On the TUNNEYSIDE of Sports June 30, 2014 # 495 Up next…”A victim or…”
After further review…Martin Kaymer, age 29, born in Dusseldorf, Germany, standing 1.84m and weighing 74 Kg, won the 114th U.S. Open played at Pinehurst 2. Kaymer set the 36-hole record at 130 on his way to shooting a 271 for an eight-shot victory. He is the first continental European golfer to win the U.S. Open as his first major title, on only his second attempt.
Pinehurst 2 was a worthy test and made ‘victims’ of most of the professionals who played. While some might have complained about the restored course with its wire grass and native (sandhill) areas, it was Kaymer who executed great course management. “We should celebrate what Martin Kaymer did this week” said Mark Davis, USGA Executive Director, who walked the final eighteen with the champion.
One of the ‘victims’ of this course was Erik Compton, who finished in a second-place tie at -1 with Rickie Fowler. Compton, currently ranked 43rd among professional golfers has a well- chronicled story of parallel lives. First is the realization of his childhood dream to become a professional golfer. Second is his life as a two-time heart transplant recipient. Yes, you read correctly! Compton, 34, from Miami, Florida, had his first heart transplant at age 12 in 1992 due to cardiomyopathy, and yet another in 2008. If you’re keeping score at home, this is his third heart!
Compton, who won $789,330 for his second-place tie at the Open didn’t take his winnings and go on a cruise. Nope, he showed up at Hartford (CT.) Hospital to visit other transplant patients with words of encouragement. (As startling as it may seem, there were 861 double heart transplants performed between 2002 and 2011). Although photographers followed him to the hospital for picture-ops, Compton avoided them with practiced skill.
He said he preferred private time with patients as he did visiting Shawn Fullard who was about to undergo her second heart transplant. He told her that his weight had dropped to 129 pounds following his own second procedure. He assured her that the weight will come back and said: “Stay strong”. And oh yes, he left her with his autographed golf glove!
Compton’s father once told Erik after the second heart transplant, “You can either consider yourself a ‘victim’ or ‘lucky’”.
Will you face your challenges without considering yourself a victim?
Jim’s new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” is available here.