It was not the 2017 that Andrew “Beef” Johnston was looking for.
Following a breakout 2016 that included his first European Tour win, the Englishman embarked on a dual PGA Tour/Euro Tour schedule … and it didn’t quite pan out. Johnston posted just one top 10 in 20 combined starts and was well outside the top 100 on the points list for both tours.
It may be just one tournament, but Johnston already has things flipped to a degree in 2018. After three rounds at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, he’s just three shots back and in a tie for sixth.
What’s with the sudden turnaround? Apparently, Johnston did some soul-searching after his difficult 2017 and came up with some key takeaways.
Here’s what he had to say about last year’s struggles after his third round Saturday, and it’s worth a full perusing especially because of Johnston’s refreshing honesty:
Last year was crazy and like getting distracted and things like that, and you don’t know it’s happened until you’ve finished the season, you’re off doing things and you’re burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, you know, you’ve got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work. I came out here a week early to Dubai and drove down. It’s been good prep.
• • •
I’m a social person. If you go out with friends or you get invited to something, I’ll have a beer, please, but I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest and it reflected in my golf and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.
Few out there are actively looking for Johnston to tone down his social nature, but he makes a good point in that if he wishes to play better monitoring that could be key.
So far it seems to be working. When queried what he would do after his third round, Johnston offered a low-key response.
“Just chill out, man,” Johnston said. “Going to go and relax. Probably watch Netflix for a bit, something like that and get some room service and relax.”
If he does win Sunday, though, will he let the 2017 version of Beef come back out for a day? You do you, Beef … but we’re definitely not against it.