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Millions Follow Erik Compton's Quest to Win a PGA TOUR Card and Build Awareness for Organ Donation

BROOKSVILLE, Fla., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- With a story that continues to captivate millions of Americans and offer hope to thousands of those awaiting lifesaving transplants, golfer and double heart transplant recipient Erik Compton will continue to champion the cause of organ donation as he pursues his quest to qualify for the PGA TOUR today at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Florida.

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Compton, who graciously is sponsoring the efforts of Miami-based Transplant Foundation ( and its cause to drive awareness and support through the sale of a Florida license plate "Donate Organs. Pass it On," joins with other PGA TOUR hopefuls today for the start of a four-round stage-two qualifying tournament that will eventually send finalists to California for stage-three competition that will decide those 25 golfers that will receive 2009 PGA TOUR cards to compete with the likes of Tiger Woods.

"That's my ultimate dream; I've just got to be part of it," said Compton, who surprised the golf world this past weekend by making the cut at the PGA TOUR's Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.

Just six months after receiving his second heart transplant and playing courtesy of a special sponsor invitation, the 29-year-old Compton was a media focus for the four-day Disney tournament, where he ultimately posted a respectable 6-under 282 to tie for 60th place behind tournament winner Davis Love III.

"You're the man," Golf Channel commentator and former Masters and British Open Champion Nick Faldo told Compton during one of many on-air interviews.

Compton, who received his first heart transplant at the age of 12 as a result of heart disease, suffered a massive heart attack in 2007, which led to his second heart transplant this past May. A former #1 junior golfer in the country and an All-American at the University of Georgia, Compton has been a familiar face on the National TOUR circuit, while working towards earning his PGA TOUR card.

Generously displayed on his golf bag, shirt and hat, is the cause that Compton has adopted -- The Transplant Foundation and Organ Donation Awareness.

"Some 90,000-plus Americans are currently on organ donor waiting lists," said Compton. "I was truly blessed to get a second transplant and to be where I am today, competing in the sport that I love. An average of 17 people die each day (over 6,000 each year) waiting for a transplant. We've got to change those odds."

Compton's new lease on life comes from a special gift from a young athlete killed in a motorcycle accident -- a strong and healthy new heart.

"I'm here today because of him," said Compton, who hopes someday to meet the young donor's parents.

About Erik Compton

Erik holds the distinction of being the only professional golfer in the world to compete with a transplanted heart. Erik, who became the #1 junior golfer in the country and AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1998, accepted a scholarship offer at the University of Georgia. At UGA, Erik went on to become an All-American. Erik's success on the course led to his being named to the prestigious Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams in 2001. Since turning professional in 2001, Erik has found success at every level of competition. He has won international events such as the King Hassan II Trophy of Morocco in 2005. He finished at the top of the Order of Merit List (money title) for the Canadian Tour in 2004 (after winning numerous events that season), and has won numerous times on the NGA Hooters Tour (most recently in 2006). Since turning professional in 2001, Erik has competed primarily on the PGA Nationwide TOUR circuit. He has had several top-10 finishes throughout his career. His best finish on the Nationwide TOUR was tied for 1st at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open in 2004. Erik has competed successfully on the PGA TOUR as well where he has made 5 cuts in 11 career starts. This summer, Compton married Barbara Casco, and the couple is expecting a child, ironically scheduled on the anniversary of Erik's first transplant on February 26th. In his quest to win his PGA TOUR card, Compton passed first-stage Q School competition this October in Key Biscayne, Florida by staging a dramatic fourth-round come back, shooting a day's best 68 to reach second-stage Q School by one stroke.

About The Transplant Foundation

Transplant Foundation is a 501(c )(3) dedicated to funding patient services, public education to increase organ donation and lifesaving transplant research. The goal is to provide the Gift of Life to all in need. For more information, please contact Transplant Foundation at 1-866-901-3172 or visit The revenues from the sale of the specialty "Donate Organs. Pass it On" license plates will be used in the areas of research, patient services and education. Tampa, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando and Miami offer medical facilities specializing in transplants.


John Bell


SOURCE The Transplant Foundation
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