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Published: Friday, 2/29/2008

ESPN hires ever-acerbic Knight for analysis

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRISTOL, Conn. - College basketball fans flipping channels back when Bob Knight was coaching couldn't resist stopping when they spied one of his interviews or news conferences. Nobody wanted to miss what he might say or do.

ESPN executives figure nothing will change with the Hall of Famer switching careers. The network announced yesterday that Knight will appear as a guest studio analyst leading up to and during the NCAA tournament.

"The information, the entertainment, the sophistication, the knowledge he brings about basketball and issues surrounding basketball - add that to how compelling an individual he is, and it made perfect sense for us to put him on our platforms," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's executive vice president for production.

Even before Knight resigned from Texas Tech on Feb. 4, ESPN officials were intrigued by the possibility of someday hiring him, Williamson said.

"I think ESPN has been real good for college basketball, and I look forward to working with some of their people who I have known a long time," Knight said in a statement.

Knight is scheduled to begin his new job March 12 during the conference tournaments. He'll provide commentary on Selection Sunday and through the early rounds of the NCAAs, then travel to San Antonio to offer analysis during the Final Four.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Luke Donald's opening round in the Honda Classic was far from perfect. He missed 5 greens and 7 fairways, including 5 straight. And conditions at windy, cool PGA National were hardly optimal for scoring.

Yet somehow, Donald found a way to post the Honda's best score in three years.

A bogey-free 64 gave him a one-shot lead over Brian Davis and a two-shot edge on Matt Jones after the first round of the Honda - an event Donald won two years ago when it was at nearby Mirasol, a considerably easier track.

Donald posted the lowest round at a Honda since Padraig Harrington shot a final-round 63 to win in 2005 at Mirasol, and the 64 was the best in 571 tournament rounds since the event moved to PGA National - where Mark Wilson's winning score a year ago was 5 under. Wilson shot a 73.

•SINGAPORE - Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa got off to a fast start in her first round of the season, shooting a bogey-free 6-under 66 at Tanah Merah to take a one-stroke lead in the HSBC Women's Champions.

The Mexican star, an eight-time winner last season, star skipped the LPGA Tour's opening two events in Hawaii and also missed the World Cup.

Paula Creamer, coming off a victory Sunday in the Fields Open in Hawaii, and Japan's Ai Miyazato opened with 67s in the inaugural 78-player event that features 18 of the top 20 players in the world.

Sweden's Linda Wessberg was two strokes back at 68 along with South Koreans Kim In-kyung and Lee Jee-young, while Australia's Karrie Webb shot a 69 in her first LPGA Tour start of the year. Annika Sorenstam opened with a 71.

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Another competition, another title for Adam Rippon.

The American, who won the junior Grand Prix final in December and the U.S. junior men's title last month, made it a clean sweep by winning the junior world figure skating title. Rippon finished with 199.90 points.

Heading into today's free dance, the American team of brother and sister Madison and Keiffer Hubbell (Sylvania) were in fifth place.



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