Martin Kaymer did a good job of not only winning his first U.S. Open on Sunday, but also of taking all of the drama out of event, generally regarded as the toughest test in golf.
So as often happens when a lone golfer runs away from the field, we’re left looking for other story lines.
In winning his second major tournament, Kaymer opened with rounds of 65 on Thursday and Friday, reaching -10, then shot one over par on the weekend to win by eight strokes.
So I focused on the race for second place.
I enjoy watching young American Rickie Fowler play, as well as Keegan Bradley.
But the story that ended up tugging on my heartstrings was the one involving Erik Compton.
Compton, a 34-year-old American who turned pro in 2001, finished in a tie for second place with Fowler.
But the real story about Compton is one of survival.
You see, Compton is playing on his third heart.
That’s right — I said heart.
Compton had his first heart transplant when he was 12, then, in 2007, suffered a heart attack and had a second heart transplant six months later.
During an interview immediately following his round, Compton said he was relatively pleased with his performance, then broke the widest smile when the interviewer informed him his second-place finish in the U.S. Open automatically qualified him to play in The Masters tournament in 2015.
I guess I felt a kinship with Compton.
No, I’ve never had a heart transplant, but I am a cancer survivor and had to undergo chemotherapy for nine months, a 7-hour surgery to remove a large portion of my colon and a second surgery to remove a portion of my left lung.
I’m a member of the Bay Forest Handicap Association at Bay Forest Golf Course in La Porte, and I play in all of its monthly tournaments.
I had played in a tourney on the Saturday preceding the Monday when I went into M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for my colon surgery.
Almost immediately after waking from the anesthesia, I asked my surgeon how long before I could play golf again.
He said it would be up to how much pain I could tolerate, but didn’t see any problem with me getting out to the course in three to four weeks.
The next BFHA tourney was four weeks later, and I was able to play.
Now I’m not comparing my surgery to a heart transplant, but having dealt with medical issues and still trying to make room for golf makes me feel like Compton and I have something in common.
So when I saw his smile as he first learned he’ll be able to play in The Masters, my heart warmed.
Congratulations to Kaymer on winning the U.S. Open, and congratulations to Compton for beating the odds.
One more thing
Needless to say, I am also overwhelmed with joy after watching the San Antonio Spurs win their fifth NBA title.
Congratulations to the Spurs.