Apr 27, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Not even two years has passed since Tiger Woods, the world’s most famous golfer, came to Central New York to participate in the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge.
A whole lot has changed since then, from Woods’ personal reputation to his once-unquestioned status as the game’s top player. Still, he figures to draw quite a crowd when he appears again at Begay’s annual charity event at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona.
This year’s event will take place July 5, nearly two months earlier than the first three editions, all of which were in late August. And it will feature Woods, up-and-coming star Rickie Fowler and, as pro-am partners, NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) and Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams). The rest of the field will be announced shortly.
This single-day activity partially makes up for the loss of the Turning Stone Resort Championship, played from 2007-2010, but taken off the PGA Tour schedule when a suitable date could not be found.
Among the many changes from Woods’ appearance is 2009 is the cost of a ticket. Then, they ran up to $330. Now, any ticket purchased before May 15 is $40, and only rises to $50 after that date. Children under 16 will be admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket, and active military members with a valid military ID will get a 50 percent discount.
What happened to Woods following a November 29 car accident outside his home is well-chronicled. Reports of affairs with other women led to a divorce from his wife, Elin, and Woods lost numerous multi-million dollar sponsorships.
And from a golf standpoint, it’s hardly better. Woods has not won any tournament since late 2009, despite contending in the last two editions of the Masters, plus the 2010 United States Open at Pebble Beach in California. He has also lost his no. 1 world ranking, currently held by English golfer Lee Westwood.
Ironically, on the same day that Woods’ appearance at Atunyote was announced, he also revealed that he suffered a sprained MCL in a left knee that undergone four surgeries, plus a sprained Achilles tendon. No surgery is required this time, and Woods is expected to return in time for the U.S. Open in mid-June at Congressional Country Club near Washington, D.C.
As for the Pro-Am participants, Fowler, 22, was in this event one year ago, just before he appeared as a rookie on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He is also part-Navajo, giving him a Native American tie.
Romo, aside from having the highest profile on the high-profile Cowboys, is also a scratch golfer who made it to U.S. Open sectional qualifying in 2010. Bradford won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in 2008 and nearly led the Rams to the NFL playoffs in his rookie season.
All proceeds will benefit the Notah Begay Foundation, which supports health initatives on behalf of Native American youth. In the three years of the challenge, more than $2.4 million has been raised for the foundation.