November 07, 2011

Begay tries PGA comeback

Notah Begay III charts a course back to the PGA

Notah Begay III was a big story in golf before an injury sidelined him for over 10 years. This 'Friend of Tiger Woods' now has a foundation and a broadcast gig and is working his way back to the PGA.

By Bill Dwyre
He says, even though he kept trying comebacks on the PGA Tour, that it took him six or seven years to get his back in "manageable condition." He didn't have surgery, and when asked about that, he answers a la Frank Sinatra. "I did it my way," he says.

In those 11 years, he has disappeared from winner's circles, but not from golf.

Begay still lives in Albuquerque, near where he grew up. He got married six years ago, has two children and says, "That's the best thing you can be part of."

He does on-air commentary work for the Golf Channel and loves it.

"My job there is to create opinion," he says. "I don't want to be on the fence. Broadcasting is about stimulating discussion."

Part of his story is that he is a Native American, the only full-blooded one to ever play in the Masters, he says. He has a foundation and a consulting business that furthers several Native American causes — among his biggest backers are the San Manuel Indians — and builds golf courses with better access for Native Americans.

His roots extend to his grandfather, Notah Begay I, who was one of the code talkers sent to World War II with the Marines and asked to communicate key messages in their Navajo language. This was the group that inspired the 2002 movie "Windtalkers."
Comment:  For more on Notah Begay III, see 4th NB3 Challenge and Woods, Bradford to Golf with Begay.

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