Andrew 'Beef' Johnston Opens Up On Mental Health Struggles

The Englishman has detailed his mental health issues amid a rapid ascent to fame and persistent injury problems

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston takes a shot at the 2023 Dubai Desert Classic
Andrew 'Beef' Johnston has opened up on his mental health struggles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Andrew ‘Beef Johnston has opened up about his mental health struggles following a rapid ascent in the game that made him a crowd favourite on both sides of the Atlantic.

After winning his maiden DP World Tour title in the 2016 Open de Espana and finishing T8 at The Open the same year, Johnston's new-found fame took a toll, and in 2019 he revealed his mental health struggles, which led to him pulling out of tournaments.

Now, the Englishman has spoken to former Wales soccer star Robbie Savage about his struggles, for the DP World Tour, in support of the BMW PGA Championship’s charity sponsor, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

Johnston explained that, in the early days of his fame, he put too much pressure on himself to perform alongside the game’s biggest names. He said: “All of a sudden, I would stand on a range next to your Rory’s or Ricky Fowler’s, whoever it was, and I'd be like, ‘this is ridiculous, I'm not supposed to be here’.

“The pressure I put on myself after that and I had to try and win every week, which is just so unrealistic. But I didn't know that was happening. So, the more pressure I've put on myself, the worse I played, the more wound up I got, the more pressure I felt because I wasn't performing. It was like a big sort of rabbit hole or spiral, you could have called it, to the point where you couldn't get me on a golf course.”

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston with the trophy after his win in the 2016 Open De Espana

Andrew Johnson's maiden win came in the 2016 Open de Espana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Injuries also took their toll, including to a thumb sustained in November 2021 that sidelined him for over a year. Eventually, he made a comeback in January’s Dubai Desert Classic and performed well, making the cut before eventually finishing T38.

However, his return to the game didn’t last long and he underwent surgery the following week in Singapore.

Following that surgery, Johnston is now close to a comeback, but he revealed it initially left him questioning whether he would play again. He said: “There have been periods of time, especially after I had surgery in Singapore where you question, are you going to play again?”

He also revealed his time in Singapore led to his lowest point while in his hotel room. He continued: “I remember we were on the 19th floor, and something had rattled me, and I was in a really dark place and the thoughts start popping into your head and it's like, 'what would happen if I just jumped off? What would happen?'”

Johnston credits his wife, Jodie, with helping him emerge from those struggles. He said: “She has been amazing, so so understanding. Without her, I don’t know where I’d be."

Johnston also said advice from renowned sports psychologist Steve Peters had helped him too. He explained: “We had a few chats, and it was a case of breaking down and sort of rewiring my brain and understanding what actually happens. I felt like a big weight had been lifted and they told me something really, really interesting. I'll never forget it.

“Quite morbidly, they said, you're lying on your death bed, what do you want to be remembered by? I just said, 'I just want to be Beef or Andrew, whatever, hang out with my mates, be that silly funny character. Have a laugh, have a good time, be remembered as a nice person'.

“He went, 'you didn't mention a golf tournament'. And I was like, no I didn't. He was like, 'it's not that important, is it?' It gave me a big slap of reality and that's stayed with me forever.”

If you’re struggling, you can talk to CALM in confidence on 0800 58 58 58 (UK) or through their webchat. CALM’s trained support workers are available from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year, providing free practical support and advice, whatever you’re going through. To find out more about CALM, their services or for support and advice, please visit:

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.