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Compton gets Zaharias Courage Award at Disney

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Erik Compton’s week at a PGA Tour stop typically includes more than practice rounds, pro-ams and tournament play.

It often involves a trip to a local hospital to encourage fellow transplant patients.

“Tournaments where I’ve made hospital visits, I seemed to play better,” Compton said.

That bodes well this week with Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, competing in the Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World. The event is devoted to causes Compton appreciates. He teamed with Donate Life America this year in a program called “Playing Through with Erik Compton.” Their mission is to encourage Americans to become organ donors.

At Disney Wednesday, the United States Sports Academy presented Compton its Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award.

“When I go to a hospital to see patients, sometimes it’s a Catch 22,” Compton said. “It puts me back into that position where I was on my back in some of the dark places. Sometimes, it’s tough for me, but I realize that I might help someone out of that situation. There are a lot of people who need to have that same chance I had.”

Compton had his first heart transplant when he was 12. He had another after a heart attack four years ago.

Compton is 163rd on the money list in his first full season on the PGA Tour. He needs a two-way tie for third or better this week to have a chance to crack the top 125 in money and keep his exempt status.

“My career path has taken off the last four years,” Compton said. “You never know what the future holds.”