T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair .
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced Wednesday at the season-opening Frys.com Open that Erik Compton is the inaugural recipient of the PGA Tour Courage Award.
Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, is beginning his third season on the PGA Tour at CordeValle this week.
The PGA Tour Courage Award is presented "to a player who, through courage and perseverance, has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as personal tragedy or debilitating injury or illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf."
Clearly, Compton was a logical choice.
The Courage Award includes a $25,000 charitable contribution to be distributed to a charity of the award recipient’s choice; this year’s contribution will be shared by the Cardiovascular Institute of Miami and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation at Compton’s request.
“Erik’s story is a remarkable one in the fact he has overcome extraordinary odds to not only survive, but thrive,” said Finchem. “In recent years, he has started a family with wife Barbara and daughter Petra, won a Web.com Tour event and played two years on the PGA Tour. With Erik’s show of perseverance and courage, along with his charitable work to encourage organ donation, he is a very fitting recipient of the inaugural PGA TOUR Courage Award.”
“Through the help of family, doctors and friends, I have gone from being someone lying on his back in recovery to someone walking the fairways of the PGA Tour,” said Compton. “Not only has playing on TOUR been a dream of mine, but it has also served greatly in the healing process. It has given me something to work toward, but also something to hope for. I’m incredibly grateful for this award and blessed to have the opportunity to be playing on the PGA Tour.”
Compton's best career finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for fourth at the 2013 Honda Classic. Compton won the 2011 Mexico Open Presented by Banamex on the Web.com Tour.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair .