Ahead of his third appearance at the U.S. Open, Andrew Johnston sat down to tell us about what it's like to be "Beef" out on Tour, how his ranks his career so far and how here's preparing for a big summer.
It's been a rollercoaster ride. From turning pro in 2009, to making it on the European Tour in 2012, losing my card and then bouncing back on Tour and winning, it's been crazy. I don't often take time to reflect but I'm proud of what I've done so far but I know I have lot left to achieve.
To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed that I’ve only won once on the European Tour so far. I look at it both ways though. Given all the recent craziness and chaos, it's hard to deny that must have had an effect on my performance. I’m just trying to be patient, learn from all the experiences I'm going through, accept that I’m bubbling away and my game is improving. I don’t think my best golf is far away. I have to keep grinding and putting the work in but I feel a lot better about the way things are going.
The only mental note I have in my head is "work hard". If I do that I can go to course care free and feel like I’ve got nothing else to worry about. I've played all over the world, on different Tours and at every level, I know how stiff the competition is out here and there's no shortcut to winning or being successful. It takes hard work. If I put all my effort in but still miss the cut then so be it, because it is what it is. There is nothing else you can do. I'll have no regrets that I didn’t spend the extra time on the range, in the gym or on the putting green.
With that in mind, the first half of 2017 was exactly that. A regret. I wasn’t seeing my coach enough and I was getting into bad habits. I was in America, doing lots of different things and not devoting enough time to my golf. I put myself in a position where I felt like I was playing catch up for the middle part of the season. That's not where you want to be.
It sucks going onto the golf course knowing you haven’t put the time in that you have in the past. It's a bad mental approach. If you can flip it the other way and come off the course knowing you’ve worked really hard, put in the work - leaving everything on the table - even if you don't have a great week you can roll onto the next tournament knowing that it’s just a matter of time. You’re on the right path to better scores and better results. When you don’t, it’s almost like you’re hanging onto a score - playing defensive golf and scraping by. I learnt that lesson last year.
The support I have around the world is surreal. It's crazy. Everywhere I go people recognise me and come up to me. I would have never, ever dreamed of having such love and support from all ages - it’s absolutely mental. The one that really struck me was Switzerland in 2016. The fans were all screaming “BEEEEEF” and I was taken aback. The Swiss are usually pretty relaxed and reserved fans so seeing them shout and chant my name was pretty cool. I sit here now thinking “how has this happened”, “why has it happened to me?” - it’s just crazy.
We’re all so lucky to be doing what we’re doing, playing golf for a living. No matter if I’ve had a good day or a bad day I’m appreciative of the support from everyone. It’s just 10 seconds of my day, whether it’s a selfie or an autograph. It’s something I’ll always do because I appreciate all the support. It's important to me to give back to fans that come out and follow me. It doesn't take long and means the world to them. It makes me feel good too so it's win-win.
I learnt a lot of those values from my dad. He had a huge impact on me and my golf. He introduced me to the game as a member of North Mid as a nine year old. From that point he was heavily involved with the juniors at the club. He would organise events, coaching and just be around to encourage us as kids to play and enjoy golf. Now I'm old enough and able to, I try and do the same. The game has been so good to us, the friends we have. It's such a social game where I'm from. It was so welcoming for me growing up, like a big family at the golf club. That’s what I want to help create.
That's not just in the UK either. One of my big dreams is to impact golf in Jamaica. I have family there and have been a few times. I would love to get involved in encouraging people to play golf there and benefit from the things that golf create. Like everything these days, it's about trying to fit it in between tournaments but it is definitely a goal of mine to go over there and help set things up whatever way I can. Look out Jamaica!
It was cool getting the chance to give back last week with Ian Botham at our Beef vs Beefy challenge. It had been planned for months then on Monday I had to try and qualify for the U.S. Open. Luckily I played well and qualified and the next day I was playing 18 different holes in 18 different counties in one day! I was tired after 36 holes on Monday but I couldn’t cancel. Everyone put so much work in for so long, for such a great cause. It was crazy. It was such a crazy day starting at 05.15am at Rockliffe Hall to finishing at North Mid at 10.30pm, it was an incredible day. The clubs had food and drink prepared everywhere we went and cheered every time we finished a hole. It was a special day and we raised a lot of money, which made it all worthwhile. We’re already talking about doing it all again next year.
And now here I am, prepping for the U.S. Open.
A year ago, I arrived at Erin Hills feeling good and played pretty well. This year isn’t much different. It’s been a bit of a strange schedule only playing one week in nine before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. I've played a light schedule to help recover from a shoulder injury I had last year and ensure I'm right for the bulk of the season. I've put in a lot of time on the range and in the gym and I'm feeling good. I can't wait for this week and the rest of the season. I'm excited. I'm ready.