Team International Wins NB3 Challenge, But Native Youth True Winners

Team International Wins NB3 Challenge, But Native Youth True Winners


The skies were gray in Verona, New York – the site of the 2014 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge (NB3 Challenge) – but overall the weather was perfect for golf and the fans that took the chance on getting drenched saw Team International best Team USA by two strokes on August 27.

Louis Oosthuizen, Angel Cabrera, Jonas Blixt and Jhonattan Vegas teamed up to shoot a 20-under in the combined best ball tournament for Team International – Oosthuizen and Cabrera shot an 11-under in their pairing. Team USA – Erik Compton, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker and Notah Begay III played strong for the fans.

“Once again, this event has been a truly impressive display of how passion and collaboration can help the Foundation educate the public and raise funds to combat the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics facing Indian country,” Begay, the NB3 Challenge host, four-time PGA TOUR winner and NBC Sports/Golf Channel Analyst said. “My sincerest gratitude goes out to all the talented athletes, the golf fans of Central New York, and our friends and partners – the Oneida Indian Nation.”

All proceeds from the challenge help the NB3F in its mission of reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes while supporting leadership development among Native American children.

“It’s always great to help anyone out, especially to be here for such a great cause,” Reed said prior to beginning the tournament. “It doesn’t matter what time of year or day it is, it’s always good. Whether helping Native Americans or anyone.”

For the past six years, Notah has tapped into his connections from the PGA TOUR to bring elite golfers out for a great cause. Between the golfers, the passionate fans and strong partners, the event has raised more than $5 million.

“It’s a fun event and we really enjoy being a part of this and helping Notah,” Vegas said.

“I’ve known Notah for years on the tour, and we’ve always had comrodery in the locker room. … It’s a great honor to be able to play in this event,” Compton said. “What Notah is trying to do is fitting with my story growing up with cardiomyopathy and having to eat healthy and exercise. I’ve tried to help kids and people do the same.”

Compton is known for having comeback to golf following two heart transplants (the first when he was 12) for his condition. Living a healthier lifestyle has always been a focus of his life.

“Today is a shining example of how Notah and his Foundation can build a bridge connecting Indian country with the key supporters and resources necessary to better the lives of our children,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, parent company of Indian Country Today Media Network, said. “We’re extremely proud to call this year’s Challenge another success, knowing that the funds raised will help impact the health and wellness of our future generations of Native Americans.

The tournament was played at Turning Stone Resort Casino’s Atunyote golf course a property of the Oneida Nation – a supporter of the NB3F for many years.

“This property is second to none in the country,” Begay said. “I can say what I want, and Ray can say what he wants but it comes down to the players. … Tiger [Woods] has said it himself this has some of the best greens he’s ever putted on. This coming from a guy who has won 14 majors.”

Speaking of Woods – originally scheduled to participate in the Challenge but had to withdraw due to a back injury – the night before the challenge, Begay was joined by his former college teammate in helping Halbritter complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

RELATED: Begay, Tiger Woods Douse Oneida Nation CEO for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

“It was a very special evening last night,” Halbritter said. “Knowing what Notah is doing and gives back to the community. … We did the Ice Bucket Challenge and it was for another good cause. I’ve never seen Tiger have such a good time.”

The great cause that brought players together amidst a busy PGA TOUR schedule was not missed by any of the golfers.

“While I’m incredibly grateful to my teammates for helping earn us the trophy today, I’m also extremely humbled by the opportunity to use my talents to help elevate the needs of Native American children,” said Oosthuizen, representing the winning team. “Childhood obesity is a national health crisis and Native American children have the highest prevalence of any population in the U.S. – a startling reality. Thanks to Notah, my teammates and all the players for helping bring this issue to light, and to the Notah Begay III Foundation for creating solutions to reverse this statistic.”

This year’s Challenge also revealed a shift in the way the Foundation has approached its causes within Indian country. The Foundation has taken on a transformation from running programs within Indian country to helping empower Indian country communities find solutions through strategic grant making, research and advocacy. The transformation originally began with the 2013 NB3 Challenge which launched Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures that provided the seed money to 20 tribal communities across seven states.

“Events like this … are important to any foundation, but any time when you can find partners to help you – it’s stronger,” Begay said. The continued growth and success of the Foundation and the Challenge shows as Begay said “We’re doing things right.”

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