The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have hired Los Angeles Angels bench coach Joe Maddon as manager, six weeks after beginning their search to replace Lou Piniella.

The team confirmed Maddon's hiring yesterday. The St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune reported in yesterday's editions that the team selected Maddon over incumbent Devil Rays bench coach John McLaren the day before.

"I'm very happy, excited, eager, all those things," Maddon told the Times. "It's a great situation and I'm really looking forward to it."

The Devil Rays scheduled a news conference for today.

Maddon, 51, inherits a team with a promising nucleus of young talent that made the job attractive.

* GOLF: Karrie Webb's grand prize for winning a junior event as a teenager was getting to spend a week with Australian icon Greg Norman. Last night, she joined him in the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.

Webb, who captured the career Grand Slam quicker than any other player and is the only woman to win all five of the LPGA Tour majors, became the youngest member of the Hall of Fame when she was inducted with four others.

"It's hard to believe I'm here tonight," the 30-year-old Aussie said. "I still feel like a little girl with big dreams from a small town in Ayr."

In a ceremony that highlighted women, she was joined in the Hall of Fame by Ayako Okamoto of Japan. Inducted posthumously were Willie Park Sr., the first British Open champion; writer Bernard Darwin; and golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, whose designs include Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. . . .

The PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans will be moved to English Turn Golf & Country Club next year after Hurricane Katrina damaged the TPC of Louisiana course.

English Turn, in New Orleans, hosted the tournament from 1989 through 2004. Next year's event will be held April 27-30, and probably will be the first major sporting event held in New Orleans after Katrina. The TPC of Louisiana course, in Avondale, was damaged during the Aug. 29 hurricane.

* COURTS: A self-described minister was convicted of trying to blackmail New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield and his wife by claiming he had a video showing her having sex with R&B singer R. Kelly.

A federal jury convicted Derrick Mosley, 39, of two counts of extortion and two counts of wire fraud for allegedly plotting to extort money from Sheffield and gospel singer DeLeon Richards-Sheffield.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clarence Butler said Mosley asked Sheffield's business agent for $20,000 to destroy a tape that Mosley claimed showed Richards-Sheffield having sex with Kelly before she married Sheffield.

* HOCKEY: Montreal Canadiens winger Alexei Kovalev is expected to miss three to four weeks after he has knee surgery today.

The Canadiens, 12-3-3 and leading the Northeast Division, will be without Kovalev for the first time tonight against Florida. Montreal will host the Capitals on Saturday.

* TENNIS: Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, China because of injuries, leaving Roger Federer the only top-five player in the elite field. And even Federer, the two-time defending champion, might not go the distance. The top-ranked Swiss has a sore ankle.

* COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Hofstra Coach Joe Gardi is retiring after 16 seasons with a school he guided from Division III to a consistent winner in I-AA.

-- From News Services