MADNESS! During the USPGA at Baltusrol, a bloke comes out of the crowd, takes off his shirt and says "Will you sign my chest?" I'd heard tales of women wanting their chests signed before, but men? I resisted. He says, "Come on, I've got a $100 bet riding on it." I demanded confirmation. He disappears for a bit, comes back with his buddy—a girl—who confirms she's on the other end of the bet. So I sign his boobs. Why not? At the WGC-Bridgestone, a girl wanted her skirt signed, hiked it up her thigh so I could reach it. A policeman is there, and he says, "Mr. Johnston, you don't have to sign that." I signed anyway. I'm in heaven, man. I'll pretty much sign anything.

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MY HAND WAS GETTING STIFF from writing "Andrew Johnston" so often. So when a little kid handed me a hat I just wrote "Beef," with a smiley face next to it. The kid jumped up and down. The next kid I signed for, same thing. I was on to something. Even geezers, they'd see the smiley face and wave it in the air and laugh. There's something about that smiley face, when people see it, nine times out of 10 they duplicate it on their faces.

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MY NICKNAME: I was 12 years old and walking down the 11th hole at North Middlesex Golf Club, which is still my home club today. A friend, Mark Kinsella, was walking up the 18th and, seeing me from a distance, shouted, "Look at you. It looks like you've got a steak on your head. A bit of meat. You've got a beefhead." By the time I got in, everyone was calling me Beefhead, which was quickly shortened to Beef.

Watch the video: How Beef Johnston Handles Instant Celebrity

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BEST NICKNAME, other than mine: Big Gravy, for Colt Knost. I wonder what he had to do to earn that.

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I LOVE MY BEARD and have had it most of my adult life, but the day is coming when it might have to go. My girlfriend, Louise, is constantly alerting me to bits of food that have been left behind, tangled in there. I'm paranoid about eating anything that leaves crumbs for fear of the remnants coming back to haunt me. We're headed to a Wing Fest next week, and I'm worried my face might be completely orange by the time we leave. Fearing these things is no way to live your life.

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OUT DRINKING ONE NIGHT, I decided to get a tattoo. At the tattoo parlor, I wrote out "Beef Head" for the artist, and next thing you know, the words are on my shoulder. Later I considered having it removed, but a friend said, "Are you crazy? Leave it there, always. It's who you are, man." I'm quite fine with showing it off. Want to take a look?

I'VE GOT TO LEARN TO PACE MYSELF. Early in the week of the USPGA, The Wall Street Journal took me on a tour of the best hamburger places in New York. Asked me to rate them. The first burger, at The Corner Bistro, I devoured. The second, at a place called The Spotted Pig, I ate all of it, too. These were big burgers, and now I'm full. The third and last burger was at Minetta Tavern. I ate half and was so stuffed I could hardly move. I really needed to lie down. Then my manager, Shaun Reddin, reminds me that we're now headed to Arby's, where I need to eat again because I'd just signed an endorsement deal with them. We get there, and they put this enormous brisket sandwich in front of me. I looked at that thing like I was 5 down with six to play. I ate half of it and got that far only because it was delicious. I didn't sleep that night.

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IN 2010, I WAS A NEW PRO and playing locally. I was living with my mom, wasn't getting better or making much money. One day I saw an advert for a job in London. It wasn't clear in the ad what the job was, something to do with consulting. I was so broke and desperate I went for the interview anyway. While I was drinking tea at a Starbucks that afternoon, they called me back and invited me to work a week "for training and experience." At that moment, a feeling in my heart told me to keep doing what I loved, which was play golf. I told the nice lady, "Thank you, no," and hung up. Life turns on little things, doesn't it? If I'd stayed on the phone one more minute, my pro career would have ended right there.

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THERE'S A VIDEO OUT THERE of me making a hole-in-one at the 2015 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and going slightly bonkers, running around the tee, chest-bumping a friend in the gallery and generally behaving like a game-show contestant. I was more ecstatic than most pros you see winning a hole-in-one prize, for two reasons. One, the ace won me a BMW M4, valued at well over £70,000. That's no ordinary car. Second, a month earlier, buying a good car would have meant making a down payment and financing a loan.

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WHILE SIGHTSEEING IN MOSCOW during the 2011 Russian Challenge Cup, I needed to visit a toilet. The nearest available place was inside a McDonald's restaurant. To go inside, you have to go through a metal detector. One of the neat things about Europe and the U.S., I think, is that you don't need to go through security to get a hamburger.

