Compton's story captivated Pinehurst
Posted June 16, 2014
Years from now, when we look back at the 2014 U.S. Open, we'll likely remember it as the year Martin Kaymer blew the doors off the rest of the field - and rightly so. But for a few moments in the final round, this was Erik Compton's Open.
"On every hole, from the tee box to the putting green, people were cheering for me," Compton said. "I definitely felt the love and the support from the crowd."
It's easy to root for someone like Erik Compton. Twice a recipient of heart transplants, Compton is lucky to be alive - let alone finish tied for second in a U.S. Open. Few of us can relate to his story, but we can all appreciate it.
"I've been on my back twice and I never thought I would ever leave the house," he said after finishing his unlikely run. "Now I just finished second at the U.S. Open, which is -- I don't think anybody would have ever thought I would do that, not even myself. So you can't ever write yourself off, you just can't give up."
It's the kind of inspiring, are you really doing enough with your life story we often find in sports. And it compels us to watch. It draws us in to the moment. Sure, Martin Kaymer was running away from the field, but here's a man who had two heart transplants - the first at age 12, and the second not even seven years ago - and he's not only walking, he's playing golf at the highest level.
The loudest roar I heard during Sunday's final round wasn't for Martin Kaymer - his win was a foregone conclusion, after all - it was for Compton. When he sank his final putt on 18, the crowd erupted. I was waiting in the interview area, and we all thought someone had holed out an approach. Instead, it was a thunderous round of appreciation for what Compton has accomplished - in the tournament, and in life itself.
"You can't ever give up," Compton said. "I mean, we all have adversity in our lives, some are different than others. Some are more major. So when you have disabilities or you have health issues, some days are really bad and then you got to try to make the best of it the next day and wake up and move your body. And I'm a perfect example of that."
Yes, he is indeed.