Tiger Woods to return to Turning Stone for Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge

By Press Release from Notah Begay III Foundation

VERONA, N.Y. - Notah Begay III, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, announced Tuesday some of the marquee participants in the fourth annual Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation Challenge, slated to take place on Tuesday, July 5 at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club on Oneida Indian Nation lands near Vernon.

PGA TOUR stars Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler will tee it up alongside NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys and Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams in the two-person team, best-ball 18-hole shootout.

Three additional top names from the world of sports and entertainment will be revealed at a later date, and join Begay and the star-studded field in an effort to raise awareness and funding for the improved health and wellness of Native American youth on Indian reservations nationwide.

All proceeds from the tournament go directly to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation. More than $2.4 million has been raised in support of the foundation’s mission through the first three years of the event, thanks to the strong and ever-growing partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation, and the efforts of the many top professional golfers who have participated.

“I am humbled and very excited to have some of the world’s elite athletes as a part of this year’s event,” said Begay. “The involvement of world-class golfers like Tiger (Woods) and Rickie (Fowler) and NFLer’s Tony (Romo) and Sam (Bradford) takes the 2011 NB3 Challenge to a whole new level and, more importantly, helps reinforce the Foundation’s commitment to empowering Native youth to sustain active, healthy and productive lives.”

The Notah Begay III Foundation was founded in 2005 by Begay, the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA TOUR. In an effort to make a difference in the lives of Native American youth, the Foundation took on the mission to reduce the incidences of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and promote the leadership development of Native American youth. Driven by Native staff, the Foundation is committed to developing sustainable and evidence-based sports, health, wellness and leadership development programming that can be replicated throughout Indian Country.

This year’s event continues the partnership between Begay and the Oneida Indian Nation, and demonstrates what can be accomplished when Native groups come together and donate time and resources to issues important to Native American communities. The event magnifies the monumental progress Indian Nations like Oneida have made recently to build a more promising future for their youth and communities. The host site for the NB3 Foundation Challenge, Turning Stone Resort Casino, is an economic enterprise of the Oneida Indian Nation.

“The Oneida Indian Nation and Turning Stone Resort are delighted to once again host the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at the Atunyote Golf Club,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises. “We are proud to have partnered with Notah over the years in his efforts to improve the lives of American Indian youth. Notah's commitment to recruiting the world's best golfers, athletes and celebrities to participate in this annual event has made a major impact in raising awareness around one of the most pressing health concerns confronting Indian Country and our society at large today - childhood obesity and diabetes.”

Proceeds from past NB3 Challenges have helped Begay and the Foundation launch and support the model golf and soccer programs the Foundation is striving to implement across Indian Country. More than 3,850 Native youth have been engaged and served by NB3 soccer and golf programs. With funds raised during the 2009 Challenge, the San Felipe Soccer Club received a new home in the form of a $750,000 soccer field and community park in the San Felipe Pueblo. The park is the first recreational facility in the Pueblo’s history. The Challenge has also allowed the Foundation to establish a number of partnerships, including with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Through a series of studies in 2010, Johns Hopkins found that the NB3 Foundation is succeeding in its efforts to create evidence-based sports programming.

Results found that NB3 programming’s efforts at the Pueblo “may be early predictors of reduced rates of obesity and diabetes as participating children age.” The findings are significant as the NB3 Foundation hopes to replicate it model and evidence-based programming in other Native American communities in the future as a means to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes among Native American youth.

“The battle against childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious public health problems among Native youth,” Begay said. “Through our field’s generous support and the partnership of the Oneida Indian Nation, our commitment to the long-term battle to ensure that Native American youth are given the opportunity to be healthy is strengthened.”

The early entrants in the field of eight for the 2011 NB3 Challenge feature some of sports most-fierce competitors and rising stars. Woods and Fowler represent both present and future greatness from the PGA TOUR. Woods, a college teammate of Begay’s at Stanford in the mid-1990s, is one of golf’s giants. He owns 14 professional golf major championships, the second-highest total in the history of the men’s game, and his 71 PGA TOUR victories ranks third all-time. The 10-time winner of the PGA TOUR Player of the Year award will be making his second appearance in a NB3 Challenge. In 2009, he grabbed nine skins to outshoot a world-class field and captured the tournament title.

Fowler, who is part Navajo, finished second in last year’s NB3 Challenge. The reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year enjoyed a breakthrough first season with a pair of runner-up and seven top-10 finishes in 2010. Fowler capped off an impressive first-year campaign when he was selected as a captain’s pick for the United States Ryder Cup team. In 2011, he owns two top-10 finishes and is one of five golfers to fire a TOUR-low round of 62 (Waste Management Phoenix Open).

Romo and Bradford are two of the top signal-callers in the NFL. Romo has risen from undrafted free agent to the quarterback of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. The three-time NFL Pro Bowler owns Cowboys’ single-season records for touchdown passes (36), completions (335), yardage (4,211) and 300-yard games (seven). In all, Romo has amassed more than 16,000 passing yards and 118 touchdowns in 89 career games. The eight-year NFL veteran is also an avid golfer who has attempted on numerous occasions to qualify for the Byron Nelson and U.S. Open tournaments.

Bradford, who was the top overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, is coming off one of the most productive seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. He set NFL rookie records for completions (354) and attempts (590), his 3,739 passing yards rank second all-time and his 18 touchdown passes were tied for fifth most by a rookie in league history. In addition, Bradford guided the Rams to seven victories which was the most games ever won by a quarterback drafted number one overall in his rookie campaign, and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year for his efforts. The Oklahoma City native is also a member of the Cherokee Nation, and is the only Native American to win the Heisman Trophy.

This year, the NB3 Foundation Challenge will be a two-person team, best-ball format, with a total purse of $275,000. Past events have featured a mixed-team, best-ball format in 2010 with Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr victorious, and a Skins Challenge format with Woods capturing top honors in 2009 and Camilo Villegas earning the top spot in the 2008 inaugural event.

Tickets are on sale now, and may be purchased by contacting the Turning Stone Box Office at 315-361-SHOW (7469) or visiting the Box Office which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. NB3 Challenge tickets are priced at $50 for adults and, until May 15, can be purchased for a special, limited-time offer of $40 each (no restrictions applied).

Youth admission for 16 and under is provided complimentary with purchase of an adult ticket (must be requested at time of original purchase). Active Military receive a 50 percent discount upon presentation of a valid military I.D. Overnight packages are also available by calling 1-800-771-7711.

For more information about the NB3 Foundation Challenge, visit: www.nb3challenge.com.

What's On