By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Notah Begay III will replace Dottie Pepper as an on-course reporter for NBC this season, beginning with this week's Sony Open in Hawaii.
Begay, 40, will work duing NBC and Golf Channel tournament broadcasts. He also will be a frequent contributor to Golf Channel’s signature daily news programs, including Golf Central and will serve as an analyst for the network’s Live From news coverage at golf’s major championships and other events.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to join the Golf Channel and NBC golf broadcast teams," Begay said. "The game of golf is as exciting as ever and I look forward to utilizing my extensive experience to provide viewers with insight into the competition and its players."
Added Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon: “Notah has a wealth of knowledge, experience and a tremendous passion for the game of golf, and we are excited for him to be expanding his role within the NBC Sports Group."
Begay his Golf Channel debut as a studio analyst for the network’s Live From the Masters coverage in 2010, and has contributed to the network’s Masters and U.S. Open news coverage the past three years.
“Notah is very well respected within the game both for his golf achievements and his expert analysis he has brought to Golf Channel the past few years,” said lead golf produer Tommy Roy. “We are excited for him to join the team this week in Hawaii.”
Begay is a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR and once shot 59 in a Nike Tour event. He is also the only full-blooded Native American to have played on the PGA TOUR.
Notah Begay, whose tireless passion, commitment and advocacy for the health and well-being of Native American youth led to the founding of the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation in 2005, is the recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America’s Charlie Bartlett Award.
The 39-year-old Begay, who is half Navajo, one-quarter San
Felipe and one-quarter Isleta and
the only full-blooded Native American to play on the PGA TOUR, founded the NB3 Foundation to
battle the epidemic of childhood and Type 2 diabetes and obesity among Native American
A four-time winner on Tour, Begay has raised more than $3.23 million in three years through this annual NB3 Foundation Challenge Golf Event to support the foundation’s programs. The award, named for the first secretary of the GWAA, is given to a professional golfer for his/her unselfish contributions to the betterment of society. Begay will be honored at the GWAA Annual Awards Dinner April 4 in Augusta, Ga.
He follows Lorena Ochoa (2011), Ernie Els (2010), Tiger Woods
(2007), Greg Norman (2008)
and Jack Nicklaus (2009) as recent recipients.
Begay still plays a handful of PGA TOUR events a year as a past champion. He will play in next week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Wednesday morning, Tiger Woods and Notah Begay III appeared on Golf Channel’s ‘Morning Drive’ to discuss this week’s NB3 Challenge and why Woods chose the Frys.com Open as his next PGA TOUR event. That, and more, below:
On choosing the Frys.com Open as his next TOUR event: “I wanted to play another event and I’d taken enough time off,” said Woods, who added that he’d told PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem in recent years that he’d play an event he normally doesn’t. The Frys.com Open is just that. It’s also being played near his alma mater Stanford.
On what Notah Begay’s foundation is doing: “What he’s trying to do with Native American youth and Type 2 diabetes, that’s something I can relate to,” Woods said. “Unfortunately my father developed Type 2 diabetes late in his life and I saw the devastating effects it has. What he’s trying to do is pretty phenomenal.”
Woods on his own health: “I’ve been hurt for a very long time,” he said, citing 2007 when he ruptured his ACL and kept playing on it and then tearing the Achilles in his right leg, among other injuries. “It’s a very tough road. It’s been years since I felt good. You wake up in the morning and it’s tough to get out of bed. But now it’s fine. I can spring out of be. It’s a very invigorating feeling.”
On whether or not Fred Couples has already called him to inform him he’ll be on the Preisdents Cup team: “Yes,” he said. “Want me to elaborate? Yes.”
On his search for a new caddie: “I’m going to need a caddie at the Frys. I don’t know who its going to be as of right now. [Notah Begay’s brother] Clint is looping for me today. There’s really no timetable for that. It’ll happen sometime in the future.”
By Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Every year, Augusta National honors past Masters champions with the Champions Dinner. This year, the Reno-Tahoe Open is having a collection of past tournament champions of its own -- except it’s on top of the leaderboard.
Vaughn Taylor, winner of the event in 2004 and 2005, leads the field at 9 under. He’s shot rounds of 69-66, and is one shot ahead of 2006 champion Will MacKenzie.
“Obviously the course has to fit your eye, and then the altitude is definitely an adjustment.” Taylor said. “I think anywhere you play well when you come back, especially if you win, you come back and a lot of good memories and feelings, and, you know, it can turn things around for you.”
Champions Steve Flesch (2007), Chris Riley (2002) and Notah Begay (1999) are also all inside the top 6 on the leaderboard.
MacKenzie said it’s the idiosyncrasies of Montreux Golf & Country Club that have allowed past champions to do well this year.
“Like, this putt is just historically fast or this putt don't go away from Mount Rose quite as much or this putt does go away from Mount Rose harder than you think,” he said. “And just trusting yardages. Trusting you're hitting 7-iron downhill on No. 9 - or 18 now rather -- from 230. That's the actual yardage.”