COVID ‘unease’ behind Andrew Johnston’s British Masters withdrawal

Andrew Johnston

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston has explained what prompted him to withdraw from the British Masters after only nine holes of the opening round at Close House.

The Guardian is reporting that the Englishman abandoned the event – the first full European Tour event since coronavirus lockdown restrictions started to ease – due to ‘unease’ over the current situation surrounding COVID-19.

“I’m struggling to get my head around it all,” Johnston told the newspaper. “One minute I’m coming out of lockdown, going out for dinner, and then the next I’m back in lockdown in a hotel room.”

The 31-year-old revealed that he had considered not entering the tournament before ultimately deciding to give it a go.

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“Being here and being confined to the hotel, confined to the course and not being able to bring my family is ultimately not what I want at this moment and not how I want to live my life,” said Johnston, whose fiancée gave birth to their first child – a little girl – in December.

“We like to travel as a family and it’s just been very difficult to get my head around being stuck in those two places and then coming out and trying to compete. It just doesn’t feel right for me.

“I tried to come up here but I was leaving it later and later. I came up Tuesday morning to try to be away as small a time as possible, but it’s not good prep for a tournament and it shows that I don’t really want to be here.”

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Around this time last year, Johnston opened up on struggles with his mental health in a widely-shared and searingly honest blog for the European Tour.

He added: “I’ve learned now to be honest about it, whereas in the past I might have just swallowed it up. I’m not going to do that anymore. If I’m not happy, I’m not going to be here. That’s the golden rule for me now. If I’m not in a good place, or I haven’t got the right set up around me, then it’s not right for me.”

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