Beef: “I took being a golfer for granted, but I’m so glad to be back”

Returning to competitive action on the DP World Tour, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston is thankful for another shot on the game’s biggest stage and is determined to do more than ‘make up the numbers’.

It was so good to finally tee it up on Tour again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a great time doing the podcast and getting my broadcasting stripes, but nothing compares with that buzz of stepping onto the first tee on a Thursday morning, card in the pocket, knowing there’s a tournament on the line.

That first round back didn’t go exactly to plan – I was nervous, man, and the conditions were tough. At high altitude, the ball normally flies, but it was cold and windy and the course was seriously long (more about that in my piece on the ball rollback).

I didn’t hit the ball very well and the tournament was very quickly off the line for me! But that was to be expected and I didn’t beat myself up. Sometimes you come back and it just clicks immediately, like it did when I played Dubai in January, and other times it takes a bit longer.

Beef finished T38 on -7 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January.

I’ve got to be patient because I’ve played one event in two years, so just being back out there was a massive step and my hand felt good, which was the biggest positive of all.

I showed in the second round that I’m more than capable of competing on Tour and I was proud of how I bounced back. I’m definitely not just there to make up the numbers – I want to win again; I want to get back to the top of the game and play in the Ryder Cup.

Hands up, I took being a professional golfer for granted. I totally lost sight of what I was doing and why I was doing it. I allowed distractions to creep in and I just assumed playing on Tour would always be there.

I’m not suggesting anyone should be constantly fearing injury or worrying that their career could be over next week, but the last couple of years have taught me so much and made me thankful that I’ve got another shot at this. Not everyone gets that.

Beef is looking forward to getting back to winning ways on Tour.

I’ve been very lucky during my time out to have plenty to keep me busy, from the podcast to YouTube and broadcasting, but nothing beats the buzz of stepping onto 1st tee in front of a crowd with the chance of winning a golf tournament.

And seeing people! I forgot how much I missed that. The number of players and caddies who came up and said it was good to see me or that they were glad I was back – I don’t think I stopped smiling at the start of the week. The guys at the podcast asked me to send them some photos for socials and I realized I’d only taken one because I was just living in the moment, taking it in and enjoying myself.

I guess people’s reaction surprised me in some sense. Those relationships are just another one of those things you take for granted or lose sight of when you’re just going through the motions week in, week out.

Beef had forgot how much he'd missed being around people on Tour.

I think back in 2021 I was in a toxic state with the tour and some of the players. I remember I had a big row with Thomas Bjorn after a round because I thought he’d behaved unfairly in a group ahead of mine, so I gave him some shit while he was having lunch, and we had a big old row.

I hadn’t seen him until we wound up in the commentary box together at The Open this year and he was just like ‘oh f*ck that, we were heated, who cares?’ and we ended up having a laugh about it. I think it was just water off a duck’s back for him! That doesn’t mean I won’t ever let situations get to me again, but I have got a fresh perspective and I’m grateful for a second chance.

One of the few positives of such a long injury layoff has been how much Arsenal have improved in that time. Two years ago, I was the one getting abuse from other players about my football team. Matt Southgate had a bit less to say than normal and the Man United fans were all quiet!

Beef says that any 'beef' has now been squashed with Thomas Bjorn after working together at The Open.

But I’m taking my comeback very seriously. I mentioned in my first column that the outside distractions that got in the way before wouldn’t be happening again. I’m a different person and a different player.

The injury will dictate how I go about things, and I’ll be practicing much smarter. I used to come off the course a bit revved up or frustrated and go and hit 200 golf balls. There was no structure, I’d just be like a lot of you guys, just smacking balls, but I won’t be doing that anymore. Jamie (Gough, coach) won’t let me even if I try.

I had a good chat with one of the physios at the Ryder Cup and he couldn’t believe I didn’t know how many balls I hit in a day when I’m in the groove. He was like ‘How can you have a baseline of what’s good and bad for your body if you don’t know that?’

Now I’m working on that, trying to find the optimum amount and ensure I don’t push it. So, if you see me aimlessly hitting shots on the range, I give you permission to shout “Beef, stop bashing your balls!”

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About the Author

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston is a professional golfer who plays on the DP World Tour, host of Beef's Golf Club, and contributor to Today's Golfer.

Andrew Johnston – Professional Golfer and Podcaster

Andrew Johnston, better known as Beef, is a professional golfer on the DP World Tour who has also played on the PGA Tour and in three of the four men’s Majors.

The Englishman, who won the Real Club Valderrama Open de España in 2016, has his own YouTube channel and is the owner and co-host of the hit Beef’s Golf Club podcast alongside fellow Today’s Golfer contributor John Robins. He has also tried his hand in the commentary booth and in front of the cameras at both The Open and the Ryder Cup.

A huge fan favorite, Beef is a Cobra Puma player and is coached by Jamie Gough. Away from golf, he is a huge Arsenal FC fan and lives in Portugal with his wife Jodie and daughter Harley.

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