There is no doubt that in order to perform at the top of any individual sport you need to be a very strong-minded individual, but golf could well be the most psychologically demanding of them all. Andrew Johnston, better known as ‘Beef’, will attest to that.
Beef can pinpoint to a specific day the moment when something clicked in his mind and he had to press the reset button. “I finished a round one Sunday 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 Englishman opened up in a blog on his experience and shared it with the world. Johnston had everything; a meteoric rise to stardom with a number of impressive results on the European Tour, youth, fame, etc., but suddenly the demons appeared and clearly something was amiss.
Beef has been one of the most popular players among fans ever since he burst onto the scene. His unmistakable beard and ever-present smile have been his calling cards since he turned pro, which is why the golfing community was so surprised to learn of his experience. Perhaps that is why the Englishman felt he had to open up, to show people that nobody is immune to mental illnesses.
A survey carried out in the US media was the trigger that started Johnston’s downfall. They asked their audience who they would most like to see at The Open and Beef was second only to Tiger Woods. For a British golfer, there is nothing greater than playing in The Open Championship, it is an event they were brought up watching and it is sacred to them. The news was a lot for Beef to process and the pressure proved too much.
“The attention I got was just crazy. I didn’t realise the underlying pressure I was putting on myself to perform, to try and please thousands of people”, admitted the Englishman.
His rise to fame began in 2016, here in Spain. He won at the country’s golfing mecca, Valderrama, in extremely tough conditions. It was clear he had arrived and he was not going anywhere soon. To this he added a top-10 finish at The Open and quickly secured his PGA Tour card. It proved too much, too soon.
Thankfully, Beef has turned a corner. He enjoyed two top-10 finishes this summer at prestigious events with tough fields, the BMW PGA Championship and the Irish Open. In his personal life, always essential in these cases, he has found the stability he needed by getting married and having his first son. Add to this the help of a sports psychologist he started seeing when the demons set in and we can see why he is rediscovering his best form.
He is undoubtedly one of the biggest attractions at this ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid. He is a player that knows exactly what the fans want and knows how to give it to them. If you are planning to come and watch the tournament at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, be sure to follow him for a few holes, he won’t let you down.