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The Tour Report
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June 1 2012

1:00 AM

Compton’s ‘trust’ rewarded again

Interview: Erik Compton

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.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM DUBLIN, Ohio -- Erik Compton spent last week on the driving range in the Texas heat trying to revamp his swing, making that sweeping arc flatter and shallower, all of which is a pretty dramatic deviation from his norm. Then Compton went out Thursday in the first round of the Memorial Tournament, trusted those changes he implemented and was rewarded with a 67 that was his low round of the year and left him one shot off the lead. The way the Compton looked at things, it was hardly a leap of faith. "If you live my life, you've learned how to trust a lot of things," Compton said simply. "I trust it every time I wake up that my heart is going to beat a certain way. I have to put a lot of trust in a lot of people, so why not trust myself?" The 33-year-old Compton, you see, wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for two heart transplants. And the second one happened to beat in the body of 26-year-old man named Isaac Klosterman, who was from Dayton, Ohio and lived in Columbus before the hit-and-run motorcycle accident in Florida that killed him. Seven months earlier, Compton had suffered a heart attack while out fishing. He very nearly didn't get to the hospital in time. Things were so critical, he called family members to say his good-byes. Then Isaac's heart gave Compton, who suffers from viral cardiomyopathy, another chance to follow his dream. He received the heart in May, 2008 and remembers watching the Memorial Tournament during his recovery. A year later, thanks to a sponsor's exemption offered by Jack Nicklaus, Compton was playing at Muirfield Village. "It's just a great story, obviously, and ... for me it's a special place," Compton said. "For me there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my donor. To be able to play here, regardless of whether I play good or bad, it's just always a nice week. "To be here, my wife is here, she flew in, so ... maybe she's good luck, she brought me some good luck. I know there's a lot of people that are in the town that may be familiar with the story, so that's obviously always cool to play in front of people that are rooting for you." Wherever he plays, Compton is a living, breathing testament to the importance of organ donation. And as he often does, Compton spent Wednesday morning visiting young patients at the Nationwide Children's Hospital which is a few miles from Muirfield Village. Compton, who is a rookie on the PGA TOUR, is playing in his fourth Memorial Tournament this week. His round of 5 under featured a string of three straight birdies on the back nine and marked the first time he had broken 70 on Jack Nicklaus' signature course. Truth be told, Compton hasn't been particularly pleased with a rookie year where his best finish is a tie for 26th at The Honda Classic in his veritable hometown. But Compton trusts -- there's that word again -- he is making the right moves. "I think I have the talent, and just being able to put it together has always been difficult for me," Compton said. "And I think being out here on the PGA TOUR, if you see a lot of the guys that are consistent playing have a very compact swing that seems to have misses that go straight. I mean, look at Zach Johnson or even Jason Dufner, even Matt Kuchar. "These guys are all guys that I played college golf with, and they're kicking my butt out here, and I don't like that. So seeing how they're working on their game, and how their misses -- I think this is just a game of misses, and I've got to improve on my misses, and I did it today."
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