The USA’s ‘best of 3’ format for Singles 501 is due for an overhaul. Most will agree that winning a longer format match (i.e. best of 5, best of 7, or more) requires superior skill, relies less on good fortune, and it is a better indicator of the top player in that match. If this is so obvious, then why don’t more US tournaments have long format Singles 501?
Many people are unaware that the ADO neither mandates, nor limits, the format of Singles 501 matches in ADO sanctioned tournament play. The singles format is left entirely up to the local tournament director. So, if the best of 3 format is not mandated by the ADO, then why don’t tournament directors extend their format (i.e. best of 5 in the early rounds, then progress to best of 7, and finish with a best of 9 format)?
A primary reason is that most tournament directors lack experience in running long format 501 singles events and they’re unsure of how this would impact their tournament schedule. So rather than take a chance and suffer potentially negative consequences, these tournament directors continue running what they’re comfortable with……a best of 3 format. (A minor exception to this rule are WDF sanctioned 501 singles events.)
It is my belief that if enough people spoke with a tournament director long before a tournament is held, it is quite possible that the tournament director might consider running longer format 501 singles events. They may take baby steps at first (i.e. only the semi-finals and finals with extended formats), but at least it is a step in the right direction.
If we want to see this change in 2012, the time to write to tournament directors is now. Seek out the tournament director contact information on the tournament flier and send them an email requesting a longer format Singles 501 event in 2012. If you convince several people to do this, you might be surprised at the outcome.