Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

June 11, 2014

Compton at US Open after 2nd heart transplant

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — When Erik Compton strolls up to the first tee at Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday, he'll be in some unfamiliar territory.

The only other time he played in one of golf's biggest events was four years ago.

He missed the cut.

But if you're expecting Compton to be overwhelmed by this U.S. Open moment, think again. This guy has faced much more daunting challenges than a major championship — such as undergoing two heart transplants.

"I've been through some tough times," said Compton in what qualifies as a colossal understatement. "I'm just happy to be our here playing and feeling strong."

Compton is the only golfer at Pinehurst on heart No. 3, which gives him a unique perspective.

"There's something to be said for going through what I've gone through," he said. "When you step on the tee, you're not intimidated by other people, you're not intimidated by the situation."

Diagnosed with heart disease as a child, Compton received his first transplant at age 12. Sixteen years later, he suffered a major heart attack but managed to drive himself to the hospital quickly enough to extend his life with another transplant.

Now 34, he has qualified for his second U.S. Open, giving him a chance to promote a cause that is certainly dear to him — organ donation — while inspiring others to keep pursuing their dreams even when life deals them a cruel hand.

"Most people don't survive a widow-maker heart attack," Compton said, referring to the ominous nickname for the condition that nearly claimed his life in 2008.

Yet there he was on Tuesday, playing a practice round with good friend Ernie Els and two other major champions from South Africa, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. As the group walked away from the 18th tee, someone shouted out, "Go Dawgs!" — a reference to Compton's college days at the University of Georgia.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Downey, Keagan mug Sixers begin state tourney play today The Kokomo Post 6 baseball squad heads to the American Legion state tournament at Plymouth today brimming with confidence. That’s good and bad.“I believe every time we step on the field our kids believe they are the team to beat,” said Kokomo skipper

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Tuesday, July 29 Northwestern sets 1st practice timesNorthwestern has announced its first practice times and dates for high school and middle school sports. All athletes must have a valid 2014-15 physical on file in the athletic office to participate. The times and d

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - KT072914 Colts-pic QB Luck making progress ANDERSON — Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University.During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.The Indianapolis Colts quar

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts part ways with Rainey after violation ANDERSON — Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning.The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later

    July 29, 2014

  • SPL - KT071514 - B1 briefs - mug Athlete of the Week: Tionna Brown ATHLETE OF THE WEEK• NAME: Tionna Brown• SPORT: Track and field• ACCOMPLISHMENTS: The Kokomo seventh grader won three events at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic national meet in Humble, Texas, in her first appearance at a national meet. Brown w

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brown wins 3rd title at nationals HUMBLE, Texas — Kokomo middle schooler Tionna Brown surged to first in the 100 meter dash at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic national meet Sunday, capping the weekend with her third championship.Competing in the girls 11-12-year-old division,

    July 28, 2014

  • SPL - KT072614 - Dana Neer column - column sig NEER: Starting and sustaining your workouts Here we go again, hoping to start your workout plan again on Monday. This time your plan is to make it stick, keep with it, follow through. Hopefully it will work.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing-3 [Duplicate] It's 'Jeff Gordon Day' at IMS for record 5th time INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago. Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon's Achilles heel — to pass Hen

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • fishing clinic 02 (secondary pic) Kids fishing clinic is a blast for all The seasons come and go, but the excitement, challenge, allure and joy remain the same — off the chart. There are memorable moments, then there are occasions and special events that become tattoos for life.Still, joy is where you find it, and Saturda

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT072214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Sunday, July 27 Brown takes 2 titles at junior nationalsHUMBLE, Texas — Kokomo middle schooler Tionna Brown won two championships Saturday at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic national meet. She won the 200 dash and the long jump.Brown avenged an earlier loss

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.