It takes heart to be successful in professional golf and Erik Harald Compton has had three of them.
Born in Miami, Florida on November 11, 1979, Erik was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, an inflamed heart muscle that does not pump adequately, and underwent a heart transplant at the age of 12, the same year that he took up golf. Six years later, he was the #1 junior golfer in the United States and 1998 AJGA Rolex Player of the Year. He accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Georgia and played in the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup in 2001 before turning pro later that year.
The 5’8”, 150 pound Compton played on the Nationwide Tour in 2002 and joined the Canadian Tour in 2003. He had his best season in 2004, winning twice and dominating the Canadian Tour in route to winning the Order of Merit as leading money winner. He won the Hassan II Golf Trophy of Morocco in 2005.
Mr. Compton suffered a heart attack in October of 2007 and drove himself to the hospital, where his life was saved. He underwent a second heart transplant in May of 2008 and qualified for the U.S. Open just two years later. In 2011, he won the Mexico Open and played in 26 PGA Tour events in 2012, making the cut 16 times. He tied for 4th place at the 2013 Honda Classic and tied for 2nd place at the 2014 U.S. Open, which automatically qualified him for this year’s Masters [51st place] and U.S. Open.
Erik Compton received the Babe Didrickson Zahairas Courage Award in 2012 and PGA Tour Courage Award in 2013.
He has played in 19 events so far in the 2015 season, making 13 cuts. He led the Zurich Open in New Orleans during the third round this past April and finished T12, his best showing so far this year. He failed to make the cut at last weekend’s U.S. Open and is currently ranked #120 in the world.