Mario doesn’t miss hockey | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Mario doesn’t miss hockey

Steve Yingling

Why would Mario Lemieux return to hockey when he can play 27 holes of golf with his good buddy Dan Quinn and then spend the remainder of the day with his wife and four children?

“I don’t miss it at all. I watched four of five games and the last few games of the Stanley Cup,” said Lemieux, who is one of 76 players who will try to win the ninth Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course over the weekend. “I played for 13 years and I feel that there’s life after hockey. I’ve got four kids, so they keep me pretty busy.”

Last spring, rumors circulated that the three-time National Hockey League MVP was considering coming out of retirement. But Lemieux’s only contact with hockey has been his $33 million lawsuit against Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Roger Marino. Lemieux claims he’s owed the money from a contract that he signed in 1992 and later reworked, so the club could defer it over 10 years.



But the suit is the least of his worries. Lemieux, who tied for 39th in last year’s tournament, is trying to modify one of the tour’s “sweetest” swings.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit the last couple of months, trying to change my swing a little bit. Every time you make changes you have to go backward a little bit,” Lemieux said.



DEL GRECO GIVES HIS BAG TO A PRO:

Tennessee Oilers placekicker Al Del Greco has a secret weapon at his side this week.

Del Greco’s caddie, Robbie Nulty, has carried the bag of Gary Player and Bruce Summerhays, who won the Senior Tour’s last stop.

“I got a pro caddie to help keep me from making mistakes ahead of time, and he’s an excellent green reader. I feel my chances are pretty good now,” said Del Greco, whose best championship finish is third.

DEMPSEY’S RECORD MAY BE SAFE: If someone is going to break Tom Dempsey’s 28-year-old record field goal boot of 63 yards, the NFL rules will have to change, Del Greco said.

“You have to understand the only opportunity that you’ll get for something like that is at the end of the half or the end of the game the way the rules are,” the 15-year veteran kicker said. “We don’t try that many long field goals, especially that long because, shoot, you’re giving them the ball past midfield. One first down and a couple of yards and they’re in field goal range.”

However, Del Greco feels a number of kickers, including Morten Andersen, Jason Elam and Jason Hansen, could surpass Dempsey’s mark.

“There are a lot of guys with that capability, but you have to get the opportunity to do it before you have a chance to make it, and I don’t see those coming.”

As for his own chances, Del Greco says the conditions would have to be right.

“It would be one of those things depending on the weather conditions and where you’re playing. The 57-yarder I hit would have been good from 63, but if I was back there I might swing even harder and not hit it as good,” Del Greco said.

Three-time U.S. Open tennis champion Ivan Lendl says Pete Sampras’ fifth Wimbledon singles title on Sunday was critical to remaining on top of the game.

“He lost some matches here and there and once he started losing a little bit, they lost a little respect for him,” Lendl said. “Respect for a player is good for two or three tight points in a match.

“Now that he’s won Wimbledon the respect will be there again. I see him going on for a while. But if he would have lost that match (to Goran Ivanisevic) I would very much doubt it.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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