home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN


February 17, 2015


Erik Compton


PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA

DOUG MILNE:  Erik Compton thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the Northern Trust Open.  Tournament hasn't even started and it's already been a busy week for you.  Maybe you can catch us up.  We know you did a PSA thing yesterday.  Talk a little bit about the Transplant Bell and so forth and we'll jump right into some golf.
ERIK COMPTON:  Well, yeah, first of all, the PSA we did in my teaming up with Genentech.  They had their 20th anniversary of basically being involved in the transplant community.
So this week was a great week for us to visit the hospital, Cedars‑Sinai, do the Transplant Bell to signify inspiration, and also be the first one to ring it in the morning.¬† All transplant recipients are welcome to ring that bell at any given time just to hear their accomplishment of being a recipient.
So that was very cool to do that here in L.A.  L.A. is a very beautiful city; here with my wife so we are enjoying that.  Yeah, just furthering our cause to educate organ donation and our cause, and hopefully more people consider becoming organ donors and hearing my story.

Q.  What do you look at when you come into this week as far as your opportunities to get that victory that you're looking for, and your biggest challenge out here.
ERIK COMPTON:¬† Well, I was sitting back there listening to Bill, his interview‑‑ I'm in the press room because of my story.¬† So you know, my golf has been kind of so‑so the last couple weeks.¬† I haven't played great.¬† I haven't been healthy.¬† But I'm really not going to go into that.
This is a great opportunity.¬† This is a great week.¬† Riviera is always‑‑ I remember Monday‑qualifying here a few times, flying over from Miami.¬† I had good memories.¬† I shot 63 here on Sunday one year.¬† Unfortunately no one saw any of my shots because I was teeing off 10 (laughing).
But yeah, I hope to get off to a good start this weekend, and then we're on to the East Coast and play closer to home.¬† It's a long season, and you know, I had a chance to win‑‑ watching Bill here, it's amazing what a career he's already had.¬† I felt that one kind of got away from me.¬† You look at his golf, maybe I should learn a little bit from him, how he kind of just has that knack of winning.¬† Things kind of fell his way.
I'm not really looking at it that way because I know a lot of people want me to win and people put a lot of pressure, added pressure on me to win because it would be a great story.¬† But I've got to really win for myself.¬† With that said, if it happens, it happens.¬† If it doesn't, it doesn't.¬† But I did feel like that was a tournament that got a way from me a few weeks ago, and I've got to learn to be a little bit‑‑ just maybe hide a little bit and just let it happen.

Q.  Hope this isn't a bad question, but where's the bell?
ERIK COMPTON:¬† The bell was at Cedars‑Sinai.¬† It was a gold bell that was engraved with, "Donate Life."¬† It was a very nice ceremony we had, meeting doctors and also other transplant recipients.¬† I gave a little speech, talked about my story and talked about how much transplant has changed over the course of the 25 years, really, because that's where I am at.
Even how much it's changed in the last six months; for me, with just playing and being recognized as a golfer and a personality in the game because of my story.  It's fun to be able to help and give back in that avenue.

Q.  How far in advance do you plan these other events as part of your schedule, and what impact does it have on you each week?  I'm assuming sometimes you go see patients and I'm just wondering how that all works in with the golf you have to play.
ERIK COMPTON:¬† Well, we carefully pick our targets for the areas that we want to market.¬† I think this is a great market here in L.A.¬† I think people are very much involved in sports and the community, and the hospital here, UCLA has one of the No. 1 transplant facilities, Cedars‑Sinai where we were at, has one ever the best doctors in the country that do some of the most transplants.¬† So the PSA that we did shoot was great, because we had other transplant recipients that were there that were athletes.
So when we plan to do that, we do that as a team and try to do four or five of those a year.  Seems like it's been a good fit but I have to pace myself and make sure that I get enough rest and I can focus on both.

Q.  Who do you go see when you make hospital visits?  Are they recipients or waiting or what?
ERIK COMPTON:¬† Well, each venue is different.¬† We've created ‑‑ sometimes we've done clinics with golf, putting them in the hospital like little putting greens.¬† I visited patients, I visited doctors, I visited coordinators.¬† I mean, you name it, we've kind of recreated how we're trying to get the educational awareness of Donate Life.¬† And that's been the fun part about it, because it's not stagnant.¬† I mean, it's always different and always exciting for the team.
And then on top of that, when you play good golf, everybody is involved, so it's really a fun experience.

Q.  What did the U.S. Open do for you, coming off that U.S. Open as it relates to this?  Make life busy?
ERIK COMPTON:  Well, I think it did a lot.  Personally I think it was a tremendous feat for me.  It was a tremendous feat for the transplant community to see that you can live a normal life.  I think we are lucky to have you guys, social media and video and memories that are there for a lifetime.
So we are all unique and special in our own way, and obviously my story has been well documented.  I'm a figure because of what I've been through, and being able to turn it into a positive so that we can help other people; I'm just excited to see what the future is in 20, 30 years from now with the game, and also with transplantation and what we can do to save lives.

