Notah Begay brings golf game to Alaska to help Native community
Notah Begay III displayed the sweet swing that carried him to four PGA Tour wins. This time though, it took place at the Anchorage Golf Course during his first visit to Alaska.
“Which is beyond explanation how beautiful it is up here,” Begay told KTVA Sports.
He came to town to help the Afognak Native Corporation raise money during its recent annual youth tournament. The proceeds will help fund a culture camp on Afognak Island. Native American himself, the cause is near and dear to Begay.
“I embrace being a role model, I don’t think it’s a responsibility athletes have to subscribe to, I think it’s an opportunity to, it’s an opportunity for those fortunate, like myself, to utilize sports as a bridge to other great things,” said Begay, who is currently the PGA’s only Native American player.
Begay has delivered that message to Native communities around the country, through the NB3 Charity he created in 2005.
“I saw so much lack of activity, and I thought there was a better way, there was a cost-effective way to introduce kids to activities that would be beneficial to their development,” said Begay.
Success on the course took time, and it hasn’t been without its own hazards. He spent seven days in jail in 2000, after his second DUI arrest. Now sober, Begay has found peace in his own life, giving his message even greater context.
“Since I cleaned up and pursued recovery, my life has been wonderful,” said Begay.
Begay played golf at Stanford University, where he became close friends with one of the games best-known players, Tiger Woods. Woods continues to recover from his own arrest in May, for driving under the influence of prescription medications. Begay has talked with he friend frequently since then, and said now is the time to rally around, not abandon Woods.
“It’s important to have people to support you, and not pass judgment, it’s easy to do that, but, be compassionate and understanding,” said Begay, who is blessed with a profession he loves. A message of hope and purpose in his own life — Notah Begay is very much on course.