All About Heart

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
MIAMI ' Dressed in a faded orange shirt, blue sweat pants and sneakers, 28-year-old Erik Compton looks like just another pro golfer hoping to get back on the PGA Tour.
 
He launches ball after ball on the driving range, sending them more than 250 yards, though not his usual 300 yards, through the humid air toward Miami International Airport across the street.
 
Finally his workout ends and Compton changes his shirt, revealing the scar. It runs down his chest and hints at what sets the golfer apart: Barely five months ago, he was on an operating table for the second time in his life without a heart.
 
Erik Compton
Erik Compton, shown here in 2007, is trying to play his way back onto the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)
Ive been dead, Compton said. Twice.
 
Now the PGA Tour has granted him special permission to use a golf cart and to continue taking banned anti-rejection pills, and the former No. 1-ranked junior golfer and two-time heart transplant recipient has a chance to add another twist to his incredible story.
 
Compton was diagnosed at age 9 with cardiomyopathy, an enlarging of the heart that hinders its ability to pump blood. Three years later in 1992, he received a new heart at Miamis acclaimed Jackson Memorial Hospital.
 
The Comptons home in south Miami was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew that August, forcing the family to move about 10 miles north near the golf suburb of Doral. Compton didnt have the stamina ' or the frame ' for sports like football and basketball. Living in the golf paradise of South Florida, it was only natural he tee it up.
 
Honestly, I didnt think much of him then, said Charles DeLucca, Comptons mentor and the president of the Dade Amateur Golf Association. He needed a hand cart because of his condition. He was like every other kid, only not as healthy. But I quickly found out he was special.
 
Hes very confident, very strong, very driven. Thats why he heals. Thats why he gets better. He just thinks he can do it all. He thinks he can out hit you. He thinks he can out putt you. Its his whole life, it isnt just golf.
 
Unaware of the severity of the heart attack he was suffering Oct. 3, 2007, Compton frantically drove himself from the golf course to the same hospital where he received his first transplant at age 12. His heart was running at 15 percent capacity, his car was going full throttle and he was calling everybody he could to tell them he loved them and to say goodbye.
 
I thought it was over, he said.
 
He ran a toll on the Dolphin Expressway ' receiving a ticket in the mail a week later ' and somehow made it to the hospital alive. Doctors were able to keep him stabilized, but his condition worsened. In the following months, it became obvious he would need another heart.
 
He was pretty much resigned to thinking golf was over, renowned golf instructor and friend Jim McLean said. He was just hoping to survive.
 
Fortunate to find another donor, Compton underwent a 14-hour operation May 20. At the time, he didnt know his wife, Barbara, was pregnant. With all the medication he has taken in his life, he didnt even know he could still father a child.
 
Eriks whole life is a miracle, his mother, Eli Compton, said. The things he has done defy common logic.
 
Compton was a top-ranked amateur and a two-time All-American at Georgia before he turned professional in 2001, playing mostly on the Nationwide Tour but also qualifying for a few PGA Tour events. McLean, a longtime professional instructor who has mentored dozens of PGA Tour members, called Comptons swing one of the best Ive ever seen in my life.
 
Compton was on the putting green a month after receiving his latest heart and began playing at full speed in August. Hes put on 20 pounds since being a shriveled, pale hospital patient, and hes again hitting the ball with pace.
 
But I dont know if he could walk five rounds without collapsing right now, DeLucca said.
 
On his doctors advice, Compton petitioned the PGA Tour and was granted special permission earlier this month to use a golf cart like Casey Martin, who first took a similar fight in 2001 to the Supreme Court.
 
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined to say how the medical review panel reached its decision, but its hard to argue with a guy whos had three hearts. The tour will continue to evaluate Compton, who hopes to play without a cart when he has rehabilitated.
 
Compton has registered to play in the first stage of the PGA Tours qualifying school Oct. 21-24 at Crandon Golf Club on Key Biscayne, which happens to be his favorite course.
 
Compton has plenty more to look forward to than golf. His wife is due to give birth to a girl on Feb. 26, a date that has special meaning.
 
Its 17 years to the day he had his first heart transplant, given to him by a young girl who died in a car accident in west Florida. Compton did not want to disclose the name of the girl, but he often writes letters thanking the families of those whose two hearts gave him life.
 
His struggle to stay healthy may have no end. The average life of a transplanted heart is 11 years, meaning he could have such problems again.
 
Still, Compton views his condition as a blessing not a curse.
 
Somebody that walks around with no perspective on life, not enjoying life, now thats a tragedy, he said. If you had everything you wanted, if everything was perfect, could you imagine how boring that would be?
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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”