A week with Beef, part two: Andrew Johnston relaxed for new season

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston is refusing to put too much pressure on himself in 2020 after making his return to action at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

In the latest instalment of our three-part interview with the fans’ favourite, Johnston discussed his plans for the coming months and his expectations for the forthcoming season.

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Johnston missed the final few weeks of the 2019 campaign to be at home with his fiancé, Jodie Valencia, who gave birth to their first child in early December, with the world No 155 leaving his clubs in his bag for a large chunk of the extended break.

The 30-year-old only returned to practice in the New Year but still managed to post an opening-round 69 in Abu Dhabi, with Johnston taking a more relaxed approach to the early part of the year.

Speaking ahead of the event at his partnership announcement with PUMA Golf, Beef said: “I generally pick things up again pretty quickly, so I’m not too worried. For me it’s just a case of turning up, playing, and get back into it.

“The start of the year can always be a bit funny for the first two events, because they’re big events, but I’m not trying to put too much pressure on them really. It’s a long season so I don’t want to put everything on these next couple of events because they’re the first ones of the year.

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“I’m going to play Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and then play Oman and Qatar, but that’s about as far as I’ve really mapped it up to so far. Things can change so quick and I’ve never liked to plan too far ahead.

As it gets closer to Oman and Qatar, I’ll assess what’s going on and how the first two events have gone and I might want to add another here or there. I find it’s a balancing act with the schedule because it’s a long season and you’ve got to pace yourself.

“Sometimes you want to play another event and what a bit more match fitness, then there are other times where you want to take one out. It’s always trying to find that right balance between being ready to go but rested at the same time.”

Johnston slipped to world No 337 after a missed cut at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July but got back up the world rankings with tied-fourth finishes at both the Scottish Open and Italian Open, with ‘Beef’ hoping to build on that run over the coming months.

“I’d definitely love to have another win,” added Johnston, who won the Open de Espana in 2016. “Definitely like tp get that world ranking a bit lower. I made a good dent in that during the second half of last season, so it would be good to keep that going in the right direction.

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