Reavie an example of unpredictable Tour playoffs

Chez Reavie lines up a putt on the first hole during the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. Reavie finished tied for second place with 10-under par.

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NORTON, Mass. - Welcome to the PGA Tour playoffs, where every shot could have an impact on surviving this week and moving on to play another.

Or, in other words, welcome to Chez Reavie’s 2011 life.

Reavie, 30, is in a bit of an odd spot. He basically lost his card earlier this season when, competing on a major medical extension after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in mid-2010, he failed to earn enough money in 13 events to equal the No. 125 spot on the 2010 earnings list ($786,977). So he moved into partial-status category, playing out of the No. 126-150 category, where starts can be limited.

As it stands today, he cannot get into the fields of the second-tier Fall Series events after the autumn opener in Las Vegas. And yet here he is, after a solid summer run of good play, smack dab in the middle of the almighty playoffs, one shot off the lead with a chance to earn one of the Tour’s more prestigious titles, the Deutsche Bank Championship, on Monday outside Boston.

Go figure.

At least Reavie delivers a smile when contemplating the wild season he has endured. At 87th in FedEx points, he’s vying for his playoff life, needing to climb to 70th or better to advance to the BMW Championship in Chicago the week after next. Playing for survival? This season, it’s the only mode he knows.

“I might be the only guy in the field who's used to not knowing if I'm in next week,” Reavie said with a shrug after a third-round, 3-under 68 moved him into a tie for second place, one shot behind Bubba Watson.

He’s probably right. This season has been, well, different to say the least. Beginning with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he played 16 of 18 weeks on a right knee which was rebuilt in June of 2010. He’d pretty much played his entire pro career without the ACL in his right knee (an old high school injury), but he was able to manage. When he re-tore the meniscus in the same knee at last year’s Hope in Palm Springs, that was it. Too much pain. By spring, he was on the shelf, and by early summer, under the knife. It made him realize he’d been far from 100 percent healthy for a long time (“I had back pain and neck pain, and I felt like I was 50 and I was 27,” he said).

It was enough to give one William Chesney Reavie a newfound appreciation for his profession.

“I got very, very motivated watching everybody else play golf last year,” he said. “That’s really the first time I’d been out for an extended period of time, and I was bed-ridden and couch-ridden for some time, so I watched a lot of golf. It definitely made me work out hard (in rehab), and it made me work hard on my game.”

He tied for fifth both at the Colonial and the John Deere and had another top 10 at Wyndham the week before the playoffs began. In one three-week stretch, he had top-18 finishes at the Viking in Mississippi, the Canadian Open (site of his lone Tour victory in ’08) and the Greenbrier in West Virginia. In one stretch he competed six consecutive weeks. The good finishes did not come early enough to keep his card, but with $1,040,267 in season earnings, he’s already set for 2012. And with a victory on Monday, hey, he not only will more than double his 2011 take, but he even can earn his way into starts in the Fall Series.

“I'm going to play tomorrow the way I've played all year,” Reavie said. “I'm just going to go play. At the beginning of the year when I had the 12 events and I had to make a certain amount, I was thinking a lot about how much money I had made and how much money I needed, and then it just . . . it wasn't working. I wasn't playing well. I was stressed out.

“So it got me into this state of mind to just go play golf, and I'll finish where I finish.”

And in the event he should finish on top, he won’t have to worry about “next week” for a long, long time.

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