Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Golf Pro Notah Begay
ONEIDA INDIAN NATION RESERVATION - The Notah Begay III - NB3 Foundation Challenge is being held this Wednesday, August 31, at the Atunyote Golf Club on the Oneida Indian Nation Reservation, near Vernon, New York.
In its fourth year, the 2011 NB3 Foundation Challenge is a one-day event hosted by Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded American Indian on the PGA Tour. Begay is mixed with Navajo, Isleta and San Felipe Pueblo blood.
The 2011 edition of the NB3 Foundation Challenge features an elite eight-player field representing some of the biggest names in both men's and women's golf.
Joining Notah for this year's event is a pair of golf legends - his former college roommate and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, and 10-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam.
In addition to these iconic players, a pair of former major champions - Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen - will also compete. Rising stars from both tours will round out the field. Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler represent the PGA TOUR. From the LPGA, Natalie Gulbis, who is the only first time participant in the event. For the rest of the field, excluding Notah, this will be their second appearance in the NB3 Foundation Challenge. Sorenstam, Kerr, Pettersen, Mahan and Fowler all made their debuts at the event last year. Woods participated in 2009.
In preparation for Wednesday's Challenge, Notah Begay III agreed to the following interview with the Native News Network:
Notah, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. First, let me tell you that I want to compliment you on doing what you for hosting the Challenge. You are to be commended. Why do you do host the Challenge?
Notah Begay III: One major necessity of any non-profit organization is to raise money in order actualize change. I figured I could raise money if I brought together some of the best golfers. This way we can showcase the best golfers to do some serious raising of funds.
We have it on the Oneida Indian reservation. They have been great about helping to fund the Challenge for past ones we've had.
Where do the funds go from the Challenge?
Notah Begay III: The funds go to support the NB3 Foundation and its programs. It takes money to administer the programs we have in Indian Country. We provide funds for soccer and golf to Indian Country.
We have big problems with Type II diabetes and obesity in Indian Country. The funds help with programs that hopefully will reduce these two major problems.
Your Foundation has done a lot of work with diabetes among American Indians. Tell me about why diabetes is emphasized.
Notah Begay III: Diabetes, especially Type II, is important to Indian Country because it so many of our young people are getting it. It seems as if people are getting it younger and younger. I hear about young people who have to go on dialysis because of diabetes. They are getting on dialysis younger and younger. We are dying younger and younger because of diabetes.
I spend a lot of time in the area of diabetes because I want to get the message out that diabetes is preventable if Indian youth eat properly. I cannot tell you that leukemia is preventable like I can say diabetes is. It is preventable.
Type II diabetes is to Indian Country what AIDS is to Africa.
With our people dying from diabetes at young ages, it affects us down the road. With people dying so young, it could our sovereign rights, our traditions and we can completely lose our languages and culture.
How much money will the Challenge raise?
Notah Begay III: This year the Foundation will raise between $400,000 and $500,000.
Is Tiger Woods going to be well enough to play this year?
Notah Begay III: He is. I just talked to him. He is very excited about playing in the Challenge. He said some nice things on his blog about the Challenge. So, it is going to be great having him there to help.
Tiger Woods on Notah Begay: On Aug. 31, I'll play in the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge in Verona, (NY). Notah is like a brother to me and has done so much for the Native American community trying to help with child obesity. People have no idea how much time and energy he has put into this cause. It's a pretty big deal for him. The last time I played in the event was in 2009, so I'm really looking forward to helping him out.
posted August 29, 2011 8:57 am edt
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