Compton wants to be known for more than heart

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2014, 1:59 pm

HOYLAKE, England – Erik Compton was chatting outside the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool when Ernie Els strolled up with some disappointing news.

Turns out, the Big Easy won't be able to play a practice round with Compton on Tuesday.

Not to worry.

Els made other arrangements for the following day.

''I've got you the world No. 1,'' Els said, referring to Adam Scott and breaking into a sly grin. ''That OK?''

The offer was fitting. Compton's stature is definitely on the rise since his inspiring performance last month at the U.S. Open, where the two-time heart transplant recipient tied for the runner-up spot behind runaway winner Martin Kaymer.

Arriving for his first British Open, Compton has the relaxed confidence of someone who truly belongs.

''I've played well this year,'' he said. ''It wouldn't be a surprise to me if I played solid.''

His amazing story – Compton underwent his first transplant at age 12, another 16 years later after driving himself to the hospital while having a near-fatal heart attack – is not as well known on this side of the Atlantic.

That's OK with Compton, who wants to be recognized more for the way he plays than what he's gone through away from the course.


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Still, there will always be those who look at him as that guy on his third heart, and he's grown more and more comfortable with that role as well. Now that Compton has had significant success as a player, there will surely be more opportunities to spread his message of hope, to show the world that a life-threatening condition doesn't have to be a death sentence.

He got a sampling of that on Monday.

During a practice round with three-time British Open champion Nick Faldo and Matt Kuchar, Compton was hardly the center of attention. But on his way to the driving range, he was approached by a woman and her young son, who suffers from a heart condition.

''I picked him up and took a picture with him,'' the golfer said. ''They were excited.''

Compton is excited about the state of his game, as well he should be. Ranked 362nd in the world at the end of last year, he's climbed to 74th with by far the best season of his career. In addition to his performance at Pinehurst, he's got two other top-five finishes and nearly $1.7 million in earnings – more than all his other seasons put together.

At 34, he seems to be just hitting his stride. He can't wait to tackle links golf, especially with temperatures this week expected to be in the 60s and 70s (high teens, low 20s C) – conditions that are much easier for a transplant recipient to endure than the brutal heat at Pinehurst.

''I think it suits my game,'' Compton said. ''Open golf is about making pars, and I'm good at creating sound pars. Sometimes, you've got to grind it out.''

He certainly knows a thing or two about grinding.

After Compton underwent his first transplant, the medication required to make sure his body didn't reject the new heart turned his face into roughly the shape of a pumpkin. The fresh-faced kid who had always been a good athlete – baseball was his first love – became the butt of jokes when he returned to school.

''All of a sudden, I was an athlete inside this body that looked like El Gordo. I had people calling me fatso,'' he recalled. ''It was tough for a kid. I changed schools, kind of changed my identity.''

Compton turned his full attention to golf, which turned out to be its own kind of lifesaver. It became his conduit to the University of Georgia, to the kind of life he wanted to live on the PGA Tour. Even after his second heart gave out, he kept plugging away, refusing to give up on his dreams while living with the reality that someday, in all likelihood, this third heart will give out, too.

''I'm not any more special than any other transplant recipient,'' he said. ''If this (heart) lasts longer than the last one, that's great. It will definitely last long enough to play this game until I retire.

''Then,'' he added, with a bit of gallows humor for a small group of reporters, ''you get old. Who wants to be old like you guys anyway?''

Compton is playing in Britain for only the second time, and there are times he sounds very much like a tourist. He looks forward to hitting the pubs, having a beer with the locals, ordering up some fish and chips. He marvels at this quintessential English town, with sturdy brick buildings and narrow roads, hardly changing at all from one century to the next.

''This town, for us, is like going to Disney World,'' he said, gazing out beyond the clubhouse. ''This is what we see in the movies.''

When it comes to the golf, he sounds like an old pro.

In his head, Compton is trying to script another scenario where he's in the mix going to Sunday.

''Major championships are all about feeling comfortable and giving yourself a chance,'' Compton said. ''Then you see what you can do on the last day.''

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.