Compton, others begin Open Championship Qualifying Series
June 24, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Erik Compton is looking to qualify for his first Open Championship appearance. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, Md. -- Erik Compton has a passport.
He just doesn't have a spot in next month's Open Championship. Yet.
But Compton, along with 94 others teeing it up at the Quicken Loans National on Thursday, has a chance to change his schedule to include the season's third major -- depending on what happens during the Open Championship Qualifying Series.
The OQS begins this week at Congressional Country Club and includes next week's Greenbrier Classic and the John Deere Classic that immediately precedes the Open Championship. In addition to the three PGA TOUR events, the OQS comprises 11 more events in eight different countries on four other continents.
The four players not otherwise exempt for the Open among the top 12 finishers (and ties) at Quicken Loans earn spots in the game's oldest major. Ditto for The Greenbrier Classic while the top finisher among the top five and ties at the John Deere Classic gets the final berth.
The Open Championship will be played July 13-20 at Royal Liverpool.
Compton originally had thought his hard-fought tie for second at the U.S. Open got him into what would be just the second different major of his career. He figured he'd have a big support group in the UK, too, because his mother has relatives in Norway, where his family owns a summer home.
"It would be nice to play in another major because I had such a great time preparing for the (U.S. Open)," said Compton, who owns dual citizenship.
Unfortunately, though, that career week at Pinehurst No. 2 only assured him of starts in the PGA Championship, next year's Masters and U.S. Open. It did not earn him a spot in The Open Championship.
"That's a long way away," Compton said. "You want to play in majors when you're playing well. And I'm playing well this year."
He is, indeed. Compton has posted three top-10s and ranks a career-high 45th in the FedExCup. He has more than doubled his combined PGA TOUR earnings with $1.6 million this year, as well.
So Compton is playing in his third straight event, and fourth in five weeks, to take advantage of his stellar play. A berth in the Open Championship would be a big bonus.
"If I was in the British, I wouldn't have played this week," Compton said. "But now that I'm not in the British, I'm playing. Plus, Tiger has been very very good to me. ... I'm excited that he's playing and (I) have a chance to play against him in the field. We all love it when he's playing. He's the best."
If Compton doesn't finish high enough to punch his ticket to Royal Liverpool, though, he's going to take some time off. His impressive finish at the U.S. Open brought considerable attention to the 34-year-old, who is a two-time heart transplant recipient, and things haven't calmed down yet.
"So that's why I need to take some time to regroup after this week," said Compton. "My routine has been changed but I feel physically very good. With that said, I think I'll have a good week. If I was feeling drained and tired, ... I wouldn't play."
Compton cleared his head -- and got a putting tip from tournament co-host Brad Faxon -- at the CVS Charity Classic earlier this week. He likes Congressional Country Club, which hosted the 2011 U.S. Open and is a course that doesn't yield a lot of birdies, too.
"Par is your friend (here) and I feel like I'm a good ball-striker and a good long iron player," Compton said. "So if I can get the ball in play then I feel like I have a good chance on a tougher course. This course has a good history."
And if Compton plays well enough, he'll be looking for some extra tickets to give to his Norwegian cheering section at Hoylake. His parents plan to be in Norway in July and Compton might take his family to visit his relatives, too.
"But it's out of your control," Compton said. "You've just got to play well. I love this tournament and it's a good golf course for me. So if I play well, I have a good chance of getting into the British. ...
"If not, my wife and I and daughter will be here in the States resting and enjoying the great year that we've had."
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