August 26, 2009 –
Verona, N.Y. (August 24, 2009) – Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 golfer, outshot an all-world foursome that included Camilo Villegas, Mike Weir and Notah Begay III to win the second annual Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation Challenge. Taking nine skins and $230,000 during the 18 holes played on Monday, Woods successfully outplayed both the field and the challenging Atunyote Golf Club course at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y. The tournament raised at least $750,000 for the Notah Begay III Foundation.
Today the whole thing was about bringing awareness to what Notah is trying to do,” said Woods shortly after the Challenge concluded. “It’s great to see what he’s doing. He’s put his heart, soul and passion into it.”
Featuring some of the world’s top golfers, this year’s event created expectations of an exciting day of golf. The players involved did not disappoint, thrilling the crowd of 3,000 with thunderous drives and dazzling short iron play. Early on, it was tournament host Begay III who drew some of the loudest cheers with great chips on both the first and third hole. It was near the middle of the round, when the group halved five consecutive holes starting with the ninth, that the intensity of play began to pick up. A great second shot from 75 yards out and a 10-foot birdie putt by Villegas broke the game open, giving him six skins and $180,000 with a single shot on the 15th. Now trailing, Woods birdied three consecutive holes following Villegas’ move to the top, reclaiming the lead with only the daunting 18th left to play. With Villegas and Woods both playing to seal up the victory, it was fitting that Begay III, at his own Foundation’s tournament, played a great chip from the fringe and followed with a birdie putt to take the final skin and $70,000.
While Woods took home the most skins during today’s round, the true winners of the NB3 Foundation Challenge are the Native American communities that benefit from the Foundation’s efforts to improve the health and wellness of youth on Indian reservations nationwide.
Funds raised during the NB3 Foundation Challenge are used to develop and promote sustainable and innovative sports and wellness programs to fight the disproportionate incidence of obesity and diabetes among Native American youth. To date, the Foundation has implemented year-round soccer and golf programs engaging hundreds of Native American youth in New Mexico alone.
“It’s time we do more to stop the obesity and diabetes epidemic among Native American youth,” said Begay III. “Through the Challenge, we have a unique opportunity to shine a national spotlight on this issue. Our goal is to create a national youth health and wellness movement among tribal nations, and I am excited about the momentum for change I have seen today.”
The NB3 Foundation Challenge is made possible by a collaboration between the Oneida Indian Nation and the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, two tribal nations donating time and resources to create a more promising future for Native American youth.
“The event was a rare opportunity for the entire central New York region to shine in the international spotlight as four premier athletes put their mark on the Atunyote Golf Club,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and CEO Ray Halbritter. “As with our own upcoming Turning Stone Resort Championship, all proceeds went to charity. It is gratifying to be able to host an event that showcases our region, provides an economic boost to businesses throughout our community, and at the same time raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for much needed charities. The Oneida Indian Nation was proud to host this historic event.”
“This tournament is a demonstration of the commitment that Indian tribal nations have made to elevate health and wellness in their communities across this nation,” said Chairman James Ramos, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians. “Our efforts today will have a positive impact on the health and well being of future generations of Native people and our communities.”