Compton’s major debut

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Compton’s major debut

Erik Compton

Photo by: Scott Michaux

Erik Compton (M ’02) missed the cut in the 2010 U.S. Open golf championship at Pebble Beach. But then, it was a miracle that he was there to play at all.

Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, played his way into the June major just two years after receiving his third heart. Compton shot a 77 in his first round at Pebble Beach and followed that with an 81 the second day, to end at 16 over par. Though he was disappointed in his play, he was grateful to be in the tournament.

“What I did on the course has nothing to do with my present physical well-being. I feel like I could go another 18 right now,” Compton said in a media conference following the second round.

“So, hopefully, there will be some more opportunities for me, maybe not back here at Pebble Beach at the U.S. Open, but maybe next year at a different Open.”

Diagnosed at age 9 with cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to enlarge and beat irregularly, Compton had his first transplant at age 12. He learned to play golf as he was recovering from that operation.

He attended UGA on a golf scholarship and was a red shirt member of the 1999 team that won the national title. The next two years he was named All-Conference and All-American. He turned pro in 2001. After a heart attack in 2007, doctors discovered his left main coronary artery was failing. He had his second heart transplant in 2008.

He qualified for the U.S. Open through a sectional tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Joining him in Pebble Beach were his wife Barbara and daughter Petra, 16 months.