Golf star Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston on his wife’s support when he started to ‘crumble and fall apart’

Virgin Radio

10 Jun 2024, 13:42

Credit: Getty / Virgin Radio

Pro golfer Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston told Chris Evans “I don't know where I'd be now” were it not for his wife’s support when his expectations of himself “went way, way out of control.”

Joining the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar following the release of his new book, Golf Is Hard, the sports star spoke about breaking clubs through fits of frustration. “Any golfer who says they've never thrown a club is lying,” he said.

Recalling one particular incident, he told Chris: “I remember, I had a horrible first day. I practised before I went out and played for the second round. And I was practising that first tee shot, and I was hitting them, same one, same one all the time. I got onto the tee and I hit it straight left, what I wasn't trying to do, straight into a hazard. Now my head's exploded because I was already wound up before I'd even gone out.”



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Saying that he “launched this nine iron” he explained: “I was like, ‘Well, we're not getting that one back.’ I looked at my caddy. He didn't say anything.

“He was probably thinking, ‘What can I say here? It's the first hole. His head's gone.’”

Beef added: “Then actually, my three wood went later on in that round.” 

The golfer turned pro in 2011 and his eighth-placed finish at the 2016 Open propelled him to international stardom and cult status. The same year he won the Open de Espana on the European Tour. He said: “I think when everything blew up, when you watch players and they get really big, they start winning maybe five, six tournaments, maybe a couple of majors, and then they hit that kind of fame level, but I'd won one event, and everything had blown up, and I was almost comparing myself to the best players in the world on that sort of popularity level, but my golf wasn't there.”

On the impact it had on him, Beef told Chris: “When you start looking back and realise… you miss a practice session and you stop doing what you're good at, and you do a little bit less, more pressure builds, because then you're not playing well. The expectations of myself went way, way out of control.

“I was playing some good golf. I mean, I finished mid-20s at The Open at Birkdale in 2017 and I walked off, and I was like, smashing the locker. And when I look back now, you go ‘Mid-20s in The Open?’ And it's like, a few shots, a few tweaks. So I completely lost total perspective.”

On the advice his wife Jodie gave him during this time, the pro explained: “My wife was the one who said, ‘Look, I think you need to go and see someone.’”

After contacting sports psychologist Steve Peters, Beef “worked with someone under Steve,” and said: “I mean, it was incredible, the insight, and basically broke down why I started to sort of crumble and fall apart. And once you sort of peel everything back and realise that the amount of expectation and pressure that I'd put on my own self, it was like, ‘No wonder I'm not playing good golf anymore, and I'm not in a good mood and I'm upset’ It was a real big learning curve, but without, without Jodie going to Steve Peters and getting that help, I don't know where I'd be now.”

Golf Is Hard by Beef Johnson is out now. 

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.