Erik Compton is a 34-year-old professional golfer who participated in this past weekend's 2014 US Open. He was the underdog that everyone was rooting for, because his story seems almost impossible.
Compton finished the US Open tied for second place with Rickie Fowler, at one under par. But, not too long ago, Compton wasn't sure that he'd ever be on a golf course again. He has undergone two heart transplants in the last 25 years.
At the age of 9, when Compton was loving sports like baseball, basketball and football, he was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy. This is a condition in which the heart's muscles are not able to pump effectively because they are inflamed. He was put on the donor's list and received his new heart from 14-year-old Janine. This heart served him well for 16 years.
In 2007, Compton suffered a major heart attack. He thought he was dying. He needed a new heart; this time he received one from 26-year-old Isaac.
While he might not have won the US Open this year, it was clear fans were rooting for him, as they yelled words or encouragement and praise throughout the weekend. Fellow player, Henrik Stenson, says the encouragement gave him goosebumps.
“I’ve never had that feeling because I’ve always felt I was the underdog,” Compton said. “There’s always better players and better stories.”
This was only Compton's second appearance in a major championship and, he says, it's about a lot more than just talent.
“You realize when you play in majors it’s not about your swing; it’s about what you’ve got inside, your guts,” Compton said. “It’s the person that makes somebody special on the golf course.”
However, Compton adds that this experiencing has been so enriching, that he could stop playing golf right now.
“I don’t have anything to really prove to anybody anymore,” Compton said. “If I never played golf again for the rest of my life, I think that I have made my mark in this game.”