by Jeff Skinner
It’s a busy week on all golfing fronts this week. Freddy Couples is hosting the old guys at the U.S. Senior Championship in his hometown of Seattle. The women are trying their hand at links golf at The Ricoh Women’s British Open over the links of Royal Birkdale in England and the European Tour is playing this week in Ireland. The PGA Tour is breaking new ground at The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia and it’s an historic week already.
You won’t see Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson at The Greenbrier but the field doesn’t lack for heroes. In fact one of the co-leaders is the biggest hero on any golf tour this year. Erik Compton has a share of the lead after shooting a personal best 63. Compton is the double heart transplant recipient that has been trying to make it on the PGA Tour. This year he has played in six PGA Tournaments with his best finish a tie for thirtieth at The Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Compton has been getting by on sponsor’s exemptions and he qualified for the U.S. Open. With only $65,785 in earnings it hasn’t been an easy year. But that hasn’t deterred Compton. He realizes that each day is precious and not just on the golf course. When you have a health history like Compton has you learn to appreciate life a little differently from most. He knows he is a walking advertisement for organ donation and he’ll always be known for his heart issues but he tries to carry on a normal life.
How normal can a man with three different hearts be? Pretty normal. He spent last week home with his wife and daughter fixing up his yard at his new house. He takes plenty of medication each day and works out to stay in shape and build his stamina. When he plays he gets a little tired after a few days of play but has been able to pace himself over four rounds of play.
For each golfer on tour there is a story. Many have interesting and compelling stories. None of them can match Erik Compton and his road to the tour. To be where he is now after living what he has been through is a miracle. It’s a testament to modern medicine and a victory of the human spirit, his human spirit.
In a sports landscape that is populated with selfish, greedy, obnoxious, self-promoting fools Erik Compton is a man by himself. Looking for a good guy with a great story that isn’t one of the “me first generation”? Take a look at Erik Compton. He’s more than a golfer, he’s a hero.