NB3 Foundation Challenge benefits Native American programs
By Michael Aaron Gallagher
As the number one professional golfer in the world, Tiger Woods has been entertaining crowds with his enthralling showmanship since his national debut on The Mike Douglas Show with Bob Hope in 1978.
With 71 tournament wins, including 15 professional major golf championships from 1997 to 2009, Woods’ career includes multiple wins at the Masters Tournaments, U.S. Open Championships, British Open Championships and PGA Championships.
On Aug. 24, Woods joined fellow professional golfers Notah Begay III, Mike Weir (ranked No. 24 in the world) and Camilo Villegas (ranked No. 12 in the world) for the 2009 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at the Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club, Vernon. The world-class 18-hole golf course was designed by famed golf course architect Tom Fazio.
This year’s event raised more than $1 Million for the programs, scholarships and services of the Notah Begay III Foundation, whose nationwide mission is “to promote the health, wellness and leadership development of Native American youth.”
Notah Begay III evaluates the contour of the green as he prepares for a putt in the 2009 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at the Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club, Vernon.
“It’s a great collaboration” Begay III said, “everybody’s working hard, because we believe in the cause.”
More than 3,000 spectators, including children from The First Tee of Syracuse, a local chapter of the World Golf Foundation’s initiative, which strives to foster a culture of sportsmanship in students and instill other life lessons from the game of golf, gathered to watch Woods’ first appearance at Atunyote.
As a vocal champion in the fight against diabetes and obesity among Native American youth, four-time PGA winner and former Stanford University roommate of Woods, Notah Begay III generously donated more than 200 tickets to local non-profit organizations in Central New York to allow area youth to “take part in the event and experience world-class golf up-close.”
According to Tina Kapral, manager of program services at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York, the organization received ten tickets to the Challenge, which were given to local “wish kids.” Headquartered in East Syracuse, they currently serve those with life-threatening medical conditions in 15 counties throughout New York State.
Camilo Villegas strikes his famous “Spiderman” pose during the 2009 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at the Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club, Vernon.
With partly cloudy skies, a brief sprinkle in the morning and light winds out of the West, Tiger Woods managed to come from behind to secure a victory by the 18th hole.
• Tiger Woods – $230,000
• Camilo Villegas – $200,000
• Notah Begay III – $70,000
• Mike Weir – $0
Despite the friendly rivalry between the players and the competitive nature of the skins game format, “Our minds are on this foundation,” Weir said, echoing the sentiments of defending champion Camilo Villegas who reminded everyone that, “At the end of the day, we’re here for charity.”
From left, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Notah Begay III and Camilo Villegas make their way down the fairway in the 2009 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at the Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club, Vernon.
“One of the things my father had always said is that everyone should make a difference in someone else’s life every day,” Woods said.
For more information on the Notah Begay Foundation’s scholarship application for Native American youth, and how you can become involved in promoting heath and wellness programs visit http://www.nb3foundation.com/.
“Tiger Woods enthralls local youth
NB3 Foundation Challenge benefits Native American programs”
Photographs by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Copyright © 2009 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
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