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Notah Begay is recovering from heart attack

The father of Albuquerque native and former PGA Tour golfer Notah Begay III said his son is “resting, but feeling strong” after suffering a heart attack last week in Dallas.

Begay, 41, an Albuquerque Academy graduate and four-time winner on the PGA Tour from 1999-2000, is currently a golf analyst for Golf Channel and NBC Sports.

“He’s in great spirits and is up and ready to go,” Begay’s father, Notah Begay Jr., told the Journal on Tuesday.

He then chucked, and added, “If it wasn’t for wife holding him down, he’d probably be on the damn golf course. But that’s Notah. He wants to do things all the time. But he understands that he needs to rest, and Apryl (his wife) has been great in making sure he knows that.”

Begay Jr. said his son was practicing on his home course in Dallas last Thursday when he felt pains in his chest and had trouble breathing. He says Begay called Apryl to come pick him up, and “she called the course to see if a doctor was there. Fortunately, there was a doctor on site. He examined him and called an ambulance.”

According to a Golf Channel news release, Begay was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas where a stent was inserted to unblock his right coronary artery. Begay, a Navajo from New Mexico, has a history of heart disease in the family.

“My father died of a heart attack and I’m pretty sure there was heart disease on Notah’s mother’s side as well,” Notah Jr. said.

Notah Jr. and his wife, Claire, drove to Dallas on Thursday and returned on Monday night.

“It’s hard for anybody who has a child, or any loved one, that goes through that,” Jr. said. “You don’t really know what’s happening. The fear of the unknown is tremendous, and there is a lot of pressure. ‘Is he OK, or not OK?’ But he is doing great, and everything is back on track.”

Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of the Notah Begay 3 Foundation, said Begay is resting and not doing interviews, but he gave the following statement to Golf Channel:

“I anticipate a full recovery and feel lucky to be at home resting with my family. I appreciate the outpouring of well wishes I’ve received from family, friends and fans, and I will be back covering golf once I’m fully recovered.”

Begay is in his second full year as a TV analyst.

Golf Channel said Begay will be off the air indefinitely while he recovers, but he it expects him to make a full recovery.

Echo Hawk said Begay and his family still plan to live in Albuquerque this summer in preparation for the inaugural Rio Grande Charity Slam golf tournament, a fundraiser for the NB3 Foundation and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque.

The event is  scheduled for June 26-27 at Santa Ana Golf Club.

“He’s absolutely still coming in June, and looking forward to a really successful event,” Echo Hawk said. “We expect him to have a full recovery. We’re really blessed he’s OK.”

Begay was a three-sport star at Academy, where he also played soccer and basketball. He later played on Stanford’s national champion golf team with Tiger Woods.