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.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- It’s understandable that Erik Compton would have a letdown after winning the Mexico Open on the Nationwide Tour last week and that’s exactly what happened Thursday a Aronimink, where he shot a 6-over 76.
“I didn't get much preparation for the tournament,” said Compton, whose week has been a whirlwind since he all but secure his PGA TOUR card for next season with last week’s victory. “I kind of knew that. Unfortunately I just didn't have much focus today.
“It was just kind of mixed emotions when you come off a win. I can't beat myself up too bad. I feel like I struck the ball okay, just the grind is out of me. It's hard to grind.”
It was an up and down day for sure for Compton, who had three bogeys, three double bogeys, one birdie and one eagle.
It’s been a busy week for Compton off the course, too, with interview requests and television appearances every day leading into the tournament. This also marks Compton’s fifth week in a row playing.
”I'm not so much tired, just mentally being on the road for five weeks,” Compton said. “I almost feel like today was my practice round, so maybe tomorrow I'll come out and shoot 4 or 5 under. “
By Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Erik Compton continues to prove he has the skills necessary to compete on the PGA TOUR. He got off to a quick start at Aronomink with a birdie on its 430-yard opening hole and is currently 1 over through his first six holes on the tough track ( click here to follow him live with Shot Tracker ).
Compton is battling the emotions of winning his first Nationwide Tour event last week, the Mexico Open presented by Banamex. He’s also been subject to a great deal of media attention because of his health issues Compton was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at the age of nine, and has since undergone two heart transplants that have kept him alive. Because of his condition, Compton battles a lot of fatigue and has to pace himself.
He’s done that well this year. His win last week moved him to No. 2 on the Nationwide Tour money list, virtually assuring that he will earn his PGA TOUR card next year. This week, Compton is paired with Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan, who are also 1 over.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Erik Compton had one of the day’s best rounds Friday with a 5-under 67 that has him on the edge of contention heading into the weekend at Bay Hill. It’s even more impressive when you take into account that Compton was apparently awake until roughly 4 a.m.
His lack of sleep, however, had little to do with the 75 he shot earlier Thursday.
“A little that, and there was a party going on next door,” Compton said. “When I knocked on the door at 4 in the morning they said, ‘Are you serious?’ And I said, ‘Hell, yes, I'm serious, knock it off.’"
Compton fought off the lack of sleep and made six birdies and just one bogey. He also got up and own a couple of times from the sand and took just 26 putts.
It also helped that the wind wasn’t blowing Friday morning, which wasn’t the case a day earlier.
”You could play more strategy golf,” Compton said. “[Thursday] was just hit it as far as you can down there and try to avoid the wind.
“And I've had a hot putter all week. I've been reading the greens pretty well.”
This is just Compton’s third start on the PGA TOUR this season. The double heart transplant recipient tied for 25th at the Northern Trust Open and tied for 55th at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com two weeks ago.
”I'm in a great spot,” Compton said. “For me, this is a process. I have struggled on weekends, so if I can continue to have my strength going and a good putter, I feel like I can play well. But you know, I've got to do it before I can say it.” -- Brian Wacker