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Erik Compton          

Professional golfer who has undergone two heart transplants

Erik Harald Høie Compton (born November 11, 1979) is a Norwegian-American professional golfer. Compton was born in Miami, Florida to an American father and a Norwegian mother and holds dual citizenship. He attended the University of Georgia and played on the 2001 Palmer Cup and Walker Cup teams.

Erik holds the distinction as being the only professional golfer in the world to compete with a transplanted heart. In 1992, Erik received his first heart transplant at the age of 12 and was forced to give up all contact sports. He learned how to play golf and six years later became the #1 ranked junior golfer in the United States and the 1998 AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year. He accepted a scholarship to play golf for the University of Georgia, where he went on to become a two time All-American.

Erik's success on the course led to him being named to the US Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams in 2001. Since turning professional later that summer, Erik found success at every level of competition. He won twice and finished at the top of the Order of Merit (money list) on the Canadian Tour in 2004. In 2005, Erik won his first major international event, the King Hassan II Trophy in Rabat, Morocco.

In 2007, Erik suffered a major heart attack which eventually led to a second heart transplant in May 2008. Vowing that he was not finished with golf, Erik started his rehabilitation in the middle of the summer and pointed himself to the fall US PGA Tour Qualifying School. He succeeded in making it through the first stage but missed advancing at the second stage by one stroke. He also made the cut in the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Classic in Orlando, a PGA Tour event which took place less than six months following his second heart transplant.

These efforts so impressed the golf world that he received several exemptions to PGA Tour and European Tour events in 2009 where he succeeded in making the cuts. Erik made the cut in Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, the Dubai Desert Classic and the Honda Classic. Following his heroic comeback efforts, Erik received the prestigious 2009 Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America at a presentation during the Masters Tournament. This award is given annually to a golfer who has displayed courage in overcoming a major physical handicap.

During 2010 Erik continued to impress by making the cut in 5 of the 7 PGA Tour events he played in, including the Memorial Tournament and finishing 30th at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill event. His best round of the year was a 63 at the Greenbrier Classic where he held the first round lead. Other 2010 highlights included qualifying for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and making it through the final stage of the 2010 PGA Qualifying school thus earning status on the Nationwide Tour.

The 2011 season has been the most successful to date for Erik as he has enjoyed three top-5 finishes including a win in the Mexican Open in June. He has assured himself a spot in the Top 25 on the Money List which will guarantee him a spot on the PGA Tour for the 2012 season. In addition, Erik has made the cut in 5 of the 6 PGA Tour events he competed in this year. His final round 64 at the Los Angeles Open was the low round of the tournament.

Erik married Barbara Casco in August of 2008 and they are now the proud parents of a daughter, Petra (2 years old).

During any given tournament week, Erik can be found volunteering his time for special events and hospital visitations to meet transplant patients and their families in support of organ donation and transplant awareness.


Pro golfer erik compton plays at sport's highest level with his third heart

Athlete diagnosed with heart inflammation as a child discusses life after transplants, his game.

D'Alessandro: Erik Compton, PGA golfer who has received two heart ...

33-year-old will host Barclays Youth Clinic today for transplant recipients and others awaiting transplants.

PGA star Erik Compton debuting at The Barclays five years after ...

In May 2008, Erik Compton wasn't worried about his putting. His short game was miles from his attention. And his game in the tee box? No longer important.

Erik Compton talks life, his game after two heart transplants - CBS ...

CBS News video: Erik Compton talks life, his game after two heart transplants - Professional golfer Erik Compton is having one of his best years ever, reaching ...

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