Andrew Johnston opens up on Betfred British Masters withdrawal

Englishman felt uneasy in ‘bubble’ environment for Close House event

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston had only played nine holes when he withdrew in the Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle. Picture: Getty Images
Andrew 'Beef' Johnston had only played nine holes when he withdrew in the Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle. Picture: Getty Images

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston has admitted that his withdrawal from the Betfred British Masters during the first round was down to feeling uneasy with the post-lockdown environment.

The Englishman, who spoke last year about struggling with tour life in the past, played just nine holes in the tour's restart at Close House, near Newcastle, before calling it a day.

“I’m struggling to get my head around it all,” said Johnston of an event being played behind closed doors with strict safety protocols, on and off the course.

“One minute I’m coming out of lockdown, going out for dinner, and then the next I’m back in lockdown in a hotel room.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The 31-year-old added: “I’ve been on-off saying I’m going to play, I’m not going to play, for months.

“I kept changing my mind. But being here and being confined to the hotel, confined to the course and not being able to bring my family is ultimately not what I want and not how I want to live my life.

“We like to travel as a family and it’s just been very difficult to get my head around being stuck in those two places and then coming out and trying to compete. It just doesn’t feel right.

I tried to come up here but I was leaving it later and later. I came up Tuesday morning to try to be away as small a time as possible, but it’s not good prep for a tournament and it shows I don’t really want to be here.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“I’ve learned to be honest about it, whereas in the past I might have just swallowed it up. I’m not going to do that anymore. If I’m not happy, I’m not going to be here.

"That’s the golden rule for me now. If I’m not in a good place, or I haven’t got the right set up around me, then it’s not right for me.”

It is understood the European Tour's chief medical officer, Dr Andrew Murray, has offered assistance to Johnston.

“We offer all of our players a comprehensive programme to support their mental health and wellbeing," said the tour in a statement.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

"This includes a mental health support hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

"We are also aware that everyone has their own unique circumstances at the moment, which is why the 2020 season is an optional one for our players.”

The event in Northumberland is the first of six on a new UK Swing being played in a "bubble" environment.