There have been many golfers who have played on the PGA Tour who have had to overcome adversity to succeed at the highest level. But none in my opinion can come close to what Erik Compton has had to contend with!
Erik is literally on his third heart as he has undergone two heart transplants. In 1992 at the age of twelve and suffering viral cardio-myopathy he underwent his first heart transplant. As part of his rehabilitation he took up the game of golf.
He suffered a heart attack in 2007 and soon after had his second transplant in 2008.
The most amazing thing though is five months after the operation he was invited to play in the Children Miracle Network Hospital tournament on the PGA Tour and he made the cut finishing tied for 60th position.
Erik holds dual citizenship as his father is American and his mother is Norwegian. Six years after taking the game up Erik was the #1 ranked junior in the USA and won the 1998 Player of the Year in the American Junior Golf Association Rolex awards.
As one of the top juniors in the USA he received a golf scholarship with the University of Georgia where on two occasions he made the NCAA All-American Team.
This resulted in Erik being selected and playing for the 2001 US Walker Cup Team against the Great Britain and Ireland team, also made the Palmer Cup team the same year.
In 2001 he made the decision to turn professional and played the odd mini tour event, the Canadian Tour and had his rookie season on the Web.Com Tour in 2002.
In 2003 he won his first pro event on the Canadian Tour (Michelin Guadalajara Classic) and the next year followed it up with two more victories (E-Loan Central Valley Classic and MTS Classic). These two wins plus other high finishes
enabled him to win the Canadian Order of Merit in 2004.
Erik had playing privileges on the Web.Com Tour in 2005 and 2006 playing 19 and 21 tournaments respectively in those two years finishing 72nd and 88th on the money list.
In 2005 got an invite to play in the King Hassan Trophy in Morocco and won it plus a cheque of US$200,000.00.
The Golf Writers of America during the Masters week present the prestigious Ben Hogan Award and Erik was the worthy recipient of that award in 2009. It is to acknowledge a golfer who has stayed active despite a physical handicap.
I was fortunate to be at the 2010 US Open with one of my players (Michael Sim) which was played at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and met Erik through his coach Jim McLean, and he came over as a regular guy excited to be playing his National Open at a course so rich in history.
He played behind us in the practice round and for a guy 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing in at 150 lbs he is long off the tee averaging 297.2 yards with the driver. This ranks him in 33rd place on the PGA Tour driving distance statistic.
Getting back his full playing card on the Web.Com in 2011, Erik started the season with a 4th position in Panama.
He built on that good start and when he won the Mexican Open by two shots he was on his way to secure a card to play on the PGA Tour for 2012. He finally finished in 13thplace.
Playing in twenty six tournaments and making the cut in sixteen this year he has earned US$359,765.00 and position 165. This means that he has to go back to Tour School and earn back his playing privileges for 2013.
Married to wife Barbara they have a two year old daughter Petra. During any tournament week Erik can be found volunteering his time promoting organ donation and transplant awareness to the public.
He also spends his spare time visiting hospitals meeting transplant patients and their families giving them hope of a better life.
This week Erik is competing at the toughest week in tournament golf.
It’s final stage PGA Tour School where 172 professional golfers play six rounds of golf to win their job back otherwise its back down to the lower tier tours for 2013.
He has started well with a five under 67 in the opening round and we wish him all the best. He is an outstanding example of not giving up, not making excuses, and playing with all your heart!
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
Your Success On Tour Is Our Business