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A FEW QUICK IMPRESSIONS ABOUT AMERICA. One, people greet you when you do things like walk onto an elevator. I think that's brilliant. Two, the roller coasters are the best in the world. Three, you have drive-thru banking machines, which I'd never seen until I visited here. During the USPGA I drove through and withdrew $100 just for the thrill of it.

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TO USE THE DRIVE-THRU BANKING MACHINES MORE OFTEN, I need to play just a little better. My game is pretty good, actually. I drive it pretty long and very straight—I hit 26 of 28 fairways at a European Tour event a while back—and my iron play is solid, especially when I stand taller at address like my coach, Alan Thompson, tells me to do. My short game is good. But my putting is a little dodgy. I'm working like mad at it, and when it kicks in, I think I'll really go places.

‘The kinds of golfers I like to hang out with are ones who can spend a night at the pub conversing almost entirely in lines from “Caddyshack.” ’

AFTER QUALIFYING for the Open Championship in 2011, I was so obsessed I began having dreams about it. Make that nightmares. I'd played the course, Royal St. George's, many times, and in one dream I was on the first tee and couldn't hit the ball. One whiff after another, in front of a huge gallery. In another, I'm in a bunker and couldn't get out. The people are watching, and I'm embarrassed and helpless. When the Open came around and I got to St. George's, the first thing I did was go practice my sand shots. My sand game ended up being fine, but the rest, not so much. I missed the cut by 10.

Photo by Dom Furore

JUST THE OTHER NIGHT, I dreamed I found another player's cellphone in the locker room. I picked it up, swiped it and put it to my ear, just in time to hear someone yell, "Andrew!" At that instant, I woke up to hear Louise yelling my name, trying to wake me up. How does that happen, the climax of a long dream coinciding perfectly with someone shouting my name in real life? Weird.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 2014. Me, my friend Jason Mitchell and another guy are hanging out at this gorgeous beach. I head into the ocean for a swim and don't get five yards from shore when a strong riptide starts to pull me out to sea. Luckily I catch a wave and scramble back to land, but Jason lets the current take him well out into the ocean. Ten minutes go by, and I wave to Jason to make sure he's OK. He waves back—all is well. After another 10 minutes, we wave to each other again. But our other friend swims out to make sure Jason is safe. Now they're both out there, and after 30 minutes, it's clear they're having trouble overcoming the riptide even though they're swimming sideways like you're supposed to do. I'm helpless to do anything. After 45 minutes in the ocean, they make it in. Jason is so exhausted he can't stand and can barely talk. But the second his legs hit the sand and I knew he was safe, something about the situation—maybe it was seeing him humbled after being way overconfident—struck me as hilarious. I started laughing and couldn't stop, which Jason didn't exactly appreciate. Even today, when Jason and I are at the pub together, I laugh hysterically about it. Jason just frowns and stares at his pint.

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THERE I WAS CONTENDING at this year's Open Championship on Saturday at Troon—fighting for third place, anyway—when I chip in for birdie at the 13th hole. The crowd was very much into supporting me by then, and they're cheering wildly. I'm celebrating, just deliriously happy, when I look into the gallery. There I see my mom, and she's crying, overwhelmed by it all. They were tears of joy and pride, obviously. I briefly thought of everything she and my dad had done to get me here. We Johnstons are ordinary people—she's still a school lunch lady, and my dad, who passed away a few years ago, was a bus driver and worked at a timber company. My parents and older brother and sister always supported me. Anyway, when I saw my mom crying, I had to look away, otherwise I would have begun bawling, too. I had golf to play.

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THEN THERE'S MY NIECE, SUMMER. She's 5, and like my sister, is confident and has a big voice. She was in the gallery shouting, "Beef to the rescue!" like I was a superhero, which at the moment, maybe I was. Children are magic. For all the good times I've had, nothing beats sitting with Summer, reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears, adopting all the voices, being a kid myself.

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BEST TV SHOWS: "Family Guy," "The Simpsons" and "South Park." They're all animated and brilliant because they're able to bypass political correctness. The world has gone mad that way, hasn't it? The way teachers are required now to say "chalkboard" instead of "blackboard," things like that. When I watch "Family Guy" depict the English as having smashed-up teeth and stuffy accents, I die laughing because there's truth in it. It's a bit sad that to laugh at ourselves, we have to watch cartoons to do it.

