Andrew 'Beef' Johnston has become well known for his gregarious personality out on tour, but the 30-year-old recently revealed a different side to himself in a blog post for the European Tour.
In the post, Johnston, who shot into prominence with a win at the 2016 Open de Espana and a top-10 finish at that year's Open Championship, details some of the personal struggles he's dealt with in the years since.
After breaking up with a long-term girlfriend, splitting with a swing coach and having his flat broken into in 2018, Johnston writes: "I was angry. I was wound up. I just thought it was the golf. I didn't [realize] what was happening. It felt like every week was really tough. I was fighting. I was trying to practice more, do more, and I didn't [realize] that I was just slowly burning myself out."
After after a T-27 finish at the Nedbank Challenge last November, he didn't even retrieve his clubs from his locker. "I went straight back to the hotel and just cried," he wrote.
It was a similar story when he nearly walked off the golf course a few weeks later at the Australian PGA: "I hit two bad shots, and I couldn't mentally handle it at all. I had no idea what was going on. I was so angry, so wound up, which is really unlike me. I came off there and cried. I knew then that something wasn’t right."
Johnston would break up with his caddie a short while later, believing it was unfair to the continue the partnership in light of his struggles.
After some time off from competition, he began working with a sports psychologist and starting thinking about how his life changed back in 2016, given his sudden surge of popularity, particularly in the United States.
"You've got to remember, I'm a normal geezer from Finchley," he wrote. "Next thing, I see a poll over in America asking fans, ‘Who are you looking forward to seeing more?’ I was above Tiger Woods.
"I was thinking, 'What is going on? To get your head around that is very tough, and then came the pressure I put on myself to perform."
Johnston says he's now learning how to how to process his desire to please his fans without it becoming a burden.
He also recently announced that he and his fiancee, Jodie Valencia, are expecting their first child.
"With Jodie, we're constantly together, so to have your best mate with you all the time is wicked, and golf is just a small part of it at the end of the day. I didn't [realize] that before," he wrote.
"As long as you've got your family and friends and you're healthy, they are the most important things, and we are so lucky to be able to do this as a job. It comes with demands, but every job does. It's just a learning curve."