San Diego, CA – April 02, 2019 – The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) held its annual Chairman’s Leadership luncheon last week honoring Professional Golfers Association Golfer and Sports Commentator Notah Begay III with the coveted Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego, California.
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “It is an amazing opportunity to have someone like Notah Begay to be here with us. He is not only one of the greatest golfers I’ve ever known, but he is one of the greatest persons I’ve ever known in my life. He works day in and day out, and is always ready to serve. He’s changing lives, supporting our young athletes and helping people and families.”
Upon receiving his recognition, Begay said, “Through the lens of sport, leadership and service has been the cornerstone of my approach, which was handed down to me from my father, and his father. They handed down the community ownership, and the ability to continue to serve. That’s really what it’s all about for me.” He added, “It has never been about achievement or winning or the money, it is about doing my very best, continuing to ask more of myself daily and the serve in whatever capacity I can. Giving of your time is the most valuable asset you can give.”
Notah Begay III, from the Navajo Nation and San Felipe/Isleta Pueblos, is the only full-blooded Native American to have played on the PGA TOUR, was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Notah secured a scholarship to Stanford University where he earned a degree in Economics in addition to earning All- American Honors three times and leading the golf team to a National Championship in 1994.
In addition to winning 4 PGA TOUR tournaments, Mr. Begay became only the third player in the history of professional golf to shoot 59 in a professional event and partnered with good friend Tiger Woods in the 2000 President’s Cup.
When Begay is not on the golf course, he dedicates his time to positively impacting the Native American community. In 2005, Notah launched The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation. The Foundation works to battle obesity and diabetes in Native American youth. In addition, Mr. Begay owns a golf course development firm and works exclusively with Native communities to develop world-class golf properties.
Begay was named one of Golf Magazine’s Innovators of the Year in 2009 for his philanthropic work through the NB3 Foundation and has also been named one of the Top 100 Sports Educators in the world by the Institute for International Sport. In 2012, he received the Charlie Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for his contributions to philanthropy and his community through the NB3 Foundation. In August 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honored Mr. Begay and the NB3 Foundation with the Steve Patterson Award for excellence in Sports Philanthropy. He is a golf commentator for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel and Begay is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KivaSun Foods.
Notah Begay, III joins other past distinguished recipients such as actor and director, Wes Studi, Tricia Wood, a Native American Casting Director, Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, LaDonna Harris, Founder and President of Americans for Indian Opportunity, Steve Ortiz, Chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and Stanley Jones, Sr. former Councilman of the Tulalip Tribes, to name a few.