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May 15, 2012

Erik Compton


THE MODERATOR:テつ Erik Compton thanks for joining us for a few minutes at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.テつ Very exciting week for you.テつ It's your first time playing the HP Byron Nelson Championship.テつ Talk about Donate Life and your involvement with the program.
ERIK COMPTON:テつ Obviously my story was very fitting.テつ It's something that I've been talking about for pretty much most of my life through the Transplant Foundation of south Florida, which we have raised over $2 million for transplant recipients, organ donor awareness, and helping out people that can't afford medications and things like that.
When I got the TOUR card, I felt like this was more of a platform to be able to share my story and talk about what my experience has been.テつ I've always been an open book sharing my story, and the impact of what has happened to me off of the golf course, which is always going to be a bigger story than me playing golf and hitting golf shots.
It was a fitting thing.テつ One of my main sponsors is Genentech, and it was a home run deal.テつ We both agreed to talk about my story, the impact of transplantation, donating life and what that can do for people.テつ It's just‑‑ it's very hard sometimes to be able to talk about my story and compete at the same time, but it is a relaxing feeling being in here because I know a lot of the real pressures I have had to deal with have been in the hospital, and it's healing to be able to talk about my story, to know the feedback I get from people waiting for a transplant or having gone through transplant makes me feel good and it relaxes me when I'm on the course.
I think the message is a very important message, to become an organ donor, and I remember when I was a little kid when I got my driver's license at 16, the guy asked me, "You don't really want to be an organ donor," and I said "I'm an organ recipient, and as a matter of fact, I have had a heart transplant."テつ I don't think I passed the driver's test, but somehow I did get past the test, I think because of what he realized he had said.
Nowadays there are so many people that are waiting for transplants.テつ On the list there's over 100,000 people waiting for any kind of transplant, and every 10 minutes somebody is added to that list.テつ When I'm out here on TOUR, in the locker room, I meet players that have friends or family that are having to wait for a transplant or going through a transplant and the message to become an organ donor is the most unselfish thing you can do in the world.テつ It's the simplest thing that you can do.テつ You can go to the driver's license place now and sign up to be an organ donor, through Donate Life America you can become an organ donor, and that's at www.donatelife.net.テつ They have all the information, and more importantly talking to your family and friends about becoming an organ donor.
When I got my heart it was a celebration for our family, of life, but it was also a tragic thing, because somebody had lost their life.テつ That's the twist and turns of transplantation and that's why it such a miracle.テつ We don't know why things happen and turn out that way, and I've become close with my own feelings and with the donors and their families, and there are donors that are still alive.テつ There are people that can donate and still save lives and still live a normal life.
I think the message is important and the further I get out with my transplant the more I realize it's more important than my game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Very well said.テつ We'll take questions.

Q.テつ Erik, do you have a story about talking to people who are on the waiting list now and maybe you could share one of those stories and what it means to talk to somebody who was specifically in your shoes?
ERIK COMPTON:テつ Right.テつ It's hard.テつ A lot of times when I go to tournaments I meet young kids, and meeting young kids and seeing what they have to go through is tough because I was there and now I'm an adult and I have my own family and recently a young kid that I met in Houston was on the driving range and he got to watch me hit balls and he watched Freddie Couples and others, and he had an artificial heart.テつ He was one of the few that was allowed to be on an operating machine‑‑ heart to keep him alive while he was waiting for a transplant so you can imagine what that was like.
His mom sent me a text and he sent me a text recently that he received a new heart and he was excited and feeling great.テつ That's just one story of the many towns that I go to and hear stories like that.テつ The unfortunate thing is sometimes I visit towns and meet people and what I worry about is when I don't hear back from them.テつ For every great story of somebody succeed and go going through transplant there is also a story of somebody who doesn't get a heart or lung or kidney in time.
That's why it's hard, because you realize how lucky it is to be‑‑ to get a second chance.

Q.テつ Erik, this is your first time playing at the Byron Nelson.テつ You had listed on your goals, one of them to win a PGA TOUR event.テつ You have to be thinking about what a better way than here at the Byron Nelson because of the legend he was.
ERIK COMPTON:テつ Anytime you get a chance to play in a PGA event you're always preparing and trying your best to win a golf tournament.テつ I have had a solid season so far, I have made a lot of cuts, I vent been in contention.テつ I had a chance to get myself in contention a few weeks ago in New Orleans.テつ I have played a handful of PGA events in my life and just getting more opportunities and being patient and every week somebody gets hot and hopefully I'm one of those people that gets hot and give myself a chance on the back nine.
That's what we all play for but talking about it and doing it is another thing.テつ So I have a chance to win a PGA event in my life, and I think it's a reachable dream.テつ I know I have the talent and the skill to do it and just gotta hang in there.テつ I think you asked me about being here.テつ This is a special place with Byron Nelson, each tee box we go to you see what he has done in his life, and the fact that he retired at 34, which is two years from where I am now, obviously I'm just getting started.
Times were different back then, and he probably retired because he could probably make a better living being a head pro, which goes to show you how much the game has changed.テつ So to be around here and to know what he has done and to play in this tournament is an honor.

Q.テつ Going from tournament to tournament can be difficult because you have a responsibility or feel that you have a responsibility and you have embraced the responsibility of talking about your story.テつ I wonder if you allow yourself to think where your career would be without the responsibility and without‑‑ if none of this had ever happened to you.
ERIK COMPTON:テつ Yeah, I think when I was younger I thought about that.テつ I thought, well, where would I be, would I be playing professional baseball or got to the TOUR earlier.テつ When I look around and see guys that I'm playing against and you see Matt who was in here earlier and we played college golf together.テつ He's had a lot of success, but if you were to ask him and the guys, it's not really what defines you is the success and how much money you make on the TOUR, it's your true happiness.
Sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for because there is a lot of responsibility, so right where I am right now is right where I need to be, and the things that have happened to me were all part of the plan.テつ I have to be thankful and grateful for that.テつ Of course I look at it in a positive spin that maybe I wouldn't have been as good of a player because maybe I wouldn't have had the mental determination to play the TOUR.
Just because you're a great athlete doesn't mean you can play the TOUR.テつ There are a lot of things in the mind that go on, the determination to travel, playing the TOUR and to win.

Q.テつ Erik, with your situation, do you have any extra challenges in terms of dealing with stamina with the travel and what all goes into a tournament each week and what do you do to overcome that, if you do?
ERIK COMPTON:テつ The traveling is tough on anyone, you know, they make it impossible to go through an airport.テつ So I have my own blanket that I travel with.テつ I've been traveling with that since I was nine years old.テつ I traveled with Ernie, who has been a great mentor to me, and he was laughing about that.テつ But it's the little things that I found that I do that help me get over the edge of having adversity with heart issues and life issues.
Everybody at this issue has different ailments that they deal with.テつ The guys that are really good at getting rest and knowing when to say no and knowing when to say yes and preparing ‑‑ it's all about preparing.テつ I have worked closely with my transplant team, obviously I take a lot of medication, and I'm always monitoring that to make sure it's just right so I'm peaking for events.テつ And there are tournaments I'm not ready for, and it shows in my game, but I think that's everybody on the TOUR.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Erik, we know you have a crazy week ahead of you, hopefully to culminate right back here Sunday night.テつ

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