Larry Canning reflects on some “lion hearted” performances at the 2014 US Open

Heart transplant survivor Erik Compton....an inspirational performance at Pinehurst No.2
Heart transplant survivor Erik Compton….an inspirational performance at Pinehurst No.2

By Larry Canning

WHEN I was at school, a “Number 2” was the code used to warn your teacher of an impending unpleasant experience for not only yourself but any kid sitting within 20 feet, if she didn’t let you go to the toilet. I reckon the same term would have been used frequently by competitors last week at Pinehurst “Number 2” when the world’s best players were watching their putts roll completely off the other side of the green into the gallery.

At one stage during the third round, I saw both players in the final group, putt their ball clean off the slick putting surfaces within the space of three holes! Just imagine what the greens must be like on Pinehurst Number 1!

So how the hell did Martin Kaymer shoot 65 65 on this track? I guess it was a combination of leading every stat over the week, flawless swing mechanics and a ruthless competiveness nature seen only recently by the likes of Tiger Woods. Despite his single minded passion to win by as many shots as he can, Kaymer seems to have balanced it up with a humble outlook and engaging repour with the toughest golf spectators in the world and god forbid…even the evil media.

Quite a few players have won a major but when someone wins two, they join an elite club. It would seem the lion hearted German’s career has now changed forever and it’s not too hard to imagine number three just around the next dogleg.

Martin Kaymer win
“So how the hell did Martin Kaymer shoot 65 65 on this track?”

Speaking of lion hearts, another shining light for me last week was Eric Compton. In fact, did anyone else suffer a massive dose of “perspective” watching Compton complete his courageous US Open week? I know that’s reaching new heights on the old cliché scale but I just can’t help it. When you talk about life changing events, the 34 year olds journey has been littered with life changing and lifesaving circumstances since he was a kid. At age 9, Compton was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a condition in which renders the heart unable to pump effectively. The only cure was a heart transplant which he received three years later.

While playing the secondary tour in 2008, Compton suffered a heart attack and again found himself under the knife with his surgeons installing heart number three. It probably doesn’t surprise you but my knowledge of heart surgery is about as informed as my understanding of the sub plots in “Game of Thrones”. Which leads me to this question – how many heart transplants can one person expect to have and can there be a successful “heart number 4”?

Whilst Martin Kaymer’s career has moved up to a new level, it was the 172 ranked Erik Compton’s runner up that will be the real life changer.

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