By Dr Tom Dorsel, First Published in the Florence Morning News

I’m sure you have noticed how today’s television interviewers attempt to make tournament winners cry by catching them off guard with emotionally-charged questions, poignant pauses and even direct statements like, “I noticed you getting a little emotional out there today.” Many modern players understandably fall victim to these ploys.

Somehow I don’t remember this treatment being given to Arnie and Jack. They would answer a few terse questions and then walk off stoically into the sunset, like Johnny Unitas.

A modern-day version of these classic greats from the past is Dustin Johnson, the swaggering, gunslinger type – a real challenge for modern-day reporters. At the Masters, interviewers did everything they could to get him to cry, and finally Dustin accommodated their incessant prodding by offering them a “little bitty tear”, so as not to let them down (Thanks, Burl Ives). However, it was just not quite the big fella’s style!

I think the main reason for the media efforts to elicit crying is that emotions make people seem more human. Since today’s players seem so superhuman, emotions bring them back down to earth in the eyes of the viewers.

Crying also indicates a release from stress. I mean, “Certainly you were under stress out there, weren’t you Dustin?” Please start crying and tell me you were under stress and weren’t really as relaxes and loosey-goosey as you looked. You can’t be that much more in control of your emotions than the rest of us poor schmucks, can you?

I doubt if Bruce Lietzke would have cried. He viewed the Tour as a part-time job, playing mainly in the spring and fall to make enough money to be able to spend the summer at home with his family, coaching his kids’ baseball teams and tinkering with classic cars. He didn’t care much about majors, records, fame or even practicing. And, curiously, while others were grinding for victories, Lietzke won 13 times on the PGA Tour with his nonchalant attitude.

So what’s the takeaway from the above? Maybe to let players be themselves, attach their own relative importance to their successes and, and as Leslie Gore once sang, “It’s their party and they can cry if they want to”.

But they can also not cry if they don’t want to.

Dr. Tom Dorsel is author of GOLF: The Mental Game. Visit him on Facebook at “Sport Psychology of Hilton Head” and at

Frist published in The Florence Morning News, 12/4/2020