April 10, 2010

Begay as Golf Channel analyst

Notah Begay brings unique Tiger Woods perspective to Golf Channel

By Michael HiestandNotah Begay is making his Golf Channel on-air debut as a studio analyst during the Masters. But, says the golfer, don't get the wrong idea: "Believe it or not, they asked me last fall before all of Tiger's personal problems. Most people would think they only asked me because of my personal relationship with Tiger, but I have something to say whether it's related to Tiger or not."

But Begay, who is a Native American, does have an unusually intimate take on Woods. He says they've been "best of friends" since he was 12 and both were playing elite junior golf "where more often than not we were the only minorities." Since Begay's parents couldn't afford to travel with him, Woods' father Earl "took me under his wing" on the circuit—and Begay followed Woods to Stanford where they were teammates.

Begay, who has four PGA Tour victories but last year made the cut just four times in 15 starts, is interested in pursuing TV work. He's already the first male TV golf analyst to appear on-air in earrings: "That's a testament to my commitment to the Native American culture, where many men wear earrings. … I'm not just up here taking up space. I'm trying to perpetuate a positive image for Native Americans."

Begay, among those who hugged Woods immediately after Woods' initial public remarks in February, suggests the Masters is the "perfect setting" for his return since Augusta National "is very insulated" and "has control" over coverage.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Begay:  Tiger's Apology Was Real and 2nd NB3 Challenge Raises $1 Million.

Below:  "Notah Begay, left, and Tiger Woods have been friends since they were kids on the junior golf circuit. Begay debuted this week as an analyst on the Golf Channel." (Joe Skipper, AP)

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