Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston confessed that it was his inability to adapt to the new normal on Tour that led to him pulling the plug on his Betfred British Masters bid mid-round on Wednesday.
The popular Englishman was four-over to the turn during his opening round when making the decision to walk away from the Lee Westwood hosted event.
Johnston, who’s made no secret of his own mental battles in the past, admits that life within the European Tour’s bubble did little to put his mind at ease.
“I’m struggling to get my head around it all,” Johnston told the Guardian.
“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.
“I’ve been on-off saying I’m going to play, I’m not going to play, for months. I kept changing my mind. But 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 and not how I want to live my life.
“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. 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 I don’t really want to be here.
“I’ve learned 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.”
Johnston, who is of partial Jamaican descent, was born in London in 1989 to a working-class family. His father worked as a bus driver and his mother as a school dinner lady.
He started playing golf at the age of four with his father and siblings in a local pitch and putt course, and later joined the North Middlesex Golf Club, which is still his home club today. At 14 he was in The Middlesex Junior Squad and became a scratch player at 16.
Johnston turned pro in 2009 and then in 2016 he won a maiden European Tour title in 2016 at the Valderrama Open de Espana.
‘Beef’ immediately endeared himself to sports fans around the world in 2017 when he starred as a ‘taxi cab driver’ in a multi-award winning European Tour video clip also featuring Tour superstars Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson in helping celebrate the birthday of a young lad by picking-up he and his father up in a BMW courtesy car with young Aaron then meeting Martin Kaymer on the 18th green at Wentworth during BMW PGA Championship week.
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