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Tour medics helping 'Beef' Johnson with mental-health issues

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Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston. Photo: Getty

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston. Photo: Getty

Getty Images

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston. Photo: Getty

The European Tour's medical team are supporting Andrew 'Beef' Johnson after the Englishman withdrew from the British Masters after just nine holes due to fears concerning his mental health.

Johnson, the fan favourite, revealed this time last year that he had struggled so much with the pressures of life on Tour that he had gone back to hotel rooms and cried following competitive rounds.

The 31-year-old was advised by sports psychiatrists to take time away with fiancée Jodie and baby daughter Harley, and made notable strides on the road to recovery, returning to post two top-fives in the back half of 2019.

However, Johnson did not feel comfortable in the strictly controlled Covid-19 environment that greeted the pros when the Tour resumed here at Close House following a four-month hiatus and after playing his first nine holes in four-over walked into the clubhouse and withdrew.

"I've been on-off about playing for months - I kept changing my mind," Johnson said. "But actually 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 at this moment and not how I want to live my life.

"I've learned now 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 my golden rule now."

In his absence, Dale Whitnell, an old friend from Johnson's amateur days, is promising to pen a wonderful feel-good story.

Two years ago, the funds ran dry as Whitnell chased his professional dream and the 31-year-old from Essex was forced to take on a job as a courier.

But here he is after a second-round 64 in a tie for second on 10-under alongside South African Justin Harding, just one off the lead set by Italian Renato Parore.

Paul Dunne, the champion here three years ago, scraped into the weekend with a 70 yesterday, his one-under score for the tournament beating the cut by just a single shot.

He will be joined this weekend by Jonathan Caldwell, the Down man who impressed at Close House again yesterday, his round of 69 positioning him in a tie for 13th on six-under par.

There was no such joy for Cormac Sharvin (+1) or Gavin Moynihan (+7), however.

On the PGA Tour, West Waterford's Seamus Power continued his good recent form with an opening round of three-under 68 at the 3M Open in Minnesota, leaving him just three shots behind early leaders Tony Finau, Ryan Moore, Nick Watney of the US and China's Xinjun Zhang.

© Daily Telegraph, London

  • British Masters, Live, Sky Sports, 1.30
  • 3M Open, Live, Sky Sports, 7.30

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