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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)


An object lesson in good sportsmanship was given by Alex. Murray, who was disqualified in the New Zealand Open golf championship last month after leading the field home by two strokes. Murray's offence was to have a practice putt at the eighth hole. When this act was reported by his companion, J. P. Horna-brook, disqualification came automatically.

There were more than a few of the spectators at the championship meeting at Hamilton, who deplored Horna-brook's action more than they did the breach of the rules by Murray, but, to the credit of the champion of two seasons ago, Murray took up a totally different attitude.

He had committed a breach—unintentionally—but the punishment was provided for in the book of rules.

To have won a championship only to lose it for what some may call a trivial technicality would upset the unruffled temperaments of most sportsmen, but it failed to disturb Murray, who has been the first to come out in defence of Hornabrook's action, in reporting the breach. Rules are made to be observed and this point was never more clearly made than by Walter Travis, an American golfer, who was almost ostracised in England because he insisted in the rules being carried out to the letter. At the time he was most unpopular but, to-day, he is remembered as the one golfer who did more than any other to see that the rules were carried out if they deserved a place on the book or abolished if they were not serving any useful purpose.

In most branches of athletic endeavour we find rules which do not seem to serve any useful purpose but, almost without exception, there is good reason for the rules being included in the book. Incidents forgotten by those who criticise have, more often than not, been responsible for the drafting of this or that rule and, as sure as night follows day, the rule will one day serve to remind a competitor that “it's not done.”

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