Compton's heart beats with Masters excitement

Mon Apr 6, 2015 4:19pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - The Masters occupies a special place in every golfer's heart.

For twice transplant recipient Erik Compton it is a place shared with Isaac Klosterman, the young man whose heart is beating inside the body of Compton as he prepares to realize a lifelong dream and tee up at Augusta National.

"It's kind of hard to believe that my first Masters is at 35 and everything that I've gone through; and there's times where I never thought I would ever play in the Masters," Compton told reporters following a practice round on Monday at stately Augusta.

"I think it's a real treat to get an invitation to play in this tournament just because of how hard it is to get in here."

Few athletes in any sport have overcome more daunting hurdles to reach their goals.

Compton was nine when he was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle is inflamed and unable to pump blood as hard as it should.

He underwent his first transplant in 1992 at the age of 12.

In 2007 he suffered a heart attack and drove himself to hospital. Seven months later, he had his second transplant and received the heart of Klosterman, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver.   Continued...

Erik Compton of the U.S. hits off the first tee during his practice round ahead of the 2015 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia April 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder