Two time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton has been awarded the first PGA Tour Courage Award. The award is for players who have overcome extraordinary adversity to make meaningful contributions to golf.
It would be difficult to find a better candidate for the award than Compton. At age 9 he was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy and had his first heart transplant three years later in 1992. In 2008 he suffered a heart attack and required a second transplant. Despite the adversity Compton still managed to make it to the PGA Tour, and this year made it through two FedEx Cup playoff events.
“Through the help of family, doctors and friends, I have gone from being someone lying on his back in recovery to someone walking the fairways of the PGA Tour,” Compton said. “Not only has playing on tour been a dream of mine, but it has also served greatly in the healing process. It has given me something to work toward, but also something to hope for. I’m incredibly grateful for this award and blessed to have the opportunity to be playing on the PGA Tour.”
The award includes a $25,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice. Compton said the money would be split between the Cardiovascular Institute of Miami and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said “Erik’s story is a remarkable one in the fact he has overcome extraordinary odds to not only survive, but thrive.”