Begay trades clubs for microphone
The next time Notah Begay is inside the ropes on the PGA Tour, he'll be holding a microphone instead of a golf club.
Begay starts a new line of work this week at the Sony Open as a full-time member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and Golf Channel. He will be a walking course reporter at Waialae Country Club
An opening was created when Dottie Pepper, who joined the board of the PGA of America, retired from NBC last year to pursue programs geared toward junior golf.
Begay is a Navajo, the only full-blooded American Indian to play on the PGA Tour. He won four times on the Tour until his career was slowed by back injuries.
''I'm absolutely thrilled to join the Golf Channel and NBC golf broadcast teams,'' Begay said in a statement. ''The game of golf is as exciting as ever, and I look forward to utilizing my extensive experience to provide viewers with insight into the competition and its players.''
The full NBC production and talent staff — including Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller in the tower — will be at the Sony Open.
A former teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford, Begay has been devoting much of his time to his foundation that he established in 2005, providing health and wellness education for Indian youth. He hosts the annual NB3 Challenge at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York, which attracts Woods and other top players.
Until now, most of his work has been in the studio.
Begay made his TV debut in 2010 during Golf Channel's ''Live from the Masters'' news coverage, and he has contributed to Golf Channel's coverage at the Masters and US Open the past three years.
Along with being a walking reporter, he will contribute to Golf Channel news programs and coverage from majors.
''Notah has a wealth of knowledge, experience and a tremendous passion for the game of golf, and we are excited for him to be expanding his role within the NBC Sports Group,'' Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon said. ''He already has demonstrated a knack for honest and candid analysis during Golf Channel's `Live From' coverage, and our viewers can expect the same when he reports from the golf course.''
Golf Channel televises the first three PGA Tour events, ending with the Humana Challenge next week in Palm Desert, Calif. CBS Sports typically does the West Coast Swing, although NBC will have the Phoenix Open because of the Super Bowl. NBC also has the Florida Swing and two stops in Texas leading up to the Masters.