Compton gets final Disney exemption


Miami’s Erik Compton was awarded the prized final sponsor’s exemption into the final PGA Tour event of the year.

Compton, who is pursuing his PGA Tour dream after two heart transplant surgeries, one 18 months ago, will play the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World next week. Compton received the news from tournament director Kevin Weickel on Tuesday afternoon.

Compton will turn 30 a day before the tournament begins. He and Rickie Fowler were among finalists for the last spot, which tournament officials planned to award last week. So was Jamie Lovemark. With the Viking Classic in danger of being canceled due to weather, Weickel and the tournament committee decided to wait before awarding their last exemption. When the Viking Classic was canceled, it allowed Fowler and Lovemark to gain access to the Disney event by virtue of their top-10 finishes at the Open. They lost in the playoff there to Troy Matteson.

Compton's story fits what the Children's Miracle Network is all about. At 12, Compton became the youngest heart transplant recipient at that time in the history of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital. He also played the Disney event last year on a sponsor's exemption and made the cut, tying for 60th. He made it through the first stage of PGA Tour Q-School last week.