Columbus Sports Network | PGA Memorial Tournament | J. Justin Boggs
The road back to the PGA Tour and the 2012 Memorial Tournament has been a long one for Florida native Erik Compton. Compton is participating in his fourth memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village after spending a year in the Nationwide Tour.
Compton’s path has been one of struggle and near death. Compton has battled viral cardiomyopathy which has forced the 32-year-old to have a pair of heart transplants. After facing his first heart transplant at 12, he played part time on the PGA starting in 2000. He stopped playing contact sports at 12 and focused on playing golf.
From 2000-11, Compton participated in a total of 30 PGA Tour events.
In 2007, Compton suffered a massive heart attack leaving him in need of a second transplant. In May, 2008, Compton got his second transplant. Less than six months later, he made his first PGA start in the Children’s Miracle Network Invitational with a 72-hole score of 6-under.
Last year, he spent most of his season playing on the Nationwide Tour. His win in the Mexico Open bolstered him to 13th on the Nationwide Tour money list giving him a promotion at the end of the year.
“Every year, it gets harder and harder,” Compton said about getting a promotion through the Nationwide Tour. “There are a lot of young guys coming out who grew up with the game. So many good players, you’re just blessed to get through it.”
Compton is participating in his 15th event of the season at the Memorial. He said the Memorial is special to him as his donor family lives in Ohio.
Compton uses his position in the PGA going from event to event spreading the word of organ donations and spending time visiting children in hospitals. Before Wednesday’s practice round, Compton spent several hours in Columbus’ Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“When I was in the hospital as a kid, to be able to talk to someone who was older or a doctor who went through something similar… I think it is important for their healing process,” Compton said. “To know there is life outside the ER, the hospital, the waiting rooms, sometimes those places can be kind of crazy.”