Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the America's Cup, a Canadian Tennis leader, Glen Grunwald's unceremonious exit and Tiger's big year-end bonus.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to Team Oracle, which retained the America's Cup by winning eight consecutive must-win races in San Francisco Bay. After falling behind 8-1, they repeatedly out-sailed New Zealand, and the glory is theirs. All it took was 11 victories in a best-of-17, since Oracle had been penalized two races for being caught in the biggest cheating scandal in the event's 162-year history; one dead sailor, who perished back in May when one of the insane 130-foot-high catamarans that Oracle CEO Larry Ellision decreed be used for this version of the race tipped over; and boats so mind-bogglingly expensive that only four teams could afford to enter. But America's win-at-all-cost billionaires beat New Zealand's, and that's the bottom line. Congratulations, everyone. Well, not everyone.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to James Dolan and the New York Knicks for the unceremonious and unnecessary firing of general manager Glen Grunwald. The removal of Grunwald comes after a season in which the Knicks won more games - 54 - than they have in the past 16 years. And then they went two rounds in the playoffs, something they hadn't done in 12 years. Grunwald operated the franchise with an un-New York-like calm, hiring Mike Woodson to coach, finding a certain peace between Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire, trading away Jeremy Lin. Rather than fire him, Dolan should done the opposite and given Grunwald a contract extension.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to Michael Downey, the Tennis Canada CEO who is leaving to run the Lawn Tennis Association in Great Britain. Think of him as Mark Carney - the Canadian who heads the Bank of England - only with a chair umpire. This is a significant loss for Canadian tennis, which benefitted from Downey's organizational skills. Of course I'd be a little more worried for the immediate future of the sport in this country if Milos Raonic bolted with Downey - like Greg Rusedski did 18 years ago. There are dozens of talented sports administrators. There are far fewer people who can thump a 135 mile-per-hour serve. This morning, Raonic won the Thailand Open, beating top seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to the PGA Tour for making Tiger Woods its Player of the Year when nobody - maybe not even Tiger Woods - would have objected strenuously if the choice had been Adam Scott. Because so much emphasis is placed on major titles, and Tiger's the biggest reason for that, it might seem strange that Scott wasn't chosen for his masters win and two other top-five finishes at majors, and that tiger was chosen in a year that saw him shut out at majors - again, for the fifth straight time. But Tiger won five other tournaments, he won the most money and he is – officially - the Number One player in the world. He had the best year… he just didn't have it in the best places.