I keep getting better I know I’ll be able to get where I want to be.