Erik Compton: ‘My Experience Got Me Where I Am’

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PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 14: Erik Compton of the United States hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 14, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Erik Compton (Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images)

Erik Compton is 34 years old and one of the top golfers in the world.

He’s also on his third heart.

Yet, the husband, father and Miami native has always insisted that he wanted to be known for what he did on the golf course – and not for his medical history. After a stellar performance at the U.S. Open – Compton was one of just three golfers to finish under par – it’s safe to assume he’s done just that.

“I’m just taking it all in,” the U.S. Open runner-up said on The John Feinstein Show. “It was such an awesome week. It was a dream come true, and it was a tournament that I felt comfortable with, to be honest. The golf course, the way it was set up, really suited my game. Everything that went around the major – preparing for it, studying the holes, where to hit it, where not to hit it – it was just a lot of fun.”

Compton had a rough go on the final hole but still managed to finish under par. He shot a 1-under 279 for the tournament.

“It was the worst shot that I hit all week,” Compton said. “I thought I could muscle it up toward the edge of the green, so to leave it there in the bunker, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. What have I done?’ I never panicked. I just got in there, took a 9-iron out of the trap and it came out nicely.”

“(My) experience is what got me to where I am today. It has a lot to do with my medical history of never giving up and rising to the challenge.”

Compton, who as a child was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, has had two heart transplants, most recently in 2008. There were times when he thought he would have to step away from the game, but he just took home a nearly $800,000 purse and has already qualified for the 2015 Masters.

Needless to say, Compton enjoys big moments, but he enjoys the small ones, too – and there were many at Pinehurst.

“The feeling that you get when you’re down there in a stadium atmosphere, TV really doesn’t do it justice,” Compton said. “It was like that on every hole. People were standing up out of their chairs and cheering for me and clapping. You think that they’d stop, but they just kept going on as I was walking down the fairway. It’s something that I’ll never ever forget and it’s probably a memory that I’ll carry with me through some dark times that I probably will face in the future. It’s a realistic issue that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of life, but (those cheers are) something that I can close my eyes and – if it’s ever the last minutes of my life – go back to.”

“Every day is a blessing to me,” Compton said. “I try to make the best of every situation that I can. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. So when I have great moments, I kind of blink two or three times to store them in my memory bank. Unfortunately as we get older, we lose some of those memories but that’s all we have. It’s not about how many; it’s about the quality – and I’ve had a quality life and a lot of great memories.”


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