(Verona, NY – June 2012) Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and four-time PGA TOUR winner Notah Begay III confirmed the tournament date and playing field for the fifth annual Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation Challenge.
The charity golf event will tee off on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club near Verona. A collection of PGA TOUR stars led by Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and K.J. Choi along with top LPGA golfers Cristie Kerr and world’s number one Yani Tseng will be among those joining Begay to help support the continued effort of the NB3 Foundation to raise awareness and funding for the improved health and wellness of Native American youth nationwide.
Rounding out the 12-player, world-class field will be PGA TOUR pros Gary Woodland, major champion Y.E.Yang, Charlie Wi and Danny Lee, and LPGA Tour golfers Lexi Thompson and Se Ri Pak. For the first time in the five-year history of the event, a new East meets West format will be used to pair the fiercely competitive field of golfers in a mixed team, best ball tournament, pitting U.S. and Asian players against each other, with a $450,000 winners’ purse at stake.
“I’m happy and humbled to announce that the Challenge will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year,” said Begay. “This event has played such a huge part in helping the NB3 Foundation in its mission of empowering Native youth to sustain active, healthy and productive lives. The support from the Oneida Indian Nation and commitment from great players such as Tiger, Rickie, K.J. and Yani to attend and compete means so much to me. Together, we continue the battle against obesity and type 2 diabetes to improve Native communities everywhere.”
All proceeds from the tournament go directly to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation. In its first four years, the event has raised more than $3 million through its robust, on-going partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation and the support of professional golfers.
“We are pleased to partner with Notah Begay to bring all of Central New York this great event,”said Halbritter. “We are honored to host to the world’s finest male and female professional golfers and provide a platform to promote the critically important charitable work that the NB3 Foundation is doing for Indian Country.”
The money raised over the first four installments of the NB3 Foundation Challenge has helped Begay and the Foundation launch, sustain and expand programming driven by Native staff to attack profound health and wellness issues impacting Native American youth and to empower those youth and help them realize their potential as tomorrow’s leaders. Beginning in 2005, the mission of NB3 Foundation has been to reduce the incidences of obesity and diabetes and advance the lives of Native American youth through evidence-based sports, health and wellness programming. The Foundation continues to support the development of sustainable, evidence-based and model programs, research, advocacy and strategic grantmaking in Native American communities. More than 10,000 Native youth have been engaged and served by the NB3 soccer and golf programs and additional Foundation initiatives.
The NB3 Foundation Challenge continues to proudly demonstrate what Native groups can accomplish through shared efforts and resources aimed at addressing important issues in Native American communities. Indian Nations, like Oneida, have made extraordinary progress in recent years to build promising futures for their youth and communities, and this event exemplifies that progress. Turning Stone Resort Casino, the host site for the NB3 Foundation Challenge, is an economic enterprise of the Oneida Indian Nation.
This year’s event will once again feature one of golf’s giants, Tiger Woods. He owns 14 professional golf major championships, the second-highest total in the history of the men’s game, and his 73 PGA TOUR victories are tied for second all-time. Fowler, who is part Navajo, has roared onto the golf scene and recently earned his first win as a pro at the Wells Fargo Championship. South Korean prodigy K.J. Choi is set to represent the exceptional Asian talent in the field. His 18 professional golf tournament wins, including eight on the PGA TOUR, and 40 weeks spent in the top 10 world rankings make him Asia’s most successful golfer.
Cristie Kerr returns as a two-time defending NB3 Foundation Challenge champion. Kerr is one of the LPGA Tour’s most accomplished players, owning 14 career professional wins, including two major tournament titles. Hailing from South Korea, Se Ri Pak will also showcase her unparalleled talent on the golf course at this year’s event. Her 24 LPGA victories, including five major championships, have earned her the distinction of being the youngest women’s golfer ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Gary Woodland, representing the U.S., is coming off an outstanding 2011 PGA TOUR campaign which included six top 10 finishes and his first career win. Y.E. Yang of South Korea made history in 2009 when he became the first Asian to win a major championship with a victory at the PGA Championship. Charlie Wi, also a South Korean native, took home a top-10 and six top-25 finishes in 2011. Born in South Korea but a naturalized New Zealander, Danny Lee became the youngest player ever to win a PGA European TOUR-sanctioned event, and in 2011 earned his first Nationwide Tour victory at the WNB Golf Classic, which secured his PGA TOUR card for 2012.
Completing the field are LPGA pros Lexi Thompson and Yani Tseng, from the U.S. and Taiwan, respectively. Thompson burst onto the national golf scene when she was only 12 years old, becoming the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. Four years later, Thompson was already an LPGA Tour winner. Tseng emerged as a star in her early twenties, winning majors and reaching No. 1 in the world rankings. When she won the 2011 Women’s British Open, she became the youngest golfer ever—male or female—to win five majors.
For more information about the NB3 Foundation Challenge, visit: www.nb3challenge.com.