Golf's new cult hero: Andrew 'Beef' Johnston

Andrew Johnston
USA Today Sports Images
Believe it or not, there was a time not long ago when Andrew "Beef" Johnston didn't have that distinctive beard.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, July 17, 2016 | 6:28 a.m.

Englishman Andrew Johnston -- better known as "Beef" -- has quickly become a golf cult hero.

If there's anyone having more fun on and off the course than Beef these days, we don't know who it is. He'll enter Sunday's final round of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon alone in fourth place at 5 under, seven behind leader Henrik Stenson.

Beef is most well known for a certain distinctive feature -- that crazy beard.

He's also becoming well known for his high-caliber play, which won him the Open de Espana earlier this season on the European Tour and earned him a spot in both the U.S. Open (T54) and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (T42).

RELATED: Johnston's niece critiques his beard | Johnston moves into top 5 after hole-out

Can you even imagine the party Beef and friends will have should he somehow come from behind to win the game's oldest major?

We're talking about the same guy who went viral on the internet when he said this after winning in Spain in April:



And, as this video shows, he's a man of his word:



Beef took some heat for the "get hammered" quote. Is it the most responsible thing to say? Probably not. But can't you cut a 27-year-old who just had the biggest sporting moment of his life a little slack?

This is a guy who takes his nickname seriously. You can find all kinds of "beef" emblazoned on his wedges:



And how did he get that nickname?

Golf Channel's Will Gray uncovered that answer in this terrific profile:

Ironically enough, the Beef nickname has nothing to do with eating. When he was growing up, one of his friends noted that his bushy mane of hair resembled a slab of meat, and he started calling him “beef head.” The nickname stuck, and now it’s permanently emblazoned on Johnston’s left shoulder – the product of a few too many pints one night as a 16-year-old.

That said, he can eat beef quite well too, evidenced by what he did to this 32-ounce, Kobe tomahawk steak recently in Akron:



Back to that beard, which Beef has been growing since last September.

According to Gray's piece, Beef had every intention of shaving it off following his win in Spain. That's until he read some social media comments like this one: "Your beard is bad for the game of golf."

Beef told Gray he decided in that moment, "Well I’m just going to keep it now."

The look may not be everyone's cup of tea, but how can you knock a guy for being comfortable in his own skin and having a distinctive look?

Keep doing you, Beef. 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.