Monday, September 24, 2012


As the DAC squash season kicks off, so does the PST’s (Pro Squash Tour’s). We now have a vested interest in the PST since running their end of season championship in May as we have signed on to host their major event - the World Championship - for at least the next 3 years. So I thought it would be the perfect time to pass on what PST has been doing over the summer to prepare for the year – and it wasn’t sitting on the beach sipping cocktails.

Firstly, let’s cover the players. After all, they are ones we spend money on to watch and get to socialize with. On a sad note, John White is no longer part of the PST tour. I am personally miserable about this because John was always one of my favorite players to watch all time (even when he was on the PSA) with his power, unorthodox shot selection, and pure entertainment value. A great personality on court, and just as delightful off it, he will be sorely missed at the DAC next year.

The reason behind his absence lies with the ban the PSA (Professional Squash Association) still have in place. As I have previously written about, the PSA do not allow any member of their association to participate in any PST event. The ban is ridiculous enough, but the PSA have managed to take it one step further. They have also forbidden non-PSA members associated with PST from competing in their tournaments too. John White is the head squash professional at Drexel University. Drexel University is set to host the US Open in October – a major PSA event. John would be expected to play in the event as a ‘local’, meaning that even though he is not a PSA member, he could enter the qualification draw. However, his association with PST prevented him from doing so. It would be difficult for someone of his caliber – understandably – to host such a prestigious tournament in his own club and not be able to play in it. Hence, his forwarded a statement to PSA announcing his ‘retirement’ from PST in order to be allowed in the draw. 

Now, as far as I can see, there is nothing stopping John from jumping straight back onto the PST tour straight after the US Open, except for the fact that Drexel will be hosting the event until 2014. John can’t exactly ‘retire’ annually from PST – even the PSA will see through that scam.

But all is not lost. As one big draw card falls, another takes its place. Recently, PST signed on Frenchman Thierry Lincou. Don’t know him? You should. Lincou was ranked inside the top 10 for over 10 years straight, reaching world number 1 in January and February of 2004 and for the entire 2005. He won 11 French National titles and the World Open in 2004. He makes his PST debut in Cleveland in October, where once again I hope that I will not be his first victim.
Joining Lincou is another Frenchie – now Italian – Stephane Galifi. His highest PSA ranking was 40 back in 2005. I have seen Galifi play, and he is an amazingly smooth and gifted athlete. His signing has not come without controversy, however. Galifi no longer plays on the PSA not due to the PST ban, but because of breaking the rules. The drug rule. Twice now, he has been caught with marijuana in his system. Even though it is not a performance enhancing drug, it is still an illegal one and it bought him a 2 year suspension from PSA. As much as PST promotes good behavior amongst its players, promotes professionalism within the ranks, this signing does come across as little strange. Galifi is a very affable fellow. But is PST (who do not drug test their players) endorsing this kind of conduct? It has sparked a heated exchange on the squash forums. Joe McManus’ response to the contentious issue: “One of my roles with Pro Squash Tour is to ensure each player enters the court with a fair opportunity to compete.  PST rules of conduct on court are the strictest in the world and will continue to be so.” Is there a ‘hidden’ warning in there somewhere? Either way, PSA’s loss is PST’s gain on this one – a top quality squash player virtually was handed to them.

Stephane Galifi with the winners trohpy at the
Atlanta Open in 2005
There is also one other signing to be announced, but who it is still remains a mystery. All I can say is the lad is from New Zealand, and he is scheduled to also play in Cleveland. I will presume he’s accomplished, but not stronger than Lincou... there aren’t many of those walking the earth anyway.

The other important measuring stick to see if the PST tour is growing is the amount of tournaments and money on offer. Joe McManus is pushing hard to expand the tour internationally. He did spend time in Europe over the summer and although there aren’t any tournaments yet listed in that part of the world, word has it there is a good chance an event or two could pop up sometime this year. Last season, there were 17 events through the USA, this year, there are already 23 tournaments listed on the calendar, and 6 of those will be in Asia – three in Vietnam, one in Taiwan, one in the Philippines, and the other in Thailand. The winner of the Asian circuit will earn a berth in the World Championship in May 2013 – right here at the DAC. Joe McManus predicts there will be close to 30 tournaments by season’s end.

On top of that, PST will be launching Pro Squash TV at the event in Cleveland in October. It will be a free service, and you will be able to watch matches on – not at every PST event but at selected major ones (including ours). It promises to have archive footage and special features (whatever they may be). It should be a significant step up from last year’s internet coverage which will only increase the exposure of the players and sponsors.

All this adds up to a bigger and better event for the DAC come May 2013. A higher quality of squash plus higher a quality of coverage. You have all heard the buzz about the event we held this year, and membership support is vital. Without it, the tournament simply wouldn’t happen. Although sponsorship levels have not yet been finalized, please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring for either for 1 year, 2 years or even all 3. Be a part of this magic and making the DAC the focus of the squash world and the growing PST tour.

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