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November 6, 2008

Erik Compton


MARK STEVENS: Erik, a 2-under first round. I think you had three at one point and then a good birdie to finish to cap the round off. If you could, just talk about your day.
ERIK COMPTON: I made a lot of birdies and bogeys. I know I made an eagle on 10. The front nine I just didn't really have it, and I knew I needed to get something going on the back because obviously the scores are pretty low. There's no wind. Greens are perfect. The temperature's perfect. Everything's perfect for good scoring.
And I was able to get some -- get off to a better start on the Back 9 and then kind of threw it away coming in and made birdie on the last hole. So it was kind of an up-and-down day.
MARK STEVENS: What was the feeling like on the first tee?
ERIK COMPTON: You know, I wasn't really -- I was more nervous at Q School than I was here. Obviously 7:55, so nobody's getting up for that tee time. And I don't know, I don't think any of you guys were there as well. (Laughs).
I know I hit a good drive on the first hole and hit a good second shot and two-putted and made a nice par, and then I was just kind of sloppy. My concentration I think was not there today.
MARK STEVENS: Questions?

Q. Would you say you scored as well as you shot or did you leave something out there?
ERIK COMPTON: Well, I made so many putts, so I think it all kind of balanced out. I think, you know, I missed some short ones, but then I made some long ones.
And you know, sometimes you can hit it perfect and hit every green and make zero putts, so today I was a little bit scrambling and made some putts to keep myself in it, and obviously it's going to be a low-scoring tournament, so you have to keep on going low every day.

Q. When you know it's going to be a birdie fest out there in order to contend or win, does it change your approach?
ERIK COMPTON: Well, I mean obviously it's heavier on the putter. You gotta make more putts, but you also have to hit it in there. Today I just didn't hit it close enough, and I made the putts when I did hit the greens.
If you're going to shoot 64 or 63 like guys are going to shoot -- I wouldn't be surprised if there was a 61 today. I really wouldn't -- you gotta birdie all the par-5s and make more opportunities.

Q. Just what was it like for you physically out there? How did you feel? Did you get tired at any point?
ERIK COMPTON: No. I feel great. I wasn't tired. Obviously a little tired because I'm not used to playing golf early in the morning, even though I was the latest of the wave. But no, I felt great. It was a little chilly this morning, but it warmed up.

Q. Can you just talk about any special emotions out there five months after the transplant?
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah, I'd be lying -- really, just a lot of those emotions are always there, but this week I'm here to play a golf tournament. And obviously I'm representing, you know, getting sponsors in, but as soon as I get on the tee, I'm trying to win plays, just like everybody else.
So I'm kind of disappointed with the way I scored today, but I'm still in it, and you know, I think I have just as good of a chance to play well as everybody else, so it's not like I'm just, you know, so happy that I'm going to come out here and shoot 80. (Laughs).

Q. I was going over your bio. What was the date and where was your last transplant? I know the first one was February 26th of '92.

Q. Where abouts?
ERIK COMPTON: You didn't do your homework, huh? Same place, yeah.

Q. Erik, you have second stage next week. Correct?

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that? Are you familiar with the golf course, what your expectations are, your preparations, that sort of thing?
ERIK COMPTON: Just to get rest, after this week. I don't know much about the golf course. I heard it's pretty long, which is good, and you can drive it all over the place, which is pretty good for me.

Q. Erik, obviously you're representing -- a lot of people are looking up to you as an inspirational story. Can you just talk about the Foundation and what maybe your story can do for other transplant patients?
ERIK COMPTON: I mean I think it gives a lot of hope. Like I said, I've been getting a lot of emails from people that have similar stories to me, going in for a second transplant after 15 to 20 years.
I've called a couple. I haven't gotten through to all of them, but I think it gives them a sense of hope, and you know, gives all of us hope.

Q. You've had some sort of communication, I guess through an intermediary, with the volleyball player's family?
ERIK COMPTON: Yes. We've had a little bit of contact. I wrote a letter after the transplant, and you know, I think the right timing would be better. I'd rather actually wait and meet them, you know, under a better circumstance instead of writing letters, because I think it doesn't really explain the emotion.

Q. Probably when a little more time has passed than five months too; right? They're still probably grieving to some degree.
ERIK COMPTON: And I'm sure they're watching, and they know that I'm doing my best to honor that person and to play. And you know, I mean obviously it's very hard on them, you know, and here I am having a new life and celebrating and playing. So I don't know. It's such a touchy thing.