Q.  And lastly, do you get any sense at all that when people see you, that they maybe misunderstand that, I bet this guy doesn't care that he lost the lead at the Bob Hope, man, he's just happy to be alive and realize that you're still kind of upset about missing shots every now and then.
ERIK COMPTON:¬† At this point I'm kind of numb to a lot of it.¬† I said in an earlier interview, when I was younger‑‑ confidence is a different thing.¬† I'm numb to everything pretty much.¬† I'm just out here playing golf, and you know, the times when you're home and you're with your friends and your family and people that know me as Erik, know me, you know.
I don't know what people think of me.¬† I don't know what people say.¬† I mean, you can't ‑‑ I'm sure there's people that are inspired by my story, and there may be people who are tired about hearing about my story.
You know, I just try to do the best that I can, and you know, my ultimate goal out here is to win.  The reason that I'm alive is because of somebody else's gift of life to give me life.  There's no denying that.
But I'm also alive because I have tremendous determination.  I'm a tremendous competitor.  I don't lay down for anything.  I want to be as good as I can be.  And you know, the rest is history.  I mean, the most important thing is, you know, your family and your friends and people who support you in what you do.
I think my cause with Donate Life is more important than golf.  It may not be the coolest story.  I'm not the No. 1 player in the world or won ten times, but what we do with saving lives is more important than the game.  And I'm very happy to be involved and partnered with the PGA TOUR because they have allowed me to use this as a great platform to help get the word out.

Q.¬† You said when you came in that you were here because of your story and you kind of mentioned your so‑so results.¬† How much easier is it for you to walk in here when you're playing well?¬† Do you feel any pressure of the better you play, the better you do, the more people you reach, the bigger your story becomes; is that intertwined at all?
ERIK COMPTON:¬† I mean, there's really no pressure on my part.¬† As far as carrying this weight of organ donation, no, there's pressure on myself because I want to compete at a high level.¬† When you play well, more people come in to watch what you're doing because you're playing well.¬† When you're trying to create something with a team that's huge like donate life, it's hard because it's not‑‑ you have to create it.¬† You have to go out and get people involved and want to hear about it.
You know, if I were to go out and win the U.S. Open or win the Masters this year, obviously there are going to be more people interested in the story because everybody loves a winner, right.  Let's not forget that.  Then we have more avenue to spread the word about Donate Life to do that.  But there's two; there's two people, I'm the golfer and I'm also a recipient and trying to juggle that.
Whether I have teamed up with Genentech or anybody; I've been dealing with transplantation and educational awareness and doing this since I was nine years old.  This is who I am.  So if I wasn't playing golf, I would still tell my story and still do it, so it's who I am.  There's no burden or shame there.  I think it's awesome.
Just I'd rather be playing really good golf and sitting here talking about, you know, my next shot, but that's never really going to be the main focus.

Q.¬† What's your history at Augusta?¬† Have you played it yet, practice‑wise, now that you can; do you plan to?¬† Are you on a special diet that you can't go to the Waffle House?¬† I'll take anything you got.
ERIK COMPTON:  I'd certainly eat better than you because I saw what you ate last night because I was sitting right next to Doug.
Yeah, I think I'm really looking forward to playing the Masters.¬† I want to be‑‑ I'm looking forward to being healthy and giving it the best chance that I can.¬† Preparing for the Masters is difficult because I don't really know what‑‑ I'm a first‑time goer going there, and it's hard to go there and play practice rounds because the temperatures are in the 40s and 50s now and it's not going to emulate the conditions that we are playing during April.
Somebody asked me the other day what it means to play in the Masters.  Well, it means a lot, but granted, when I played the U.S. Open, I didn't know I was in The Open until I won in a playoff and I was in late at night.
So again, it's like you're trying to create great moments, and great moments just happen.  So I don't know what the future is at the Masters, but I'm just thrilled that I have the opportunity to play there and I'm thrilled of what has transpired so far in my career so that I have a chance to play there.

Q.  Have you been to the Masters before?
ERIK COMPTON:  Yeah, been there, watched.  I followed Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Sergio Garcia, a couple other players that I knew, Phil Mickelson, when I was in college.

Q.  You mentioned not being healthy.  Is your definition is healthy is different than most people's.  How much of a daily struggle is it, and has that relayed into your golf game?
ERIK COMPTON:  Well, I think I'm no different than anybody else.  I think we all struggle during the course of the year, whether you have the flu or a bad foot or whatnot.
Health‑wise, you try to make the best of the situation and you move forward, but it can be hard when you play through injury because then you develop bad habits.¬† I think I did that after I pressed a little bit and played when I shouldn't have.
And it's hard‑‑ I think for me it's more mentally hard to overcome bad shots because I'm so hard on myself, even when I'm‑‑ and physically, I push myself through just about anything.¬† I'm not a guy that withdraws for no reason.¬† Maybe sometimes I'm guilty of overstepping my boundaries and I need to rest.¬† When you're not 100 percent and you play a course like Torrey Pines, you can hurt yourself for the next week.
So I look forward to this week.  This is a course that I think is fair.  I think the TOUR has set it up fair so it doesn't favor one person or the other.  And there are venues that are like that.  Nobody is denying that Torrey Pines is a bomber's golf course.  I'm not a bomber.  I think this is a great golf course and it's one of the best ones that we play all year.  I think if you ask a hundred TOUR pros, they would all say this is in their top three or four of courses we play all year, so I'm looking forward to it.
DOUG MILNE:  Erik, as always, we appreciate your time.  Best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297