Begay, Oneida Indian Nation and San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians join forces to fight obesity and diabetes and promote youth sports and wellness within Native American communities
VERONA, N.Y., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Notah Begay III, a four-time PGA TOUR winner, today announced that Tiger Woods, Camilo Villegas, and Mike Weir will play in the second annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge (NB3 Foundation Challenge). The four will play in a skins game format on Monday, Aug. 24, at Turning Stone Resort's Atunyote Golf Club on Oneida Indian Nation lands near Vernon, N.Y.
Made possible by a collaboration between the Oneida Indian Nation and the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of California, the NB3 Foundation Challenge raises awareness and funding for the improved health and wellness of Native American youth on Indian reservations nationwide.
"I am humbled to have my PGA TOUR colleagues and friends Tiger, Mike and Camilo join me for this important event and their involvement speaks volumes for their dedication to youth sport programs," said Begay. "I can't say enough about the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation and their willingness to support this effort and work together to improve both their own communities and Native communities everywhere. It's through strong partnerships such as these that together we can empower all Native American youth to sustain active, healthy and productive lives."
The relationship between Begay and Woods dates back to Stanford University, where Begay, a three-time All-American, and Woods were teammates and roommates in the mid-1990s. Villegas, a native of Colombia who won last year's inaugural NB3 Foundation Challenge, is currently ranked No. 12 in the world and has two PGA TOUR titles under his belt. Weir, the 2003 Masters Champion, is currently ranked No. 24 in the world and is an eight-time PGA TOUR winner.
"I look forward to participating in the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge," said Woods. "Notah has been a friend for many years, and I am happy to support him in his commitment to Native American youth."
Reducing Obesity and Diabetes among Native American Youth
All proceeds from the tournament go directly to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation. Started in 2005 by Begay, the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA TOUR, the Foundation's goal is to reduce the disproportionately high incidence of obesity and diabetes among Native American youth. To achieve this goal, the Foundation is creating sustainable and innovative programs - designed by Native Americans for Native American youth - that promote physical fitness, wellness and leadership development.
Since the Foundation's inception, it has partnered with To'hajiilee High School, a Navajo Nation community school in New Mexico, to deliver golf curricula to the school's students. The Foundation has also implemented summer junior golf programs and clinics in New Mexico and in other tribal communities across the country. The program received strong student interest in the last couple of years with more than 200 participants learning about the game of golf and its principles - sportsmanship and integrity. Additionally, the Foundation's San Felipe Pueblo Soccer Club has grown to include approximately 160 Native American youth in New Mexico alone, each of whom participate on one of 16 different teams for a 10-game season. These partnerships with the Navajo Nation, the San Felipe Pueblo and other communities represent the model golf and soccer programs the Foundation plans to implement in Native communities across Indian Country.
To further the development and implementation of these programs, the Foundation created a Social Innovation for Native Americans Fellowship this summer and selected a Navajo and San Juan Pueblo tribal member in graduate school to help develop and promote a model for sustainable sports programming. The Fellow is working with key stakeholders in Indian Country, state and federal governments, the non-profit sector and academia to survey existing programming and identify best practices for promoting physical fitness and wellness among Native American youth. In addition, the Foundation will host its first Native American Youth Online Town Hall meeting this summer to hear Native youths' thoughts about what obesity and diabetes means in their lives and how sports programming can help them overcome those challenges.
Tribes Taking Leadership
Bringing together two important Indian nations, the NB3 Foundation Challenge demonstrates the collaboration of tribes in donating time and resources to causes important to Native American communities. In addition, the NB3 Foundation Challenge showcases the significant strides Indian nations have already made in recent years to create a more promising future for their youth and communities. The NB3 Foundation Challenge's host site, Turning Stone Resort & Casino, is an economic enterprise of the Oneida Indian Nation.
"Notah Begay's Foundation Challenge serves as a pathway for helping American Indian youth today and seven generations to the future," said Oneida Nation Representative and CEO Ray Halbritter. "The Oneida Indian Nation is again proud to be a partner in the good work of this charitable cause. It is a testament to Notah, ambassador to the Turning Stone Resort Championship this Sept. 28 through Oct. 4, that his charitable event at our Atunyote Golf Club continues to attract the best players that professional golf has to offer."
"Everyone involved in this tournament is making a statement that they stand in support of elevating the quality of life in tribal communities across this nation," said Chairman James Ramos, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians. "Our actions today will have a positive impact on the health and well being of future generations and we recognize that it is because of struggles and sacrifices of those that came before us that we are able reach out to other tribes."
The NB3 Foundation Challenge - A Skins Game Format
The NB3 Foundation Challenge is a skins game format with a total purse of $500,000. A player who wins a hole outright wins the money or "skin" associated with that hole. The NB3 Foundation Challenge's first six holes are worth $10,000 a piece, the second six $20,000, holes 13 through 17 are worth $50,000 each, and the 18th hole is worth $70,000. If no player wins the hole, the "skin" carries over to the next hole. At the 2008 inaugural event, Camilo Villegas edged Vijay Singh for the top spot, taking home $220,000, while Singh finished with $180,000 and Stewart Cink took the final $100,000.
For more information about the NB3 Foundation Challenge, visit: www.nb3challenge.com. Tickets for the NB3 Foundation Challenge are on sale now at the Turning Stone box office - call 315-361-SHOW (7469) - and at all Ticketmaster outlets: 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
SOURCE Notah Begay III Foundation