Despite back surgery in April that kept him out of the first two major championships, Tiger Woods will headline a star-studded field at the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at Turning Stone Resort Casino in August. Tiger missed the 2013 NB3 Foundation Challenge with a back injury.
Taking place at Atunyote Golf Club for the seventh straight season, the field includes 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, FedEx Cup points leader Jimmy Walker, Jonas Blixt, Angel Cabrera, Louis Oosthuizen and Begay himself.
Begay was also questionable for the challenge, as he suffered a heart attack in April as well. He has fully recovered since then, and is excited about the great field of golfers and once again having all the proceeds going towards the foundation.
"Our success over the past six years is due in large part to the success of this event and that gives us great optimism for what we will accomplish in the future," Begay says.
As for Tiger's injury, both Begay and Oneida Indian Nation CEO Ray Halbritter say Woods' participation was indeed an uncertainty, especially considering Woods uncharacteristic absence from two majors this season.
"We were wondering about that...we were worried about that of course because he had the surgery," Halbritter says. "He's doing wonderfully well, I talked to Notah, he talked to Tiger yesterday, and he's in great shape, he's feeling good, he's just starting to get his feel back and he's getting back into a rhythm...some of the other tour players says the shots he's been making and what he can do is just starting to come back."
Because of his absence, Tiger is not eligible for the FedEx Cup, meaning he could miss the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, which start August 21st and continue through September 14th. If he misses the playoffs, the NB3 Challenge will be the last time golf fans get to see Woods play in the United States this year, unless he makes the Ryder Cup team (which is also uncertain).
Since the tournament began in 2008, more than $5 million has been raised for the foundation, with aims to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes, and support leadership and development of Native American youth.
Begay says he will announce one more competitor in the coming weeks, which will round out the field to eight. The eight players will split into two teams of four, Team USA, and Team International, competing in a best-ball format.
The competition is on Wednesday, August 27th at Atunyote Golf Course. Tickets are on sale, and may be purchased by contacting the Turning Stone Box Office at 315-361-SHOW or visiting the Box Office which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at $50 for adults. Youth admission for 16 and under is provided complimentary with purchase of an adult ticket (must be requested at time of original purchase). Active Military receive a 50 percent discount upon presentation of a valid military I.D. Overnight packages also are available by calling 1-800-771-7711.