Q. Erik, how did you come out physically from Key Biscayne? Did it take you a full day of rest, two days of rest to get back?
ERIK COMPTON: I think it took us about four days.

Q. And in that sense with the short window between this event and Q School, how are you going to handle it?
ERIK COMPTON: You know, I don't think I'm going to practice very much after my rounds. I'll probably go practice just a little bit and then go get rest, put my feet up. And you know, I think by Wednesday when it starts, I should be fine.

Q. And then also, Jim was telling me earlier about the speech you gave at the dinner last night, and apparently you had a lot of people in some emotion. What did you say and what was your take on the whole dinner?
ERIK COMPTON: Right. No, it was a great evening. I was actually inspired because I met a young -- I think his name is Matt, and he's 16 years old, and he's part of the event. He's blind and obviously lives a normal life. He's actually playing golf.
He's had a brain tumor. And to be able to hear his story and to see the struggles that he goes through, you know, I mean I can't imagine. You know, some of the struggles that I have gone through, you know, I have been able to do some normal things, and you know, obviously, not being able to see is -- I can't imagine what life would be like that.
You know, it's kind of -- it's an interesting thing. I mean people are inspired by me, but I'm inspired by other people. I think what I said at that evening was, you know, people go into hospitals and they donate money to see a result, and I am a result and assured people that I was the guy that had seven chest tubes and had 20 IVs in me at the same time and looked dead, and now here I am alive, and somewhere in the middle of this tournament playing golf.
So you know, miracles and things like that do happen, you know, and people don't know how to put that together, you know. I mean the only way anybody would see anything different for me is if I actually walked out there in a hospital gown, and that's not the case. (Laughs).

Q. Excuse my ignorance, but the cart you were riding around in, the no roof because?
ERIK COMPTON: It's easier to get through the ropes, and also, you know, they want to have the same conditions.
MARK STEVENS: Mike, I have the Tour regulations on that. I can give them to you.

Q. I was wondering what level of exercise, non-golf exercise and workout can you do, and particularly during a tournament week? I mean stretching?
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah. During tournament week, I haven't really worked out much, just tried to get a lot of rest.
I was working out the last two months to get ready for Q School. I had a personal trainer who was basically walking me through specific workouts. And I do different workouts than I used to. I used to lift crazy weights, after the first transplant, and now I'm trying to tone it down and try not to do as much upper body and do more lower body so that I can build that up and have the strength to walk again.
And I do a little bit of cardio, and I try not to do -- how I can pace myself to build enough that I'm not actually doing myself any damage. That way I just listen to my body. I mean I know when it's just too much.

Q. Boo Weekley mentioned yesterday something a lot of us had forgotten about, he was playing with you at one of your first Q Schools. You had an episode down there. Does that sound familiar? Did you ever figure out, did anybody ever -- was anyone ever able to explain what happened that time or what happened that time at the Doral?
ERIK COMPTON: You know, I never had a problem at Doral. It was only at Q School, and Q School I was taking different medications. I was taking too much blood pressure medicines, and I was drinking about 12 Gatorades a night, and my sugar and everything got all out of balance, and I hit the floor on the 12th hole, I think.
And you know, I was going to get disqualified, so I ended up finishing the round and shooting, I think, 80 or something like that. But they stopped play for 20 minutes.

Q. Did guys play through?
ERIK COMPTON: Actually, I don't think anybody played through, but that Q School, everybody was calling me Boo Weekley. So he was a nobody then either.

Q. Erik, how would you characterize your putting today? You make a 20-footer, couple 12-footers, and yet you had your bugaboos on a couple of short ones that could have gotten you lower.
ERIK COMPTON: Well, the front nine it was just I didn't catch any breaks. I had a lot of mud on the golf ball for the second shot, and I had a huge spike mark or something in one of my lies, and I tried to play around it and I should have just played over it, and I missed the putt.
So you know, I mean that was one short putt that I missed that I hit a good putt, and you know, I hit a good putt on 1. It just didn't go in. I think the green out here, sometimes the shorter putts, they just bounce off line. The longer putts when you hit them, if you hit them solid, they kind of get back on line.
And you know, hey, thank God I did putt well or I probably would have shot three or four over.

Q. Lastly, just anything going into tomorrow or into the weekend and the rest of the tournament?
ERIK COMPTON: No, I just gotta keep on playing, making a lot of birdies, and you know, give myself opportunities because if I can get on the green, I feel like I can hold the putt.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks so much, Erik. Good luck the rest of the way. All right.

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