Begay Fears Relatives Will Die From Virus

Notah Begay III, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour who now is an analyst on Golf Channel, said he expects members of his family to die from the Coronavirus.

The 47-year-old Begay, who was Tiger Woods’ teammate at Stanford, is half Navajo and 100 percent Native American, and the virus is sweeping through the Navajo Nation in his childhood home of New Mexico, in addition to Utah and Arizona.

“I’m probably the one on the call who wishes we were at Augusta the most,” an emotional Begay said on a Golf Channel conference call on Thursday. “It would certainly mean that my community wasn’t getting decimated by the COVID-19 crisis. It’s the most highly impacted community in the world right now.

“ … I’m going to lose some family members, I’m quite certain of it. And I just don’t know who it’s going to be.”

The Navajo Nation had 426 identified cases, with 17 confirmed deaths, as of Tuesday night, according to the Arizona Republic.

As in other areas, the virus has hit the tribe’s elderly population particularly hard, especially in the reservation’s small, remote communities, where residents have few, if any, healthcare facilities.

“They’re really at the epicenter of this issue,” Begay said of his family, estimating that 75 percent of his relatives live on these reservations. “It’s kind of with a heavy heart that I deal with this and I try to push through. It’s been difficult.

“There’s a historical context here that it’s tough for me to deal with. Basically, we’ve been working on getting supplies, food, as many resources as possible. It’s a scary thing for me. It’s a scary process.”

A press release released by the Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported that in addition to those who have contracted the virus, more than 2,000 people have tested negative.

Begay is assisting families in the Navajo Nation through his NB3 Foundation.

“We want to get direct resources—food and water—to families that live in a lot of the rural areas of these reservations,” Begay said. “There are people out there that have zero internet access, they don’t have mobile phone reception, they don’t know what’s going on.

“We’re hopeful we can get through all this and hopeful that we can get back into a regular golf schedule at some point, but in the meantime it’s boots on the ground for me and I’m doing anything and everything. … I feel really helpless at this point.”



Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles