Andrew 'Beef' Johnston - Anxiety Tore My Golf Game Apart

The Englishman pulled out of numerous tournaments due to his struggles with anxiety

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston - Anxiety Tore My Golf Game Apart

The Englishman pulled out of numerous tournaments due to his struggles with anxiety

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston - Anxiety Tore My Golf Game Apart

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston opened up about his mental health issues earlier this year in a European Tour player blog, with the Englishman revealing his struggles to compete and even enter tournaments due to mental heath troubles.

Beef is one of the most popular players on Tour and it quite simply became too much for him, and his open and honest insight on his struggles will likely have helped many others who are dealing with anxiety.

The 2016 Spanish Open champion, in an interview with Soccer AM's 'Tubes', told of the anguish his mental health was causing him and his golf game.

It led to numerous tournament withdrawals and ultimately forced him to briefly step away from his career to get help.

"Definitely speaking about it has really helped and I’ve always said it how it is anyway, so the reason I took time off earlier in the season was because I wasn’t myself," Beef said.

"It wasn’t affecting me when I was away from the golf course, I was fine, but as soon as I stepped back on to the golf course or thought about tournaments, the anxiety and the worry about golf tournaments, I couldn’t play.

"So I pulled out of a load of golf tournaments last minute, I don’t know why but I just couldn’t be there.

"I think not knowing why, was frustrating me the most about it.

"Then it kind of played on my mind.

Related: Chris Kirk returns to the PGA Tour after alcohol and mental health struggles

"My fiancée Jodie helped me, and she found a psychologist and once I started to work with him, things just began to make sense after a while.

"I didn’t realise after 2016, going to America in 2017 with the build-up and the amount of pressure that I put on myself was just crazy.

"I was expecting to go there and just win tournaments and you’re thinking ‘if you don’t, people aren’t gonna like you’. So much pressure.

"Then I came back after about five months and played at Wentworth and finished around 20th, 20th at The Scottish Open, mid 20s at The British Open, and I walked off the course every time just thinking ‘Another crap week. Another bad week. Not good enough’, and all of a sudden, my mindset had changed.

"They were good weeks and it was only a couple of shots for a top 10 in some of the best fields that you’re going to play with the best players.

"So really, they’re good weeks, but I was looking at it like another bad week.

"I had a lot of change last year, a change of coach as well and after all then all of a sudden I was like ‘What’s going on here, everything has just changed’, and I just couldn’t understand why.

"When you dig into it and think it’s all that pressure, it makes sense now, why I was feeling like that.

"The pressure you put on yourself never goes because that’s the nature of sport, you want to compete, you want to win tournaments.

"I was worried about what people think, I felt like I fell massively in America, so all of a sudden that mindset just changed and I was just beating myself up slowly over a period of a year and a half without even realising.

"I wasn’t myself on the golf course, I was miserable, I was angry, I didn’t want to be involved with the crowd, I just wanted to get away from it.

"Away from the course I was fine, we could go out and have fun, go for dinner, whatever – fine. As soon as I started thinking about golf and even building up to a tournament, I just wanted to smash something and I was angry already before I even went to the tournament."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV