There are many sounds you are likely to hear during a major golf tournament: the audible gasps as a tricky putt lips out, the hollering of the crowd when a crisp iron nestles inside six feet, and that persistently irritating tourettes-like shout of “Get in the hole!” after every shot. What you wouldn’t expect is the low rumbling calls of “Beeeeef”, which emanated around Royal Troon Golf Club during The Open in July.
Britain’s latest golfing hero Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, with his bushy Amish-style beard and stocky build, cut a striking figure on Troon’s gorse-lined fairways, but the 27-year-old conquered the crowds and the course with his own blend of skill and humour, before finishing in eighth place. Higher ranked, more stoic players met their match during the gruelling tournament but ‘Beef’ played the game in the spirit in which it was intended: relishing every second with a toothy grin wide on his face.
Those seeing Johnston in action for the first time were shocked by what they saw, especially from a golfer in such superb form, but the bus driver’s son isn’t exactly your average professional. After capturing his maiden European Tour victory at the Spanish Open in April this year, he happily announced he would celebrate by “getting hammered”: the Beef Train hasn’t stopped rolling since. He’s hosted livestream Q&A sessions from the pub, offering surprisingly insightful tips for a man with a pint in his hand; he’s backed up his meaty reputation by penning an endorsement deal with US steak house restaurant, Arby’s; and, continuing the theme, he’s driven a burger off the tee in explosive, meat-splattering splendour. No wonder his profile has skyrocketed from obscurity to cult-like status in months.
Johnston is quick to explain that he’s “just a normal guy who happens to play golf,” but his refreshing personality coupled with an excellent all-round game is something the sport has been crying out for since John Daly’s race was run.
In typical fashion, Johnston’s wedge, which has served him so well this season (including a chip-in birdie at Troon), has his favourite meat cuts engraved on its surface. But it’s a slice of this ‘Beef’ that the world of golf is so lucky to have.
Want more Beef? You can follow Johnston on Twitter here.