It’s Tee Time!

Sports can thrill and inspire, but of late, sports can be equally frustrating and disgusting. Anymore, it seems you can follow sports stories in the gossip columns and police blotters as much as you can on the sports page.

Nominally, this column is about golf, but it is really about heart.

The US Open begins Thursday at the famed Pebble Beach course in Monterey, California. Being one of four major golf championships, the US Open will feature the best names in golf, Tiger, Phil, Padraig, Miguel and Vijay. Tom Watson will be there. So will Erik Compton.

A dozen golfers will tee off with a realistic expectation of contenting for the championship. Erik Compton is not one of those golfers. Actually, he will be extremely fortunate just to make the cut. He barely even made the field at Pebble Beach, having had to survive a 39 hole qualifier just to make it to his first major championship, but Erik Compton plays with a lot of heart.

In fact, he’s on his third one.

Erik Compton is a thirty year old journeyman golfer from Florida, married, with a 14 month old daughter. He received his first heart transplant when he was twelve, his own heart having failed due to cardiomyopathy. That heart began to fail in 2007 and Erik suffered a heart attack. In 2008, he received yet another heart transplant.

Erik Compton’s playing partners this weekend will include Jannine, the fifteen year old victim of a drunk driver, and Issac, a former student/athlete that fell victim to a hit and run driver.

There will be no storybook ending this weekend. Erik Compton will likely be just one more golfer that tries to follow his dream of winning a US Open championship. Come Sunday afternoon, it will Phil or Tiger or Miguel in the final pairing, pursuing the title and fame and fortune. Erik will probably be watching it on television in his motel room.

Erik Compton’s wife and daughter, along with his parents will join many fans in the gallery, watching him play Pebble Beach.

Also in the gallery, will be the parents of a young man named Issac.

(The thread photo is the Eighteenth hole at Pebble Beach.)

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Life Lessons

6 responses to “It’s Tee Time!

  1. How did Erik Compton do today in the opening round of play?

  2. 6176746f6c6c65

    He was 5 over par last I saw (coverage wasn’t over when 6570 switched to So You Think You Can Dance?) and I didn’t see a number of final scores.

    Mr. Compton’s situation raises an interesting question, IMHO: Should a person who has already received one heart transplant receive another before a second person awaiting such (on the list) receives a first? I don’t have an opinion other than I would be opposed to this if the person who had already received one had engaged in behavior which contributed to the failure (which I understand is not the case with Mr. Compton), then my answer is “no”.

    • Somehow (shrugs shoulders) your comment above landed in the “Pending.” Stuff happens.

      Good question.

      Didn’t Mickey Mantle move higher on the list when he needed a liver transplant? And didn’t his lifestyle cause his need?

      I’m not able to make the judgments necessary.

      • I believe so, fnord. See also David Crosby.

        The issue I raised relates, BTW, to one who has already received one organ transplant then either continues or begins behavior that contributes to the failure of the transplanted organ, not to the David Crosby/Mickey Mantle situation, although I feel similarly in such circumstance.

      • Maybe as was mentioned yesterday someone puts a value on contributions to society, has some guideline… Maybe the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Maybe it comes down to money like so much seems to.

        I see and understand the questions. I have NO answers!

  3. WSClark

    Erik Compton finished the second round at Pebble Beach and missed the cut at +16. The cut was +5.

    The fact that he did not do well does not change the inspiration of his story, but they’ll be no fairing tale ending at the US Open.

    Better luck next time, Erik!