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I WAS BORN IN 1989, and Tiger started his dominance in 1997, so you can imagine the impact he had on every kid of my generation. But I had another hero: Chi Chi Rodriguez. Seeing film of him doing his sword dance, entertaining people and being so comfortable in his skin, I thought he was amazing. So was the way he hit incredible shots with a swing that was all his own. It always surprises people when I tell them that Chi Chi is one of the people in golf I'd most like to meet.

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IT ALSO SURPRISES PEOPLE to learn that although I was playing in the group directly ahead of Phil and Henrik at Troon, I haven't yet played with either of them. Nor have I played with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or a lot of other top players. I've played in Europe mostly and in fact have played in America only a couple of times as a pro. I haven't gotten the big pairings yet, but I'm hoping that will change.

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THE RENTAL HOUSE we used at the USPGA had a basketball court. Basketball isn't the most popular sport in England, and I didn't play much of it growing up, but anything having to do with a ball, I'm pretty good. I had the ball near midcourt when a guy I didn't know said, "One shot for $100, and I'll give you 5-to-1 odds." I accepted, heaved the ball up, and swish, nothing but net. He paid and said, "Want the same bet?" You've got to give a guy a chance to get some of his money back, so I took another shot. This time I missed, but I can always say I've made $400 playing basketball.

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IF I WERE DR. FRANKENSTEIN building the perfect golfer, I would give him the hands of Seve Ballesteros. I would attach them to the arms of Ernie Els. I'd implant Tiger's waist and core, and probably his brain, too. Lastly I would give him the 'nads of Jack Nicklaus. My creation would win everything.

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THE KINDS OF GOLFERS I like to hang out with are ones who can spend a night at the pub conversing almost entirely in lines from "Caddyshack." Or better yet, dialogue from the best movie ever, "Step Brothers." Many a time I've said to a friend in my best Will Ferrell voice, "I remember when I had my first beer."

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WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, a friend and I got mugged by gypsies. The nastiest of the three said to me, "Give us your wallet and cellphone." I handed them over. The leader looked at the phone, which was 10 years old, and muttered, "This is garbage." And my wallet was empty. He then did something criminals rarely do: He handed them back to me. They didn't even bother hassling my friend, who looked every bit as broke as I was. With a look that said, You guys are even more pathetic than we are, they walked away.

‘The world has gone mad ... It’s a bit sad that to laugh at ourselves, we have to watch cartoons.’

THE STAGES OF DRINKING ARE AS FOLLOWS. First there is Relaxed and Social—think, normal people filling the bar at 6 p.m. Second stage is Let's Have One More. This is where the quality of your mates is established and you want more of a good time. Third comes Where Are We Going Next? That's when the mysteries of the night begin calling. Fourth up: Hammered. It's a full-on party, even when you aren't really celebrating anything. Fifth: The Really Drunk Guy. You start sentences with, "I'm being completely serious." This can be bad news. The sixth stage, the last and worst, is The Journey Home. Here you're tired, have advanced feelings of regret and just want to get to your bed.

IF YOU'VE SURVIVED The Journey Home, there's still the next morning to deal with. To cure a hangover, first open the windows and get some fresh air. Drink something fizzy and sugary. Then eat. Cold pizza or a bacon sandwich are ideal, but if they aren't available, hammer the cupboards for food, any food. Then, two Advil and plenty of water.

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IF YOU ASK MY GIRLFRIEND ABOUT ME, she'll tell you straightaway that I leave a trail in the flat. Socks, especially. She might mention that I tend to leave an unfinished cup of tea or a bit of food about just before we leave town, and how it's all moldy when we return. Don't press her, though—I wouldn't want her mentioning the bad parts.

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I'M VERY GOOD AT GETTING RESTED, and it doesn't seem to matter how much I sleep. I prefer 10 hours per night—I can go 12 hours, easy—but I can get by on as little as two.

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HOW LONG WILL BEEFMANIA LAST? During the USPGA, I texted a good friend back in England. I asked him, how did all this insanity happen? He replied with a smiling, laughing emoticon, as if to say, who knows? All I know is, I'm up for all of it. Love me, and I promise to love you back.

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