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And he's got a new fan.
Derek George, John Paul's father, approached Compton on the putting green Wednesday and told him his son's story. When Annette George was pregnant with the boy, doctors advised the parents-to-be that their son would have, at best, minimal chance at survival.
"This is a very rare thing and most kids don't have it," Derek George recalls doctors saying. "So it's better to terminate this and not go through all this hassle. But then my wife said, you know, let's give John Paul a chance. Let's give him life."
So they did. A three-stage series of operations followed, but John Paul hasn't needed to undergo any procedures in the last seven years. He's home-schooled, a decision his parents made to minimize the chance of picking up things like colds and flu bugs from other kids, and by the end of Friday's round, John Paul was exhausted.
When Compton's group stopped in the 18th fairway for their approach shots, John Paul took the opportunity to sprawl on the grass for a quick rest.
"I walked a lot, that's for sure," John Paul said.
Compton could be riding in a cart while playing now to conserve his strength -- the PGA Tour has given him permission to do so -- but the South Florida native said he wants to walk so transplant patients can see what is possible. John Paul could have ridden as well, and his father even offered to carry him at times Friday.
The boy always declined.
"It's like me winning the Masters or something like that, to see this kid alive and so happy," said Derek George, who is writing a book about his son's battle. "Just look at him laughing and smiling on the golf course. It's wonderful."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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