Saturday, January 24, 2009

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Erik Compton, who underwent a second heart transplant last year, received a sponsor's exemption Friday into the Honda Classic.

It'll be the second PGA Tour event for Compton since getting his third heart last May in Miami, his hometown. Compton made the cut at the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney in November, finishing 60th.

Compton underwent his first transplant when he was 12, then had a massive heart attack 15 years later, prompting the need for a second lifesaving procedure.

"You always hope your exemptions work to help someone who is trying to get a new start," Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly said. "What Erik has gone through is unbelievable and for him to just be able to compete against the greatest players in the world is phenomenal."

The Honda Classic starts March 5 at PGA National.

Compton won the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for remaining active in golf despite his health issues.

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