‘Beef’ gets ready to take a bite out of the competition

Andrew 'Beef'Johnston was paired with Ruud Gullit last year.
Andrew 'Beef'Johnston was paired with Ruud Gullit last year.

Stand by for rising decibel levels at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship when Andrew Johnston strides down the fairways of St Andrews.

Johnston, a.k.a. ‘Beef’, is probably the nearest thing golf has to a cult following at the moment after an extraordinary summer in which golf fans have been booming out his nickname whenever the 27-year-old Englishman gets within a sand wedge of them.

But it’s not just Johnston’s voluminous fuzzy beard or his unusual nickname that has excited the galleries.

He can play, and has had a brilliant 2016 to prove it, with his first European Tour win at the Spanish Open and excellent showings in the US Open, the US PGA Championship and the Open Championship at Troon, where he finished eighth.

Why Beef?

He explains: “When I was a kid, I’d grow my hair out.

“I’m quarter Jamaican, so it goes curly.

“So one of my friends said ‘look at your head, it looks like a big bit of beef.

“You’ve got a beef head.’

“And honestly it just stuck.

“Now everyone calls me Beef.

“I love it. It’s amazing.

“And it means so much to me.

“It started at the US Open, but things really went mad at The Open in July, and it carried on at the USPGA at Baltusrol last month. It was crazy. The crowds all week, everyone shouting ‘Beef’.

Johnston has played in the Alfred Dunhill Links twice and says he really enjoys the format.

“It’s different, it’s cool and you get to meet legends – sport, showbiz, Hollywood.”

In the Team Championship he has partnered two footballers, Alan Hansen in 2014 and Ruud Gullit last year.

It’s an event Johnston says he’ll be proud to be part of when he tees it up on October 6.

“I love the history of the Old Course, the views at Kingsbarns, but my favourite is Carnoustie,” he said.

“It’s tough, but I love the challenge of taking it on.”

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is the only professional tournament played every year over the Old Course.

The 2015 Championship was won by Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Admission is free for all spectators over the first three days with final day tickets on Sunday, October 9 available to purchase at the entrance.