Compton tales always involve his hearts

By Associated PressJanuary 15, 2012, 8:47 pm

HONOLULU (AP)—Justin Leonard finished hitting wedges on the range Sundaymorning and had moved on to irons as he worked his way through the bag beforethe final round of the Sony Open. Erik Compton arrived and took the spot next tohim.

About 10 minutes later, Leonard was surprised to hear the sound of a shotfrom over his shoulder. He turned to see Compton bending to tee up another ball.

“You’re hitting driver already?” Leonard said.

Erik Compton drives onto the 1…
AP - Jan 14, 5:56 pm EST
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Compton smiled and joked back, “I used to come out and just hit fourdrivers on the Nationwide Tour.”

One couldn’t help but wonder if that was yet another physical restrictionfor Compton, who already has had two heart transplants. Turns out it was thedesign of this range, which has a prevailing left-to-right wind that might leadto bad habits for the shape of his shot.

Compton, though, is used to every query involving his heart.

From the time he played in the 2001 Walker Cup, if not before, his story iswell known, and no less amazing.

Because of viral cardiomyopathy as a kid, he had his first heart transplantwhen he was 12. He suffered a heart attack on Oct. 3, 2007, and drove himself tothe hospital with his heart running at 15 percent capacity. His second hearttransplant was seven months later, and five months later made the cut on the PGATour while playing on a sponsor’s exemption.

The highlight for Compton, at least on the golf course, came last summerwhen he won the Mexico Open on the Nationwide Tour, which coupled with goodresults earlier, assured him of finishing in the top 25 on the money list andgraduating to the big leagues.

The Sony Open was his 31st start on the PGA Tour, his 20th since getting athird heart, his first as a full-fledged member. As if anyone could doubt afighting spirit, he was headed toward a missed cut until finishing birdie-eagleto make the cut on the number.

With another cut in effect Saturday, Compton made a 10-foot birdie on thelast hole that pushed him through to Sunday. It was worth another round, a smallexample of how the 32-year-old from Miami just keeps going.

There have been suggestions of a book, perhaps even a movie, of his life.

Hollywood would have no trouble finding the storybook ending. Going througha heart transplant to be a college success and play in the Walker Cup. Survivinga second heart transplant. Returning to play golf. Winning on the NationwideTour. Reaching the PGA Tour.

Where does it end?

“I don’t think my story is quite done yet,” Compton said. “I thinksometimes Hollywood wants an ending, and something that’s going to see is nevergood enough. You have to win a PGA event, and then you have to win a major, andthen you have to win a Grand Slam, and then you’ve got to be the president ofthe United States.

“It’s just a tough story to write, because it’s still in the process,”Compton said.

The hype over books and movies has subsided recently, which is OK withCompton. For all the trauma he has endured, despite a road to the PGA Tourunmatched by anyone in history, what appeals to him is the feel of a crisp shot,the satisfaction of making a big putt, a number on the card, a spot on theleaderboard.

“I just really want to be able to compete and be able to make adifference,” he said.

One of these days, Compton will get the same questions as most everyone elseon the PGA Tour—details of the round, key shots, being in contention, copingwith nerves going into the weekend with a chance.

He’s different, though, because while he wants to be a golfer and achieve asmuch as he can, he has a story to tell about transplants. If nothing else,Compton can inspire hope.

He has a partnership with Genetec, which uses human genetic information todevelop medicine to treat serious or life-threatening conditions. Comptondescribes it as a “perfect fit.”

“We’re trying to promote more organ donor awareness and trying to get morepeople to donate organs because there’s a shortage,” he said. “By me playingand being able to share my story, I think people will realize that it really isa real thing and it affects normal people every day. So I think that’s kind ofthe two sides of me—the player and the transplant side to it.

“I’ve done a good job of being able to balance that when I get on the golfcourse,” he said. “I just feel like a regular person, and being able to playsuccessful and good golf for me is just being healthy.”

But he is finding some normalcy in the clubhouse, on the putting green, atlunch, on the golf course.

“When I go in the locker room, they just look at me like I’m a regularplayer,” he said. “None of the players ever ask me, and I kind of respectthat, because they understand that I’m getting that on the other end. But I kindof blend in. I’m not like a superstar that people think. I’m just a regular guy,and I look like a regular guy.”

Compton can’t think of an interview when someone didn’t mention his heart,“unless it was a reporter that didn’t have the background or didn’t have aclue.” That’s OK. He expects to get that as long as he’s playing golf, and hedoesn’t mind talking about it.

Part of him looks forward to the day when he gets the same questions thatJeff Maggert received on Saturday after tying for the lead, or Brendon de Jonge on Friday after he switched back to his old putter and shot 62.

Or maybe not.

“When I see some interviews, they can be boring to me,” he said. “I mean,how much can you talk about golf?”

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.