Jesse Smith, Mohawk from Six Nations, will be teeing off at a major, the U.S. Open

Native Golfer Earns Spot in U.S. Open, Call from Notah Begay

June 10, 2013

It's official: Jesse Smith, Mohawk from Six Nations, has qualified for the U.S. Open, the second major golf tournament of the season. 

Smith, 33, who has golfed professionally for seven years, played his way into the U.S.'s national championship by finishing in the top four at a sectional qualifying round staged at Century Country Club in Purchase, New York on June 3. This will be Smith's first appearance in a major--and in a PGA Tour event. The last Native American to compete at the U.S. Open was Jeff Curl, Wintu, son of former PGA Tour player Rod Curl, according to Stephen Tooshkenig, the president of ST Golf, which works with Native golfers to develop their game.

According to ST Golf, Smith has traveled the globe searching for a spot on the world's biggest golf stage, the PGA Tour. He has competed on the Canadian Tour, Nationwide Tour, and international events. A humble golfer from New Hampshire, Smith has firm family roots planted in Ohsweken/Six Nations  (“I actually lived up there last year with them while I played the Canadian (PGA) Tour," Smith recently told Golfweek.). He has assisted with ST Golf golf clinics which develops the golfer from top to bottom. As a professional golfer Smith has been focused on helping Indian country reach new levels through his drive and dedication to the game of golf.

And as Smith has strengthened his ties to his Six Nations roots, he's also reached out to a major Native golfing star: Notah Begay, Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta, a four-time PGA Tour winner. (Related: Tiger Woods to Join Notah Begay III for NB3 Foundation Challenge)

According to Golfweek, Smith called Begay last year. "Prepared to leave a voice mail, Smith was stunned when Begay answered the call and not only listened to a tale of frustration from a struggling professional, but offered advice. They’ve become friends, and when the news of what happened in Purchase made the rounds, one of the first calls to Smith was from Begay."

Through this excitement, Smith is enjoying it all.  “It really is a great feeling,” he said. “A bit overwhelming, but I’m dealing with that now and it’s all positives.”

The 113th U.S. Open Championship begins Thursday, June 13, at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Smith's scheduled  starting time is 2:42 p.m./ET. Follow the action online at USOpen.com. ESPN and NBC will split the coverage on the tournament's opening day; check your local listings for details.



Sonny Skyhawk's picture
Sonny Skyhawk
Submitted by Sonny Skyhawk on

Fantastic ! We look forward to his tee time (2:42)est. on Thursday. As Native people we need to support our sports figures, as they are alternative careers for our young people. Good clean competitive sports exist and where they can excel. Our yesteryear baseball players like BENDER, THORPE and MEYERS , many years ago, had to endure the cat calls ( indecent name calling ) but today's young player's are respected for their skills rather than the color of their skin. Today we see Ellsbury ( Boston Red Sox) and Chamberlain ( New York Yankee) play and you can understand why they are quickly elevated to role model status. Throughout Native America, we are in dire need of role models who represent the new lifestyles of our people. Notah Begay Jr. is one example of what can be achieved in sports if you are dedicated and have the ability and tenacity to overcome adversity. He has excelled and proven himself beyond a doubt, and a long with Rod Curl, Jeff Curl and Jessie Smith, will continue to instill pride in our young people. The two first's to recognize are Rod Curl as the first native to win a PGA title, followed by Notah Begay, as the second and first Native golf commentator on Prime Network television, and now Jeff Curl and Jessie Smith as new players. Wow ! that is going to be exciting television, Don't miss seeing it.

Rich Messer's picture
Rich Messer
Submitted by Rich Messer on

Jesse has been a hard worker since his days playing golf at Rochester NH Country Club...All the best wishes to his success at the U.S. Open...Canadian Tour and with continued hard work the PGA Tour!

Dr. Nick Molinaro, Sport Psychologist's picture
Dr. Nick Molina...
Submitted by Dr. Nick Molina... on

Jesse, it's here...all of your energies, dreams and hopes brings you to this moment...I am sure the support of your friends and families will enhance not only your experience at being in The US Open but your performance as well. It has been my pleasure to have worked with you over the past two years and see you earn this wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and support your heritage.