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Published: Saturday, 8/7/2004

Farr shines positive TV light on Toledo

The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic typically draws crowds that Toledoans can be proud of, often ranking among the best on the LPGA Tour. The Farr is northwest Ohio's best-attended annual event.

It's also one of the few times Toledo is put on stage before a national TV audience. The two-hour daily coverage, which began yesterday afternoon, resumes today from 2-4 p.m. and concludes tomorrow from 4-6 p.m.

Defending Farr champion Se Ri Pak, current Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples and fan favorite Meg Mallon are among the leaders ESPN2's coverage will focus on during the final two rounds.

Fortunately, the LPGA players are not all that ESPN2 will attempt to showcase during its coverage. Highland Meadows Golf Club and greater Toledo also will be part of the package.

Whether it's visuals from the Toledo Zoo, Fifth Third Field, the Toledo Art Museum, or just the serenity at Highland Meadows, northwest Ohio will be in full view for millions tuned into ESPN2.

"ESPN does a great job in helping us promote the community," Farr tournament director Judd Silverman said yesterday. "They allow us to select different things that they're willing to promote, such as the Art Museum, the Zoo or Fifth Third Field. It helps to promote the community."

It costs the tournament roughly $250,000 to be televised for those six hours over the final three days of play. Most of that money is raised through advertising sales, Silverman said, with the rest from tournament proceeds. Either way, that's a considerable chunk of change to be paid out by a tournament in which the net proceeds benefit local children's charities.

Silverman believes the national exposure "promoting" northwest Ohio and many of its landmarks is worth it.

"That's really the main reason we elect to pay for television," he said.

Nothing compares to the Farr when it comes to annually putting Toledo in a positive light on a national level. For that reason alone it's always worth doing, and watching.

Ever wonder who Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly, Craig Kilborn and Jay Leno knew to end up hosting late-night talk shows?

Am I alone in thinking this group whose members fit the Revenge of the Nerds profile has lowered the standards for late-night hosts?

Johnny Carson (remember him?) probably can't bear to watch the nightly train wrecks called late-night talk shows. Ironically, the one who bears somewhat of a resemblance to the king of late-night talk, Craig Kilborn, seems to be the most out of place sitting behind a desk interviewing celebrities ranging from Tom Cruise to Shaquille O'Neal.

Kilborn regularly looks uncomfortable in his host seat. It's clearly not the same guy who thrived as a sports anchor on the ESPN SportsCenter desk along with Chris Berman and Dan Patrick during the 1990s.

Anyway, Kilborn will make a return to ESPN tomorrow night to co-anchor SportsCenter with Patrick to kick off the all-sports network's "Old School Week." Kilborn, whose presentation delivering sports news had a smooth and effortless flow that is lacking in his present night-time gig, is one of several former ESPN anchors returning to host the network's signature show.

Charley Steiner, Gayle Gardner, Greg Gumbel and George Grande are also scheduled to make a return during the week.

Coverage of the Brickyard 400 begins at 2 tomorrow on Channel 24. Pole qualifying for the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be shown this morning at 11 on TNT, with final practice runs shown on SpeedChannel at 4:30.

The Hambletonian will be run today at 2 on Channel 11.

ESPN will televise the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies tomorrow at 1. Barry Sanders, John Elway, Carl Eller and Bob Brown make up the 2004 induction class.

ESPN begins its annual coverage of the Little League World Series this weekend. The Southeast Regional final airs tonight at 7. The Midwest Regional final airs at 7 tomorrow on ESPN2.

The U.S. men's national basketball team will play Turkey in a pre-Olympic matchup tomorrow on Channel 13 at 2.



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