Heart Warming

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WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING: Erik Compton closed in 2-over 72 to finish at 3 over, and in a tie for 44th. The two-time heart transplant recipient will play in this week's opposite-field event in Puerto Rico and then again at Bay Hill.
 
Backspin Compton opened with back-to-back 69s to get within five of the 36-hole lead. The coolest part of his week, however, was having John Paul George, who is 4'1' and has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the left side of the heart hasnt formed properly, walk as his standard bearer in Round 2. George, who was never supposed to be born, is now 14. On the final hole Friday, Compton asked George to touch his putter for good luck. He then rolled in a 20-footer for birdie. This is the best day of my life, George said afterwards.
 


 
SILLY TIGER: Tiger Woods committed to play in this week's WGC-CA Championship at Doral. It will be his first stroke-play event since undergoing knee surgery last year. Tiger had until 5 p.m. ET Friday to officially enter the field. He made his announcement a little after 2 p.m. on his Web site.
 
Backspin For some reason Tiger gets a kick out of not letting people know his schedule until just about the last minute, even if it's rather obvious (like he wasn't going to play a tournament he's won six times, on a course on which he's won four times). He probably plays games with Elin all the time. Tiger: Guess who I saw at Perkins today? Elin: I don't know. Tiger: Well guess. Elin: I really don't know and don't care, I've been taking care of two kids today and I'm too tired to guess. Tiger: Well then I'm not going to tell you and you'll never know.
 


 
Y.E.S.: Y.E. Yang, ranked 460th entering the week, captured the Honda Classic, parring the final hole for a one-shot victory over John Rollins. The win earned him a two-year PGA Tour exemption, a check for $1,008,000, a spot in this weeks CA Championship at Doral, plus an invitation to next months Masters.
 
Backspin If I turned a street corner and got punched in the stomach by Don Rickles, I'd have sooner seen that coming than Y.E. Yang winning this week.
 


 
SOCKS AND SHOES REQUIRED: It was a tough week for the notable names at PGA National. Sergio Garcia, Davis Love and Ernie Els made the cut, but never factored. Camilo Villegas, Justin Rose and Stuart Appleby (a former champion) missed the cut.
 
Backspin Meanwhile, the final leaderboard went as follows: Y.E. Yang, John Rollins, Ben Crane, Jeff Klauk, Robert Allenby, Scott Piercey, etc., etc., etc. If you're one of those people who loves non-Tiger golf because it opens up the field for everyone ... boy, did you have a doozy this week.
 


 
SPECIAL DEDICATION: Robert Allenby was just one off the lead entering the final round at PGA National, but shot 2-over 72 to fall into a tie for seventh. Allenby remains winless on the PGA Tour since 2001.
 
Backspin A victory for Allenby would not only be beneficial to his confidence, but therepuetic to his soul. Allenby's mother died of lung and kidney cancer in January. Even before she passed away, the Australian's been looking for that one win to dedicate to her. He's playing well at the moment ... he just needs to find a way to control his emotions on Sunday.
 


 
WE CAN SEE AUGUSTA FROM HERE: The Honda Classic officially kicked off the Florida Swing, as well as the march to the Masters Tournament. Four tournaments in Florida, one in Texas (and one in Puerto Rico, too), and then the big one in Georgia.
 
Backspin There are 13 weeks, once the PGA Tour season begins, before the world's best reach Augusta. It's almost intolerable. It's like putting a pony in my shed in September and telling my daughters they can't ride it until Christmas. That's not going to work out too well for the girls or the pony.
 


 
CLUTCH SPELLED S-H-I-N: Jiyai Shin earned her fourth LPGA title in eight months, beating a solid field at the HSBC Women's Champions. Shin, the reigning Women's British Open champion, shot a Sunday 66 for a two-stroke win over Katherine Hull.
 
Backspin Shin apparently is known as the 'Final-Round Queen' in South Korea. Last year, she closed in 66 to win the British, 67 to capture the Mizuno Classic, and was the low woman in the final round of the ADT Championship playoffs. And she's only 20.
 


 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Eduardo Romero won the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic. ... Steve Alker captured the Nationwide Tour's New Zealand PGA. ...Thirty-seven spouses and significant others of Tour pros played a nine-hole, four-woman scramble in the PGA Tour Wives Classic.
 
Backspin In doing so, Romero kept Mark O'Meara winless on the senior circuit. ... Alker, a native Kiwi, shot 67-67 over the weekend for the win. ... The ladies raised over $100,000 for charity, while the men had to wear pink-trimmed caddie bibs.
 

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  • Full Coverage 'Honda Classic
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