Tiger Woods joins Navajo golfer in Native youth benefit tourney 2009: Vernon Ny

Tiger Woods joins Navajo golfer in Native youth benefit tourney

VERNON, N.Y.

&ndash Native children will benefit from funds raised during the 2nd Annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge, a skins golf game played last week by four professional golfers including 14-time championship winner Tiger Woods. The foundation is named after pro golfer Notah Begay III who said the challenge supports his mission of bringing Native American communities together to benefit Indian youth. Begay is the only full-blood Native American (Navajo, San Felipe and Isleta Pueblo) member of the Professional Golfers Association and has four PGA tour wins. Joining Begay and Woods for the fundraiser at the Atunyote (Eagle) Golf Club on the Oneida Indian reservation were PGA golfers Camilo Villegas and Mike Weir. &ldquoWe believe in the cause, and the cause is to heighten people&rsquos awareness about Type II diabetes and childhood obesity in Native American communities. It&rsquos an epidemic our communities are dealing with, and we&rsquore trying to create resourceful programming that can help mitigate some of the early onset of these conditions,&rdquo Begay said. Once seen only in adults, Type II diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in youth, especially in Native communities. Diagnosis of Type II diabetes among Native youth 15-19 years old has soared to 68 percent in 10 years. All proceeds from the skins game went directly to the Begay&rsquos foundation, a non-profit organization that was formed in 2005 to reduce the high incidence of obesity and diabetes among Native American youth. Specifically, the foundation is funding youth golf and soccer teams on the San Felipe reservation near Albuquerque. &ldquoThe whole thing is to come here and bring awareness of what Notah&rsquos trying to do. It&rsquos great to see what he&rsquos doing,&rdquo Woods said. &ldquoIf Notah needs me I&rsquom there in a heartbeat.&rdquo Begay said having Woods participate in the challenge was an asset to the foundation.

It was obvious much of the media and fans came to the event to see Woods play golf up close. Fans paid for that privilege, more than 3,000 of them shelled out $330 each to watch Woods and the other golfers compete for $500,000 in the skins game.

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