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February 16, 2011

Erik Compton


COLIN MURRAY: Erik, thanks for joining us here in the interview room at the Northern Trust Open, successfully qualified on Monday. I believe it's your first time here at Northern Trust. If you could just give us a few thoughts on getting through Monday's qualifier and then making your first appearance here.
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah, it's basically my first competitive round since Tour School. Been home most of the Christmas, New Year's, and my wife said why don't you go somewhere, you're annoying me.
You know, the last couple years I've played overseas in Dubai, and I was just kind of sitting home eating popcorn watching everybody play well, so I figured I needed to get something going. It is a long shot. Monday qualifying is very, very difficult, especially on the West Coast, so I wasn't quite sure whether it was worth coming out. But in the end it worked out great, I'm here, and just try to take advantage of the good week.

Q. Could you talk just a little bit about Monday's round, I believe 6-under 66, a couple keys to that round?
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah, I mean, just the practice rounds were difficult. Obviously I've been playing a lot in Florida, playing at Doral where they're going to play the tournament. It's in good shape, actually. And those are flat golf courses. And when you come out here and you play the poa annua with undulation, the practice rounds didn't go very well, so it wasn't very promising.
And I just got off to a good start, birdied the first hole and hit the pin on the third hole, and then just kind of went from there. I figured after that maybe I'd have a good chance. I shot 3-under on the front, and in the off-season I worked out really, really hard with the weights. I started working back with an old trainer that I used to work with in my early 20s, and I think that helped a lot.
I got an eye opener at Q-school. It seems like everybody is just bombing the golf ball, so I was able to put on about 10 pounds, and then I think with that said, I think that helped me to reach some of the par-5s in the qualifier, I hadn't done. I think I lost probably when I had the transplant about 10 miles an hour on my club head speed, and I think I've almost got to back to where I was in my early 20s. So that makes a difference, and then just getting rest and being healthy.

Q. What course were you at Monday?
ERIK COMPTON: The Eisenhower Course. I had actually played it about six or seven years ago. Didn't have much success then.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what -- you talk about coming to the West Coast to try to qualify. It is kind of a crap shoot. What kind of investment does it take? When did you get in here? Take us through the whole process.
ERIK COMPTON: Right. Well, my caddie and friend, Phil, we came in here on Saturday, and he was one of the ones that really convinced me to -- he said, hey, you're a professional golfer, you need to get on a plane and go. Even to the day on Saturday I was still questioning whether I was going to go because I had been battling a little bit of a cold for the last three weeks. But it is a gamble to come all the way out here.
I came out here for Riviera, I don't know when it was, but I did lose in a playoff to get into the event. And then on Monday I finished pretty early, so I stuck around, and with 6-under I was crossing my fingers whether I was going to be in a playoff, and Jason Gore was on the putting green and we were all waiting around to kind of see what was going to happen.
But I mean, it was like a TOUR event. Obviously you had 71 players that have Nationwide or PGA TOUR status. But in the end it's always still a number. Whether you're playing against Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or whoever, it's always going to be 66, 65, 64, so it doesn't matter who. You've just got to shoot a number, so it doesn't really matter.

Q. You were talking about being at home since Q-school. What was your take when you left Q-school? How did you break that down and look at the week, and then what do you look at as far as playing opportunities this year?
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah, I mean, it was hard -- I mean, I think last year was a really good year for me, even though on paper I didn't play well on the weekends. I played eight events on the TOUR, I believe, and even though I didn't -- at the Greenbrier I had a good chance for three days; I was in contention. You know, I kind of got fallen off the radar there coming into the Fall Series and then the Playoffs, and then I kind of geared up and did very well at Q-school, which I thought was a successful -- I mean, I'm getting better. But you know, the opportunities are hard.
You know, it was a little discouraging when I went to finals because I was hoping to get a TOUR card. The weather was obviously cold, and it was a long golf course and just didn't pan out for me. But you know, when you're at home and the first part of the season you see Hawai'i and you see all the guys playing, you kind of get itching to go out and play. I'm either working on the boat or doing something other than golf.
You know, you've got to be patient. I know it's a long year, and I know there will be opportunities through Monday qualifying, and whether I get into a tournament -- and then also I have to focus on trying to see the Nationwide Tour. But you can't really plan too far ahead because you've got to take each tournament -- something great might happen this week or on a PGA event, and then maybe you have status out here.
People always ask what the schedule is. I really don't know. I just try and take it one tournament at a time. Even after the round I'm questioning whether I'm going to take the redeye back to Miami and not play in the event, and now I'm here. It's just kind of up in the air.

Q. Weather forecast isn't very good the rest of the week. Are you a good mudder?
ERIK COMPTON: Well, I think sometimes with those -- the tee times can make a huge difference when it's weather like this. I don't typically -- I don't think anybody enjoys playing in bad weather, but it's the same for everybody, so I'm getting used to it. I don't think I've had a short-sleeved shirt in an event for about three or four months. It seems like everywhere we go, it's sweater weather.

Q. How has your game been at Doral when you were out playing? Is it looking good?
ERIK COMPTON: Yeah, I mean, I've been -- like I said, I haven't played much because I've been working more on trying to build up strength, so it's hard to work out and then go out and play the same day, so it's sort of a sacrifice with that. But I feel like the days that I have gone out and played that I've been doing good. You know, I won't know until obviously I play this week and see how it goes. You know, I feel pretty good about it.
COLIN MURRAY: Thanks for your time. Play well this week.

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