Prior to the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic Duwayne Escobedo from the US Sports Academy presents Erik Compton with the Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Erik Compton was talking to Tommy Gainey on the driving range at Sea Island a couple of weeks ago, both commiserating on what up until that point had been a relatively disappointing season for each.
The next day Gainey shot 60 to win for the first time in his career.
“All of a sudden [he] turns a year like I've had into an extraordinary year with a win,” Compton said.
Now Compton is hoping to have a similar turnaround. He is 163rd on the money list coming into the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic and needs to finish in the top three to climb inside the top 125.
It’s a much different position than he was in a year ago at this time.
Compton opened his 2011 season with two fourth-place finishes in his first three starts on the Web.com Tour. Two months later, he won, guaranteeing himself a spot in the top 25 on the money list and a PGA TOUR card for this year.
Only once this season, however, has Compton even finished in the top 25 -- a tie for 13th at the John Deere Classic was his best result. He’s also missed eight cuts and at times the double heart transplant recipient has been physically worn down.
“Last season I was extremely confident,” he said. “In my mind I felt like I'd accomplished that I was going to get my card. Out here it's very easy if you don't get off to a good start to sort to fall in the limbo of just barely making the cut."
Compton has made the cut in each of his last three starts, but none of his finishes were in the top 50.
“I don't feel like I've played that much different than I did last year, although it seemed like last year when I needed to make a birdie, I made them,” Compton said. “I haven't had a great week. I haven't had a week where I feel like on the weekend the heart's racing and I'm in contention. So hey, you win one tournament and miss 20 cuts in a row, is that a great year?”
If he does, it could be.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
1 p.m. ET: Jonas Blixt
1:30 p.m. ET: Jeff Maggert
Wed., Nov. 7, 2012
12:30 p.m. ET: Gary Christian
12:45 p.m. ET: Tommy Gainey
1 p.m. ET: Erik Compton
This week’s episode of HBO’s Real Sports will have a feature on Erik Compton. Award-winning journalist Frank Deford recently sat down with Compton, the first-year PGA TOUR pro who has undergone two heart transplants.
The show will debut Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
Here’s a preview video of the Compton feature.
Frank Deford reconnects with Erik Compton during his first season on the PGA TOUR, and learns about the numerous hurdles he has overcome. Real Sports debuts Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Following his opening-round 67 at the 2012 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, Erik Compton meets with the media and talks about getting back on track.
John Swantek interviews PGA TOUR rookie Erik Compton, from the media center at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, and asks him a variety of questions supplied by PGA TOUR fans.
Got a question for Erik Compton? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats this week with the 2012 rookie.
Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, has had a respectable rookie season, with eight cuts made in 12 starts. This will be his first start in the HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.
Direct Connect video will be posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Erik Compton finally has his PGA TOUR card, and at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday (1 p.m. locally), he will officially kick off his first full season on TOUR.
Considering everything he had to endure to get to the point -- you've probably heard that he's had two heart transplants -- you might think it would make a good book. Or movie.
"There's people that contacted me to do book deals," Compton said, "and when I was younger, people wanted to do a lifetime story."
But Compton said there's one problem -- the ending hasn't been written yet.
"I want to be out here to win at this level," he said, "and I don't think my story is quite done yet. ... It's just a tough story to write because it's still in the process."
Compton said the hype surrounding his return to golf following his second heart transplant in 2008 has slowed down, but he still recognizes he can help increase the importance of donating organs. That's why he's teamed up pharmaceutical company Genentec.
"We are trying to promote more organ donor awareness and trying to get more people to donate organs because there is a shortage," Compton said. "By me playing and being able to share my story, I think people will realize that it really is a real thing and it affects normal people every day."
Obviously, the more success he has this season, the more awareness he can create. For now, though, competing at the highest level of his sport is a good way to start.
"I think the competition is what keeps me from sitting on the couch and listening to my heart," Compton said.
"I talk to a lot of younger kids that have had transplants and you know, sometimes I sound to myself like I'm a little over the top, trying to push them to do something more than they want.
"I don't want to hurt anybody to push more than they have, but sometimes you need a good kick in the butt to be like, hey, I can be more than just an average person."
It's doubtful anybody will ever accuse Compton of simply being average.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NETOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- This week hasn’t exactly gone the way Erik Compton would have liked -- he’s 5 over through 11 holes in his second round after opening with a 76. But it’s also understandable given the exhorbtant demands on his time since winning on the Nationwide Tour last week, which will pretty much guarantee him a card on the PGA TOUR next season.
No matter his play this week, Compton’s journey has been nothing short of amazing.
Michael Hanzman, a friend and circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County who has helped Compton financially from the beginning, said sponsors weren’t exactly coming out of the woodwork when Compton had his second heart transplant in 2008, but he always believed in Compton.
“I really felt he had the ability to get a TOUR card,” Hanzman said via cell phone. “In 2008 I was just devastated for him, but he recovered and I still believed he was going to accomplish it despite the odds. I just know he has inner strength and character to do this.”
So while Compton won’t be around for the weekend at the AT&T National, he’ll be on TOUR plenty next season.