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Final Takes for June 30 2003

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Grey Goose 19th HoleThe Grey Goose 19th Hole Final Takes for June 30, 2003:
 
CRAIG DOLCH
 
Tiger has been railing about hot drivers for a while, but he took the issue up another notch last week when he said there are players on tour who are knowingly using non-conforming drivers. Tiger said he knows who they are, as do other professionals. That statement obviously caught the attention of many veterans, because if a player knows someone is breaking the rules, they are obligated as tour members to tell that player or a rules official. Just like someone taking an illegal drop. Its called protecting the field.
 
Golf has always been the most honorable sport played, its integrity deep rooted in the games 500-year history. The last thing golf needs is a Sammy Sosa-like controversy.
 
Another issue is how big of a problem are illegal drivers. Dick Rugge, the USGAs equipment expert, insists were talking at most four or five yards can be gained by using a too-hot driver on a perfectly struck shot. Would a professional golfer really risk his reputation for a few yards? Of course not.
 
Tiger is as responsible as anyone for players getting longer, because of his brilliant play the last six years. His rivals knew they had to get into the weight room and on the testing range to find their best equipment if they were going to compete with him. Next year there wont be any question when the tour starts using the portable test. Meantime, lets hope we all dont get carried away too far with all this talk of illegal drivers. If someone thinks illegal equipment is being used on the PGA Tour, lets name names.
 
BRIAN HEWITT
 
Brian HewittThe numbers were staggering last week even by the numbing standards of the great American Celebrity machine. Michelle Wie, if she signed tomorrow, could command between $6 and $8 million a year for five years This estimate from a respected industry analyst.
 
Gulp.
 
The good news is no such offer is currently on the table. Nor are her parents actively looking for any fast deals or quick millions.
 
But the time will come when the money is impossible to ignore for Wie and the people around her.
 
When it does, I hope HER voice is heard. I hope HER opinions are considered. I hope HER best interests are paramount. It is, after all, HER life.
 
KELLY TILGHMAN
 
Tilghman, KellyWhen the LPGA Tours Diana DAlessio was 13, she was riding horses competitively and had never touched a golf club. It was then when she watched Betsy King win the womens Kemper Open and was taken by this great sport.
 
Diana immediately told her father, Antonio, to sell her horse, War Melody, and she began to practice everyday. Her dad gave her a membership to Newtown Country Club in New Jersey and encouraged Diana to start taking lessons.
 
Antonio DAlessio, a vascular and general surgeon, had a demanding job but selflessly made all the time in the world for his daughters new passion. He did everything from making her clubs to offering moral support through every level of her career.
 
So you can imagine the incredible bond that was shattered when Dianas father passed away 12 days ago from cardiac complications at the age of 66. Diana last saw her dad at the Corning Classic over the last week of May. She asked him why she wasnt playing well and he told her, Dont worry. Itll come around.
 
The day after he died, Diana carried her own bag and qualified for the U.S. Womens Open and after missing six consecutive cuts on tour, she played her way into the final group on Sunday at the Shop Rite Classic in her home state.
 
Just like he always has been, Antonio DAlessio is standing behind his beloved daughter perhaps you will too as she plays in our national championship this week. I wish her well.
 
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