Friday, November 7, 2008

Miracles in the Children's Miracle Network Classic

It was appropriate that the field of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the final event on the PGA Tour schedule would include Erik Compton. No one personifies what kind of miracles can happen better than he.

As a teenager Compton required a heart transplant. He made it through and became one of the top junior golfers in the country. After a full and successful collegiate golf career, he followed his dream of becoming a professional golfer.

Like most pros, Compton started on the mini-tour circuit playing where and when he could. He was learning his trade and eventually made it to the Nationwide Tour. During a week off this past summer, he felt something wrong in his chest. Fortunately, he lives a short drive from his hospital in Miami. He drove himself to the hospital.

By the time he arrived, he knew something was really wrong and he was right. He was suffering a heart attack. It was quickly surmised that he needed another heart transplant. There was no choice. He successfully survived the procedure yet again. It happens, but usually the recipient walks on egg shells for the rest of his/her life. Erik Compton is hardly usual.

Six months later, he was healthy enough to accept a sponsor’s exemption into the classic. It was a different Compton this time around. When he was a kid, he was reluctant to speak about having had a heart transplant. He wanted to just be thought of as another golfer. He didn’t realize that he’d never be “just another golfer.”

Today, he’s a proud spokesman for organ donations and transplants. Thanks in part to the steadfastness of Casey Martin years ago when he took the PGA Tour to court for the right to ride a golf cart in tournament play, Compton just might yet realize his dream of playing golf at the highest level.

I think the only person who cares if he realizes his dream is Compton himself. Sometimes the glory is in the journey and not the destination. His effort and persistence is inspiring.


The PGA Tour has come up with yet another format for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The new plan calls for the season-long points will be reset and the top 125 point earners will play in the first event. That number is down from 144. The next week the top 90 players will be in the field—down from 120.

The third event will feature the remaining to 60 points down from 70. In the Tour Championship finale, the field will be cut to 30 again, but the points will be reset so everyone will have a chance to win. So, in other words, the first three weeks of the playoffs the strategy will be to play to not be eliminated. This could cause some very boring, close to the vest golf.

Even if it does, this seems to make more sense than anything else they’ve tried.


If Erik Compton hadn’t been in the field of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the story would have been the play of Jeff Overton. Less than a month ago, Overton underwent an emergency appendectomy and a week and a half later was back on Tour. Such is the life of a PGA Tour player who is on the top 125 money list bubble.

Granted the surgical procedure is a lot less invasive that it once was, but a week and a half? Also, there was one other issue. Because of drug testing, most pain killers are on the banned list, so Overton had to go cold turkey. Finally, he applied with the Tour for a waiver so he could take Percocet. Two days later the Tour granted the waiver. Little did they know that Overton had rolled the dice and took a chance that this wasn’t his week to be tested. As it turned out, he was right.

What this points out is the silliness of drug testing parameters. It wasn’t as if Overton was faking a problem. He had the surgery and I would imagine he was in pain. It should have been an automatic waiver from day one. Kudos for granting the waiver citing that they put a player’s health needs first. Just wondering why it was an issue in the first place.


Rumors that the Sergio Garcia, Morgan – Leigh Norman romance had landed in Splitsville were premature. She accompanied the Spaniard to China for the HSBC Championship. You don’t think she’s giving him putting lessons, do you? His turnaround with the flat stick has been amazing. I wonder that if this relationship continues to develop, Morgan – Leigh’s Dad Greg will insist the Sergio start playing MacGregor equipment?
Bartender, a magnum of your finest champagne, please, Let us raise a glass to Erik and Jeff for two very gutsy performances.

See you on the first tee,


No comments: