Beef opens up on mental health struggles

Andrew Beef Johnston 1

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston has shared details of the mental health problems that have dogged him over the last 18 months in the European Tour’s latest player blog.

Beef, 30, became a cult figure amongst golf fans around the time of the 2016 Open on account of his distinctive look and his friendly demeanour.

However, he struggled to cope with his new-found fame and hit rock-bottom after splitting with his long-term girlfriend, coach and caddie.

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Now back on an even-keel, and expecting his first child with his fiancée Jodie, he has lifted the lid on the struggles he has been through – struggles that saw him miss seven weeks of the season last year and contributed to him tumbling to 324th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

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“I was angry, I was wound up,” he revealed. “I just thought it was the golf. I didn't realise what was happening. It felt like every week was really tough. I was fighting. I was trying to practice more, do more, and I didn't realise that I was just slowly burning myself out.

Andrew Johnston 2

“I came off the course on Sunday at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November [2018] and couldn't even bring myself to go get my clubs from the locker. I just left them. I went straight back to the hotel and just cried.”

The turning point for Beef was when he started working with psychologist Ben Davies. Together, they traced the start of his problems back to his decision to start playing on the PGA Tour in 2017

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“I had an amazing year,” he added, “but if I could do it again, I would do it very differently.

“You've got to remember, I'm a normal geezer from Finchley. Next thing, I see a poll over in America asking fans, ‘who are you looking forward to seeing more?’. I was above Tiger Woods.

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“I was thinking, what is going on? To get your head around that is very tough, and then came the pressure I put on myself to perform.

Andrew Johnston 3

“At some of the tournaments around that time, the attention I got was just crazy. It's my nature to take pictures with fans and sign autographs. I'm a friendly person, a caring person. I want to take a picture with a kid who asks me, sign an autograph, sign a ball and make their day and let them have a good day.

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“But it happened so quickly, I didn't know what was going on.”

Beef says that it is still early days in his comeback but he is feeling optimistic about the future.

"The goal now is to get back playing majors. Play all the biggest and best events like the Rolex Series this week and next week, play against the best players in the world and to test my game against them again. But also to enjoy it as well."

• • TO READ BEEF’S BLOG IN FULL, CLICK HERE

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