TROON, Scotland – Andrew “Beef” Johnston has turned into a bonafide star this week at The Open. His look, his nickname, his game. There’s nothing to dislike.
Johnson, playing in only his third major, will be in the penultimate group Sunday at The Open with Bill Haas at Royal Troon. They’ll be just ahead of Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson. Johnston has shot three under-par rounds (69-69-70) and is in fourth place, seven shots off the lead.
Shouts of “Beef!” came nearly every step of the way on Saturday. On Friday, galleries were waving hamburgers in Johnston’s direction. He could hear his 5-year-old niece, Summer, scream “Uncle Beef!” from yards away.
Johnston has enjoyed every moment.
But it wasn’t until late Saturday that the enormity of the moment hit him square in the face. Johnston was plugging away at 1 under on the round when he chipped in for birdie from short, left of the 13th green. The gallery went nuts, he tipped his cap and urged the masses to cheer louder all while bellowing out “Beef” for the next 30 seconds.
“I absolutely love it,” he said.
“I walked over and I could see my mom crying, which was even funnier. And that got me going a bit. I was like, ‘Oh my God, don’t look at my mom. Please, go over there.’”
It’s all fun and games until you see Momma crying. Then it gets real.