Beef faces anxious wait to make the cut
Andrew “Beef” Johnston faces an anxious wait this afternoon to see if he has done enough to make the cut at The 146th Open.
After causing quite a stir while finishing eighth at Royal Troon last year, he is desperate to prolong his stay at Royal Birkdale but knows rounds of 69 and 74 leave him tantalisingly close to the cut line.
“I’m going to go back to the hotel and do a rain dance,” said the charismatic 28-year-old Englishman who went out in the first group on the course at 6.35 this morning and seemed to be coasting into the weekend before dropping two shots to par on the 17th to finish his second round on three over par 143.
With the weather set to deteriorate, it should be good enough, but maybe only just.
“I’m going to go back, put my feet up in front of the telly, and have a bit of a kip. I was up at 3.30am this morning, so I’m tired. I need to catch up on my sleep, maybe for two or three hours.
“It was tough going,” he added. “The wind changed from yesterday and it was definitely much tougher. It was wicked, but, again, I just didn’t play well enough. I hit too many poor shots. I battled really well, so to score seven at the 17th was really frustrating.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he added. “It is what it is. If I don’t make the cut, I didn’t play well enough, it’s as simple as that. But, if it turns a bit harder, and I get a bit lucky, great.”
For the last two days at Royal Birkdale, the starter at The Open has introduced Johnston, not as Andrew, but “Beef”, showing the rate at which his fame has spread over the last 12 months.
“I like it, man, it’s got a good ring to it.” he said. “He asked me both days if I minded and I said, ‘no, not at all.”
The simple fact is that “Beef” is now lauded wherever he goes.
“It started at Troon last year, that Saturday and Sunday was mad, and then it just kind of took off from there,” he said. “I remember going to Switzerland after The Open. Generally, they are quite reserved people, but I got on the first tee there and they were all screaming and shouting. It was crazy, man, not something I was expecting at all.
“It’s mad. Going to the USPGA, it was crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
This week “Beef” has had dinner with a group of American fans who crossed the Atlantic specifically to watch him play in The Open.
“They were competition winners,” he explained. ‘We went for dinner in Liverpool and it was nice to meet them and chat to them. It’s relaxing.
“I could have been sitting in my hotel room staring at my yardage book but that’s not me, is it?
“They’re proper nice people and, hopefully, they are having a really good time and are enjoying The Open. I know a few of them had to go and get passports to come over here. They’d never been outside America. We were chatting about the differences, and stuff, and I think they were really enjoying it.”
They will enjoy it even more if their favourite golfer makes the last two days.