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.

NFL Notes: Luck has successful right shoulder surgery, owner says

NFL Notes: Luck has successful right shoulder surgery, owner says

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has undergone surgery on the right shoulder that's bothered him the past two seasons.

Colts owner Jim Irsay announced Thursday on Twitter that Luck was recovering from successful outpatient surgery. Irsay says Luck will be ready for the 2017 season.

Luck was listed on the Colts injury report throughout this season and missed several practices, with coach Chuck Pagano saying the team had a plan for keeping Luck healthy while he dealt with a sore throwing shoulder.

Luck missed two games early in the 2015 season because of the shoulder injury. He threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns this past season after signing a six-year, $140 million contract in June.

Roethlisberger chasing Brady 
PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger intended for the moment to be private. The camera following him to midfield and the microphone tucked inside Tom Brady's shoulder pads ended up making that impossible.

Their brief exchange before Brady and the New England Patriots visited the Pittsburgh Steelers in October provided a snapshot into a rivalry that never was. They bro-hugged. They lamented the left knee injury that forced Roethlisberger out the lineup on that warm late fall afternoon.

And then Roethlisberger made an uncharacteristic request : a signed Brady jersey to hang on the wall in Roethlisberger's home office next to Hall of Famers Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly.

"I consider him one, if not the best of all-time," Roethlisberger said.

A group Roethlisberger does not include himself in.

Not even with as many championships as Brady's longtime friend and occasional foil Peyton Manning (two). Not even with a spot in the top 10 in just about every major statistical category out there on Roethlisberger's still growing resume. Not even with a bust in Canton one day alongside Brady and the rest of the guys whose jerseys adorn the walls of his home almost assured regardless of what happens in Sunday's AFC title game.

The reason is simple: rings. Brady has four, including two he earned while carving a path through the playoffs that included victories in Pittsburgh in 2001 and 2004. Roethlisberger has two, neither of which required Roethlisberger or the Steelers to take out Brady along the way.

It's why Roethlisberger just shakes his head when asked if he's part of the "gold standard" label that he so eagerly attaches to Brady.

"Not as (his) level," Roethlisberger said. "Obviously, with all the Super Bowls he has."

This weekend provides Roethlisberger his best - and maybe his last - chance to do to Brady what Brady has done to so many others over the last 16 years. Even if the last thing Roethlisberger wants to do is get pulled into the "star quarterback vs. star quarterback" narrative that fueled so many showdowns between Brady and Manning through the years.

"It's obviously bigger than the two of us," Roethlisberger said. "I know he is used to it, with the Peyton Manning and Tom thing. This is two football teams that have won championships. Us going against each other is more than just one man. We aren't playing tennis. We are going out there to play a football game with 11 guys at a time."

Salute to service award finalists
HOUSTON -- Falcons coach Dan Quinn and Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva are the finalists for the NFL's Salute to Service Award.

The winner of the honor, presented by USAA, the official military appreciation sponsor of the league, will be announced during NFL Honors the night before the Super Bowl. Both Quinn's and Villanueva's teams, of course, are still in the running to play in that game on Feb. 5.

Quinn and Villanueva were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community.

Last spring, Quinn hosted a "Rookie Club Olympics" for which he invited 100 military members from Fort Benning, Georgia to the Falcons' training facility to participate. He created the event as a way for NFL players and the military community to unite and work together as a team.

"The military represents team on the highest level," says Quinn, who in his second year as Atlanta's coach and has it hosting the NFC championship game Sunday against Green Bay. "It's an honor to be up for this award that recognizes the standard of excellence set by our nation's military and encourages our community to give back and support service members and their families who serve our nation."

Quinn also stages a military day at training camp and hosts 20 military members at each Falcons home game throughout the season. He also provided an opportunity for families of fallen soldiers with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to attend the Falcons' Salute to Service game on Nov. 27. All 63 families attending were given a VIP visit at practice and were provided a one-night hotel stay in Atlanta courtesy of Quinn. Each player wore the initials of a fallen hero on his helmet during the game and during practice; the families were given a replica helmet of that player with a personalized note in honor of their hero.

Last offseason, Quinn led four Falcons players on a weeklong USO tour through the Pacific.

Villanueva grew up as a military child, living in the United States and Europe, where he played high school football. He then attended West Point, where he was a tight end, and was commissioned in the Army in 2010.

Promoted to captain in 2014, Villanueva was deployed three times. He received the Bronze Star Medal and the Bronze Star Medal for Valor for heroism in combat.

For the first time, NBC Sports regional networks add live, local Major League Baseball streaming

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AP

For the first time, NBC Sports regional networks add live, local Major League Baseball streaming

STAMFORD, Conn. – January 19, 2017 – NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced an agreement with MLBAM to stream local market MLB games, as well as pre- and postgame shows, beginning with the 2017 regular season. This new streaming offering is available at no additional cost to authenticated pay TV subscribers of NBC Sports Group’s CSN regional sports networks (RSNs). This local initiative advances NBCUniversal’s implementation of “TV Everywhere,” which strives to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home, and on multiple platforms.

CSN’s local streaming allows authenticated viewers in their respective markets to live stream games and related programming that is carried by their pay TV provider of the Chicago Cubs (CSN Chicago), Chicago White Sox (CSN Chicago), Philadelphia Phillies (CSN Philadelphia), Oakland Athletics (CSN California) and San Francisco Giants (CSN Bay Area). Game broadcast schedules will be announced at a later date.

“This is a home run for our local sports fans,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports Group Platform and Content Strategy. “We are constantly looking for ways to better serve our fans and provide comprehensive coverage of their favorite teams. With the addition of MLB in-market streaming rights, they don’t have to miss a pitch.”

The addition of MLB authenticated in-market streaming completes the local streaming portfolio for the NBC Sports Regional Networks, which also includes local NBA and NHL live streaming. The RSNs first introduced NBA streaming in 2014 and last fall announced the addition of NHL in-market streaming, beginning with the 2016-17 season. 

The NBC Sports Regional Networks now have partnerships for in-market streaming of the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s (CSN Bay Area/CSN California); Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (CSN Chicago); Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals (CSN Mid-Atlantic); Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Phillies (CSN Philadelphia); and Boston Celtics (CSN New England).

Authenticated CSN subscribers can access live MLB, NBA and NHL games, as well as other sports programming, anywhere in the United States.  During the 2017 MLB season, all in-market MLB games will be streamed on the respective local CSN regional network site on PCs as well as on the NBC Sports app—NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs. The NBC Sports app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.