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The Challengers Erik Compton

  • On screen text: Charles Schwab Presents

    Erik Compton: I’m just a good athlete that had a transplant. I mean, just think if my surgeon had made a bogey during his procedure with me, I wouldn’t be alive.

    On screen text: The Challengers
    A series about people who QUESTION. ENGAGE. SUCCEED
    Erik Compton

    Erik Compton: I was a very athletic, strong kid. As a matter of fact, I would run around with my shirt off all the time, and I had pectoral muscles and abs, and you could see my heart beating, and so my parents thought I was just in good shape. And that’s when I went in for a physical, and then within three months, they told me, "You’re going to need a heart transplant to have any kind of normal life."

    Javier Jimenez: My name is Javier Jimenez, and I’m a heart failure and transplant cardiologist. Well, if you think an athlete has to follow special exercises and diets and everything else to become the best they can be, multiply that by 10. A person with a heart transplant has a lot to work for. He’s the only one that I know that has been able to achieve their professional career in sports.

    So, Eric perhaps has two identities: the identity as a heart transplant patient and the identity as a professional golf player. He rather be remembered as a professional golf player because he lives a normal life and that’s what makes him a success story; which makes him an example for other patients.

    Erik Compton: I know how people see me. They see me as the heart guy. I can’t change that. I’m very comfortable in my skin. I mean, I may have a different situation than everybody else, but why can’t I win a PGA Tour event or a Major? I don’t see any reason why not.

    On screen text: Why can’t I win a PGA TOUR event or a Major?

    Erik Compton: Yeah. My first true love was baseball. I wanted to be a professional baseball player and things changed for me at a young age. When I got diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, baseball was put on a stop real fast. I had great hand and eye coordination, but my body wasn’t working. And once I got the new heart, it was a lot of other obstacles with the medications and things, and so I didn’t grow. I was quite small compared to the other kids and couldn’t be around kids for the infection, so I would just go play nine holes and walk.

    Golf was something that I could do on my own. It wasn’t overnight. It took a lot of time, but I buried myself and I’d play every day, and I developed a really good short game because I didn’t have the power.

    On screen text: I developed a really good short game.

    Erik Compton: So, the game was kind of started backwards for me. When I went to college on a scholarship at University of Georgia, I weighed 120 pounds. I was pretty scrawny. But I had a hell of a short game. And so that kind of stuck with me even now later on in my career, is just the ability to get the ball in the hole.

    I just try to live my life the best that I can, and I understand the responsibility that I have as a transplant recipient. Two people have lost their lives so that I could be here, and I live with that, and I put my head down every night with that and I’m so grateful, and it’s something that’s dear to me. It’s a very serious thing. But in my soul, feel that the donors that I have will want me to lead a normal life and have fun and get mad and celebrate, have a family, and do all of the normal things that we all do. That was why I went through all this. I didn’t go through all of it to think about it all the time, but it is with me, and I’m so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to live a life and play on the Tour and hit amazing shots because other people have been a part of my life and saved my life.

    But now as we get older, we have kids and we have family, and to see the kids growing up and they have their goals and their dreams and ambitions. My kids don’t see me as the transplant golfer. They just, "Yeah, dad, whatever." So the fun thing is to spend time with my daughter.

    Petra Compton: You’re just such a show-off.

    Erik Compton: Living here in South Florida and being from Norway, in the summertime, we spend a lot of time fishing. And to me, fishing is therapy. And so to be able to share time with the kids and to be able to do something that we love together is the same thing that my dad and I shared; him walking the fairways with me.

    But my age, I’m 43. I feel so good and comfortable in my skin to know that I have golf in front of me. If I’m healthy, I can get to the Senior Tour. If not, there’s other avenues that I can do to make a difference in this world, and I’m not stressed about it.

    On screen text: Erik has 7 professional tournament victories
    He has made over 230 professional cuts
    He was runner up in the 2014 US Open
    And he’s still panning to win on tour.

    On screen text: ASK QUESTIONS. BE ENGAGED.
    [Charles Schwab logo] Own your tomorrow

    Erik Compton: I feel, more than any other golfer, I cannot play for a year and then walk into the arena and compete at a high level because that’s what I’ve done my whole life. That’s who I am.

    Onscreen text: [Charles Schwab logo] [PGA Tour logo] The Official Investment Firm
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    Onscreen text:
    Petra Compton
    Craig Corcoran, PGA
    Dr. Lloyd Wruble

Why can’t I win a PGA TOUR event or a Major?

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