We all know about Martin Kaymer’s historic U.S. Open performance this past weekend, but let’s talk about Erik Compton, who finished the event tied for second with Rickie Fowler.
Compton finished with a 1-under 279 – one of just three golfers to finish the event under par – to automatically qualify for the 2015 Masters. He also won more than $789,000.
Not bad for a guy who has had two heart transplants.
“Last week was an exciting week,” Compton said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Crowds were terrific. Pinehurst is a historic golf course. A lot of great champions have come through there. Kaymer played absolutely unbelievable golf. I tried to give him a run coming up there on Sunday, but it was kind of a tournament race between Rickie (Fowler) and I for second.”
Compton had a shot to close the gap, but he three-putted on No. 7. He birdied several holes after that, but his miscues on No. 7 were too much to overcome.
“I was pretty disappointed because I had some momentum going into the hole, and I hit a great iron shot in there,” Compton said. “And I think it was kind of a fluke thing. It was a foot-and-a-half putt, and it just broke real hard. I don’t know. It just didn’t go in.”
Still, Compton is thrilled to have more opportunities in front of him. Thanks to his performance at the U.S. Open, he moved up more than 100 spots in the world rankings. He’s now in the top 75 and has three top-five finishes this season.
“It’s been a solid year for me,” Compton said.
And did we mention the two heart transplants yet? As a boy, Compton suffered from viral cardiomyopathy. He had his first heart transplant in 1990 and his second in 2008.
“The medications were a lot different back then,” Compton said, reflecting on that 1990 transplant. “I don’t want to say I was experimented on, but my appearance was altered quite a bit. It was tough. (It was) right around (the time) we lost our house in Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
“That’s when I relocated to Doral and learned how to play golf.”
Compton, 34, became the world’s top-ranked junior golfer at 18. He played at the University of Georgia with Bubba Watson.
Several years later, he had a heart attack. Compton was in the ICU for a week and in the hospital recovering for more than a month.
“I dreamed about playing golf again, but it wasn’t something that I thought was really in my future,” Compton said. “When I got the heart, my girlfriend at the time was pregnant. We got married (and) started a whole new life (with) no money.”
The U.S. Open pay day sure helps.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Compton said. “I guess I have to pinch myself because I never dreamed of getting this far.”
Compton, who has lived with other people’s hearts for almost a quarter of a century, knows the family of his most recent heart donor.
“They’re a wonderful family,” he said.