Moving Day at Aronimink: Phil Martelli, Ian Baker Finch and the Anheuser-Busch Chalet

Moving Day at Aronimink: Phil Martelli, Ian Baker Finch and the Anheuser-Busch Chalet

   
I had originally purchased general admission gallery passes for all four days at this weekend's AT&T National. While they proved more than fine for the first two days, I will admit, as I did after the first round, that the allure of the private chalets and lounges was more than getting to me. A chalet, at least when it comes to golf, is a large corporate tent with stadium like seating and a special, sometimes complimentary, food and beverage hook up. In the past, I would have referred to such a structure as a tent. I would have been wrong. Trust me, it's a chalet.

I woke up Saturday morning to a call from my friend Jon, with whom I had walked the course on Friday. Jon, as it turned out, had lucked into two extra passes for day three. These were no ordinary passes, however; these tickets came complete with access to the Aronimink Golf Club clubhouse, private parking lot F and the Anheuser-Busch corporate chalet, which just happens to overlook the 16th green. Jackpot.

After coming to the mutual conclusion that I drove the least expensive car in lot F, Jon and I boarded the next shuttle headed for the course. As luck would have it, so did St. Joseph's University Men's Basketball Coach Phil Martelli. After a five minute ride down St. David's Road, I was able to catch up with Phil once inside the grounds. When I asked him what he was looking most forward to since Tiger was already finishing his round by the time we arrived, he responded:

"I'm just hear to take it all in. I'm here for everything. This is a great golf event for a great golf city. Granted, when Tiger's here, it's not just an event, it's an event. But honestly, this has just been great for the city and I'm excited to be here."

It was nice of Phil to take some time to chat with Jon and I; and, from what I observed both on the shuttle and at the course, he was shaking hands and making small talk with literally everyone who approached him. I know I'm usually pretty hard on the Hawks as a product of a certain institution up on Broad & Cecil B., but I will have to make a point to be a little kinder to Martelli in the future. His team will not be so lucky.

After making a quick pass through the clubhouse, we made it down to the driving range where we met up with CBS Sports golf analyst and the 1991 British Open Champion Ian Baker Finch. He revealed to us that he was familiar with more than a few of the area courses and had the privilege of getting on a very important local track Friday. For any of you golf fans who are potentially worried about the Merion Golf Club being too short for the U.S. Open coming in 2013, Finchy assured us that the greens and the rough will be more than enough for the West East Course to hold her own when the time comes. At a mere 6,800 yards, the Golf Association of Philadelphia and the members at Merion sure hope he is right.

One other quick note about the practice grounds, I spotted the 2009 PGA Champion Y.E. Yang hitting balls at the far end of the range at about 1 p.m. I quickly checked the tee sheet and discovered that Yang had missed the 36-hole cut and had evidently stayed around to do a little bit of work on the weekend. I watched for a few minutes as he pured wedge after wedge into the valley below. To skip ahead just a little, I found myself back at the range hours later, hoping to catch a glimpse of Tiger or any other big name hitting balls after their rounds. Though, I never saw Tiger, I did see Y.E. Yang. Again. Still hitting a wedge. At 4 p.m. Three hours later. Amateur golfers should learn something from the only man to ever take a 54-hole lead from Tiger Woods on Sunday at a major, learn to hit a wedge before you go breaking out the lumber.

Finally, we made our way to what we had built up in our minds as the greatest place on God's green Earth: the Anheuser-Busch chalet at 16. And you know what? It was great. Though the beer was by no means comp'd, as we had hoped, the unbelievable convenience of having, food, beer and a bathroom within a few hundred feet was a welcome change to the miles of hiking I did on Thursday and Friday. A day in the shade with a brew and bar stool, it's like I said, jackpot.

With just one more day to play, Englishman and European Ryder Cup lock Justin Rose sits atop the lead by four shots at -10 after turning in an impressive 67 on moving day. The tournament is his to lose. Unlike Phil at Winged Foot, I'm betting he pulls this one out. But who knows, there are grand stands down the left on 18. 

Fairways and greens, Justin, fairways and greens.

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart (see full recap).

Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder over Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in his 28th triple-double of the season, and his new teammates fit in seamlessly as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 on Friday night.

Westbrook also had 18 rebounds and 17 assists for the 65th triple-double of his career.

It was the first game for new Thunder players Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, acquired Thursday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson scored 12 points and McDermott added eight, even though they arrived Thursday night and weren't even available for shootaround on Friday.

Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each set a career high with 19 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers (see full recap).

Pacers beat Grizzlies to snap six-game skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- CJ Miles made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Paul George had nine points and nine rebounds after remaining with Indiana following the trade deadline, and the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Monta Ellis finished with 16 points, Myles Turner scored 12, and Lavoy Allen, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young each added 10 for the Pacers.

The Pacers outscored the Grizzlies 64-42 across the middle two quarters and never relinquished their lead, leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor (35 for 84).

Troy Daniels had 13 points for Memphis and Marc Gasol scored 12. Indiana outrebounded Memphis 50-39 and scored 29 points off 17 Grizzlies turnovers (see full recap).

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench (see feature highlight).

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season, he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.”