Blog Entry

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

Posted on: June 7, 2010 10:34 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2010 10:39 pm

Erik Compton just pulled off his biggest miracle yet.

A day after he struggled with fatigue so badly that he seriously considered blowing off the U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday, the double heart transplant recipient not only made it through 36 holes, he survived a playoff and claimed a spot in the field next week at Pebble Beach, too.

Compton, a former college star who received a second heart transplant two years ago and has been battling to find a foothold in the professional game ever since, shot rounds of 69 and 66 at the Springfield, Ohio, qualifier on Monday and then survived a three-player, three-hole playoff to gain one of the final two spots out of that qualifier.

A day earlier, after shooting 82 in the final round at the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, he was so dejected and physically fried, he was grumbling about skipping the qualifier altogether and wondering if, given his medical situation, he was ever going to climb the mountain.

"I can’t keep doing this," he said.

Compton has made four cuts in as many attempts on the PGA Tour this year, but keeps running out of gas on the weekend because of his condition. He had a similar conversation with his father, Peter, in Miami on Sunday night, and it was unfathomable that Compton managed to rally and last 39 holes under the gun.

"I don’t know how he did it," Peter Compton said Monday night. "He was saying how at the end of the day it catches up to him. He said, 'I'll play, but it'll be a miracle if I get through.'"

Nice choice of words.

Reached late Monday night, Compton struggled to find the sentences to describe the feeling. He has never played in a major championship. Meanwhile, many of his old college friends are succeeding on the pro tours.

"Obviously, for me, I have done some interesting things in my career," he said, in quite an understatement. "But for me, this was by far the most emotional."

Compton, 30, said he had a horrid night's sleep and woke up at 4 a.m.

"I was beat," said Compton, who is married with a young child. "I mustered it up somehow. I popped a lot of pain pills this morning and found a way."

Despite six three-putts over his first 36 holes, Compton hung on and got to place a well-received phone call to his parents, who thought they might lose their son when he had a massive heart attack in 2007 as his first donor heart began to fail.

"I heard the phone ring and my wife screaming, and I knew either it was a very happy thing or a very bad thing," Peter Compton said.

For the Compton clan, after all they have endured, they were due for more of the former.

Category: Golf
Tags: erik compton

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2010 10:23 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

Now that Dennis Quiad is a little too old for the part, how about Matthew McConaughey for the movie.

Since: Jun 9, 2010
Posted on: June 9, 2010 2:03 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

Dear Erick:
   I admire your tenacity and perseverance!!!  A touring professional golfer in my 20s, I'm now over 50 and was planning an attempt to qualify for the European Senior PGA Tour until an inoperable congenital hole was discovered in my heart.  God changes the best plans.  Just know that there are ones who are sending words of encouragement to you.  Many are living their dreams through you.  God bless you!!!   Smile 
Scott Thomas Kingsbury

Since: Jun 8, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 6:34 pm

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

Thank you for your comments. Erik has dealt with being a heart transplant recipient since he was 12 years old. He has been an athete his whole life.The purpose of a transplant is to being able to go back to a normal life. That is the whole miracle of life, organ donation and transplantation. For over 16 years he had his first heart and travelled the world including playing in the Walker Cup. He has no restrictions from his doctors and in fact they encourage him to pursue his goals in golf. He is surrounded by a great family and friends that has supported him in his quest. His wife is supporting his guest and so is the parents. Yes, as a recipient of a second heart he has many medical issues to deal with, but he is a champion and he received the heart of a champion. The family of his donor is also very happy to see his achivements. It you are a parent you would want to let your kid fly and pursue his dreams. That is what he is doing. Golf is a tough way to make a living but this is what he wants and he never puts himself above family. We all want to see him live to old age. He will! The stress is more mental than physical many times. I hope that you will all consider the fact that he is a champion for all people waiting for a life saving transplant. There are more than 100,000 Americans on the list currently and he is an inspiration to all. I hope that you will take the time to sign up to be an organ donor. You can save so many peoples lives.   And if you wonder,- yes I am Erik's mother. Thank you for all your support. We are so grateful that you care.

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2010 3:50 pm

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

This is a great story in many ways, but there is another side to it that I have to question.
39 holes of golf? Is that wise considering his condition? I have a strong and healthy heart (as far as I know), and I could hardly take 39 holes of golf in one day. Is professional golf a good choice for someone with massive heart issues? It is hard to believe. Golf may be his dream, but living is more important than golfing. If he has a wife and child, he should be thinking of them, foremost. If this were my son, I would want to see him live to his 40th birthday more than I would want to see him make it to the pro tour. 
I am not a doctor. If his doctor said it is no unusual stress to his heart, then my concerns are invalid. 
I just find that hard to believe. Physical competition of any sort is generally tough on the heart.

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2010 1:01 pm

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

So why isn't the TODAY show beating down his door to get an interview like they were Tiger.  Where's ESPN, CBS Sports, FOX, and all the rest, I guess Larry King is on his way son, wait for him so you'll be able to tell your inspirational story to all of us.  This is what the world needs to shape up, a story like this goes by the way side because because it's true, good, life learning, and something people can actually take something away from instead of "just don't get caught".  But then again it wouldn't sell newspapers, or pay for TV advertisements, hey wait a minute, maybe on the way to the golf course he can have an affair with a neighbor's wife, nah that wouldn't work, HE'S TOO GOOD TO STOOP THAT LOW.  Congratulations Sir, your an inspiration, live your life and your dream.  Good luck.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2010 9:21 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

We have lived next door to him since before the first transplant.  He and my son took up golf after Erik got sick.  To have seen what this guy has been through and keeps on keepin on is unbelievable.  We have witnessed the day to day struggles of the illness then surgeries and the endless procedures in between.  He is always positive and embracing life.  To hell with Woods, this guy is the stuff legends are made of!!!!    Don't take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here...

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2010 7:21 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

...give it a few days..some dress shirt from the tour will read the thing about "pain pills" a "pee" test, and discover that the pain pills he took ARE  on somebody's "banned" LIST!!

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:34 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

a feel good story (oops)

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2010 2:33 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

what a fell good story i will be sure to watch his results   it a shame that we would have known about this guy if he did drugs, beat his wife or took steroids but thanks for a smile on my face reading about an athlete  off the course.

Since: May 6, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2010 1:49 am

Medical marvel finds place in Pebble field

Dear Lord, I hope he does alright and lives to see a productive life.  If not, my Best Wishes to his family and friends.

What an inspirational young man!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or