The Notah Begay Foundation Challenge has become a staple event at Atunyote Golf Course, but it always seems to get the most attention when Tiger Woods is playing in it. The larger than life golfer was back at Turning Stone for the first time since 2009, just months before his life was turned upside down with a sex scandal and eventual divorce. His golf game has suffered since thanks, in part, to injuries, but today's challenge was all about getting back to feeling good about his passion.
"What's important to me is going out there and trying to become a better player each and every day," says Tiger, "and that's something that's exciting to me."
Suzann Pettersen joked before the round that she might have to carry Tiger Woods in the charity challenge, and as it turns out she did more than her fair share. The team finished in 3rd place at 9-under, two shots behind Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr, who won the challenge for the second straight year.
" We just have similar games, " explains Mahan, " we hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and the more chances you give yourself the more birdies you're gonna make . "
" It's a fast format ," says Kerr, "a nd it moves along and it gives the fans a chance to see a lot of birdies, so I think it's a great format. "
The golf challenge is the main fundraiser for Begay's foundation, which is dedicated to helping the health and wellness of Native American youth, a cause that Tiger says he loves to get behind. "I can relate to this because my father went through it. My father developed type-2 diabetes. It's tough to watch someone go through that, and what Notah's trying to do is cut that off. I want to be here for that. To be here and have the opportunity to do this, it's an honor."
" H aving these players and Tiger included gives us a much better pla t form to speak from, " explains Begay, " to speak to a larger audience to talk about th ese issues that we're trying to address with the foundations work. You know I am like a big brother to (Tiger), so if he didn't come to play I was gonna whip his butt."
Tiger said afterwords while his game isn't quite there yet, it felt good today at Turning Stone.
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