Now a dad Comptons story resumes at Honda

By Associated PressMarch 2, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Everyone in this weeks Honda Classic field has the goal of walking down the 18th fairway Sunday with a trophy and $1 million awaiting.
 
Everyone except Erik Compton.
 
Hed settle for just the walking.
 
Comptons feel-good story returns to the PGA Tour this week, through a sponsors exemption into the Honda at PGA National. Hell be in a tournament as a father for the first time ' daughter Petra was born Feb. 22 ' and about 10 months removed from his second heart transplant surgery.
 
The odds say he wont win. Of course, the odds also say he wouldnt be a father. Or even still alive, for that matter.
 
Three hearts later, Im a part in creating a new life, the 29-year-old Compton said Monday, sleep-deprived from adjusting to life with a newborn. Whatever happens to me, shes going to eventually know my story and how she was brought into this world with a story. I mean, I never, ever thought Id be a father. I never even thought Id make it to college. As far as Ive made it and to look at her and to know I had a little part in it its really neat.
 
His is a story the golf world has latched onto, with good reason.
 
Compton learned Monday that hell play on another exemption at Bay Hill at the end of the month. He was invited to play in Dubai not long ago. Just about everyone he passes in the locker room asks how hes doing, how hes feeling.
 
A wonderful story, Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly said. Obviously, what he has gone through in his lifetime as a young person is unbelievable. We thought it was only appropriate to try to give back to Erik and we hope, frankly, that this is the start of Eriks new career on the PGA Tour.
 
Compton clearly hopes the same. After all, hes got a wife and daughter to support now.
 
Im not normal, Compton said. But its time.
 
Heart problems found him long before he found golf.
 
At 9, he was diagnosed with a condition that caused his heart to enlarge and therefore struggle to pump blood. At 12, he got his first transplant. In October 2007, he had a massive heart attack, drove himself to the hospital and was convinced he was going to die right there.
 
The greatest shots I ever hit, Compton said, were in a hospital.
 
Doctors saved him that fall day, but it was clear he needed another transplant.
 
The new heart ' the third chance at life ' arrived last May, and about five months later, Compton rallied to make it through the first round of Q-School. After that, he played in the PGA Tours season-ending event at Disney.
 
Theres a lot of great players, but Im competing against myself, Compton said. Im trying to do something that nobody in the world has ever done.
 
Those who know him say they wouldnt bet against him.
 
I dont know someone as confident as Erik, said Charlie DeLucca, his mentor who was with him at PGA National on Monday.
 
Compton doesnt have all his strength back, and possibly never will. Once a big hitter who would argue with Camilo Villegas over whom was longer off the tee ' their numbers used to be practically identical on the Nationwide Tour ' hes lost maybe as much as 30 to 40 yards off his drives.
 
And hes got to conserve his energy, too. He played 36 holes Thursday and 36 more Friday, plus took part in a pro-am at PGA National on Monday. After that, he doesnt expect to play again until the tournament begins, skipping Tuesday and Wednesday to rest.
 
Playing is hard for Compton. Not playing is even harder.
 
My wife, my friends, my family, they have to tell me to take it easy, said Compton, who swallows a handful of pills three times a day, including some beta-blockers that are typically prohibited under the PGA Tours drug policy.
 
Compton wants to win tournaments, of course, and bank the kind of money thatll take care of his family.
 
But thats hardly his sole focus, not even close. He prides himself on being a living, breathing example of the sort of life transplant recipients can have. Hes an advocate, is working with a foundation, will even have a play with a pro event next week with retired basketball star Alonzo Mourning, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2003.
 
So this week, its not about winning. Its about walking.
 
The PGA Tour is allowing him to use a cart this week if he deems it necessary. He desperately doesnt want that to happen.
 
For me to be able to walk four days is part of a separate goal, Compton said. For me, being able to walk four days and play coming down Sunday is a huge accomplishment but I might not perform as well if I was in a cart.
 
This week, to him, that simply doesnt matter.
 
Its been a goal of mine to get back and play and walk, Compton said. Its going to be a good week. With the birth of our daughter, its been a pretty tiring week, but hopefully somewhere in the mix I can play a little golf.
 
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.