Heart and soul: Erik Compton

Updated 9:50 AM ET, Thu January 12, 2012
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Despite having had two heart transplants, Erik Compton will tee off at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Thursday as a fully-fledged PGA Tour member for the first time in his career. Getty Images
Compton had his first heart transplant aged 12 but rose through the ranks to become one of America's top amateur golfers. He turned professional in 2001 after competing for the U.S. in the Walker Cup. But in 2008 he needed another heart transplant after suffering a heart attack. Stephen Munday/Allsport/Getty
Just five months after surgery, Compton was back playing competitive golf, tying for 60th in a PGA Tour event. But he had to get special dispensation from the authorities to get around the course in a golf cart. Getty Images
After a strong season on the Nationwide Tour in 2011, Compton finally secured his PGA Tour card with victory at the Mexico Open. "What I did was pretty special, where I'd been and what I'd had to deal with," he told CNN. "It was very overwhelming." Getty Images
Compton says golf has helped him to live the life he has: "It's given me a reason to get out of my bed so it's been very important. I'm very blessed to have a passion and an ability. Golf has kept me alive, there's no doubt about it." Getty Images