* Ex-University of Texas coach Royal dies at age 88: Darrell Royal, the former Texas football coach known as much for his folksy, simplistic approach to life as for his creative wishbone offenses and two national championships, has died. He was 88. University of Texas spokesman Nick Voinis on Wednesday confirmed Royal’s death. Royal had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and recently fell at an assisted living center where he was receiving care. For a related story, see Obituaries, C5.
• Titans QB appealing fine for horse collar tackle: Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck says he will appeal a $15,750 fine for a horse collar tackle in Tennessee’s 51-20 loss to Chicago after a turnover. Hasselbeck dragged Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden down by the back of the jersey at the Tennessee 4 following a fumble by tight end Jared Cook early in the fourth quarter last weekend. The 14-year veteran said Wednesday he understands the intent of the rules and obviously tries to play within the rules without trying to hurt anybody. Hasselbeck says he has been the target of plenty of jokes over the fine but it’s not funny to a quarterback who obviously doesn’t practice tackling.
* Big Mac returns to SoCal as Dodgers hitting coach: Mark McGwire is coming home as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, lured by the chance to spend more time with his wife and five young children. He was hired Wednesday to replace Dave Hansen and improve an offense that struggled last season when All-Star slugger Matt Kemp was hobbled by injuries. The Dodgers were 13th in the National League in runs scored and RBIs and 15th in home runs. McGwire spent the past three seasons in the same job with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he starred during parts of his 16-year major league career.
* Ochoa has no regrets about leaving LPGA Tour: Lorena Ochoa has no regrets about leaving the LPGA Tour to devote all of her time to her family and foundation. “I wouldn’t change this for anything," Ochoa said. “I’m happy with what I’m doing. I don’t see myself again on the LPGA Tour. It’s a tough schedule. I’m happy having a son and hopefully our family will grow next year." The Mexican star won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring at age 28 in 2010. She is back this week to play in her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational after missing the event last year before the birth of son Pedro in December. She also played in the Ladies European Tour’s French Open last month, tying for 22nd.
* Top-ranked Djokovic holds off Murray at ATP finals: In what is shaping up to be the new top rivalry in tennis, Novak Djokovic held off Andy Murray on Wednesday at the ATP finals in London. The top-ranked Serb got the big break when he needed it late in the third set and beat Murray 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the O2 Arena.
— From wire reports