Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston has revealed how struggling to adapt to sudden fame had a negative impact on his mental health.
The European Tour winner went from relative obscurity to international fame and recognition during the summer of 2016, when he charmed spectators with his down-to-earth demeanour during a spirited run at the Open Championship.
That was the start of a steep upward trajectory for ‘Beef’, which took him to the PGA Tour the following season.
However, his cheerful persona masked the fact that the 32-year-old self-confessed “normal geezer from Finchley” was finding all of the attention overwhelming.
In the latest edition of bunkered (issue 190), Johnston opened up on the challenges he has had to overcome in the past few years.
“When it boils down to it, I’m just a guy who’s gone from playing golf at North Middlesex with all of my mates, having a laugh and messing around to having pretty much everybody know who I am,” he said. “It just kind of happened. It wasn’t planned or anything like that, so I didn’t really know how to handle it.
“It kind of took me a couple of years to figure that out but I feel like I have. I know what it is and I understand it, which is why I’m way better now than I was.”
Many were surprised when Johnston went public with his struggles in a blog for the European Tour website in the summer of 2019.
However, as he told bunkered, mental health struggles can affect anyone.
“It’s not, like, one thing either,” he added. “What it is that affects you might not affect somebody else. There could be 100 different triggers for 100 different people. It doesn’t make one less real than the other.
“Like, it really annoyed me watching Piers Morgan have a go at a few of the tennis players on social media. It’s like, you’ve got no idea what they’re going through. What are you doing? Leave them alone. You’ve got no idea. I just don’t get that.
“What might seem completely stupid to you isn’t to somebody else, so why wouldn’t you just support them? Why would you try to belittle what they’re going through or try to bring them down?”
• Read the full interview with Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston in issue 190 of bunkered, on-sale now from all good Scottish newsagents and magazine stockists. Can’t find a copy? Take out a subscription and never miss an edition. International subscriptions also available.