December 19, 2017. Washington, MO- The International Racquetball Tour’s (IRT) Board Members have voted in favor of a new tournament play format that will be in effect at the start of the new year. A 7-1 vote approved the motion to change the Tour’s current format of playing a best of five, each game to 11 and a tie-breaker going to 15, to the new format of playing a best of three, first two games to 15 and a tie-breaker going to 11. This new format will start January 1, 2018, and will be in effect at the L.A. Open in Canoga Park, California.
IRT Commissioner, Andy Kulback, said this format is the result of a collaborative effort from the IRT Board Members to make matches more exciting for fans and better for players. “These matches should provide more entertainment for the fans and less court-time for the players, which can really benefit them,” Kulback said.
IRT CEO, John Scott, said this change will help align the tour with the rest of the industry as well as with our doubles scoring format. It also makes the overall match time a bit quicker and could even result in more upsets as it is easier to win two games against a top pro than three.
“If you think about it, in the entire 22 history of the US Open there has not been a single tie-breaker in the finals, and only four or five four game finals on the IRT,” Scott said. “It is our goal that this change will result in faster play and even more exciting racquetball action!”
Additionally, the IRT Board unanimously voted to institute line judges on an “as needed basis”. While instant replay will still be used as the primary option, the use of line judges will be incorporated depending on the availability of camera angles, and the physical setup of the venue.
Scott said the line judges are being implemented to provide more options for the referee during play. “We want to do everything we can to get the call right. The sport is very hard to ref from any position,” Scott said. “Providing line judges gives the ref more tools to get the call right.”
Kelly R. Diesel