skills in the pole vault after clearing 19 feet, 1 inch. He’ll go against defending world champ Shawn Barber, a graduate of Kingwood Park High near Houston, and Olympian Logan Cunningham of Texas State. As an added treat, UT freshman Elena Bruckner, who ranks fifth nationally in the shot put, will sing the national anthem on Friday. Online ticket-buyers get a $5 discount. All-sessions tickets go for $40.
2. Dustin Johnson is going to win a whole bunch of majors. He was asked to describe this awesome run in which he’s won six tournaments since last June, including the U.S. Open, become No. 1 in the world and has now won his past three consecutive starts, including the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “Pretty good.” Asked if he considers himself unbeatable, he said, “If I’m playing my best, yeah, I would play against anybody.” He’s as understated and unemotional as he is dominant, without a weakness in his game although he says his mid-irons play could use a little work. He does have a sense of humor but usually keeps it hidden. Asked if he had a lucky break all week, he said, “Yeah, I hit a TV truck on the left side of the fairway on No. 6. Great parking job.”
3. Loved listening to Dan Jenkins during last week’s announcement of the Dan Jenkins Medal, dual awards that will honor the sports story of the year as well as lifetime achievement. “You don’t normally get an honor like this when you’re still vertical,” he told 200 of us last Tuesday at The Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sport that’s housed in the north end zone of the Royal-Memorial Stadium. Jenkins, 87, who will attend the Masters for the 67th year, is as sharp and funny as ever. Author Michael MacCambridge, the driving force behind recognizing the TCU grad and God’s gift to sportswriters, said when he grew up in Kansas City in the 1970s, he used to smuggle two forms of contraband into his room: Richard Pryor’s albums and Jenkins’ novels. “It was well worth the risk.” Jenkins kidded former Texas quarterback Randy McEachern that he “still held the record for most handoffs completed to Earl Campbell.” Jenkins said his greatest interviews were with Jack Nicklaus because “he never said ‘I don’t know’ to any question.” He’s right. Nicklaus ranks in my top five of best interviewees ever, joining Charles Barkley, Abe Lemons, Lance Berkman and Darrell Royal. Jenkins ended his remarks by saying, “I want engraved on my tombstone, ‘I knew this would happen.’” He then added, “And now I’m more grateful than ever that I didn’t go to Baylor.” I’m not sure there’s been a greater writer than Dan, who could turn a phrase in his sleep better than anyone fully awake. Jenkins will be donating his papers to the Stark Center, so Texas finally beat TCU at something.
4. When I asked Pau Gasol about the trend of resting starters, the San Antonio Spurs center said he didn’t think the league could reduce the 82-game schedule. “Are the players going to cut their salaries by a quarter?” Gasol said. “Absolutely not.”
5. Ben Crenshaw added his praise for the Austin Country Club and the WGC-Dell Match Play tournament and thinks they’re a perfect fit. “This is great for Austin,” Crenshaw said as we followed Johnson and Jon Rahm during the championship round. “It’s a great event.” Then, he added playfully, “But we don’t really need more people here. We’re already busting at the seams.”
6. Walked a few holes Sunday with Kelley Cahill, Rahm’s girlfriend. The native Arizonan told me she had three scholarship offers to play tennis, including one from Arkansas, but was burned out on the sport and instead walked on the Arizona State track team and threw the javelin. She was often confused by fans for Johnson’s fiancée Paulina Gretzky, who showed up on the 18th green with their son, Tatum. Cahill said Rahm can get in a zone when it comes to golf. During tournaments? “Before. During. After,” she said.
7. Ty Harrington’s Texas State baseball team is on fire, having gone 13-2 in March after a 3-6 start to the season. The Bobcats, who have wins over Texas and Oklahoma State and a series victory over defending national champion Coastal Carolina, swept Appalachian State on the road over the weekend to improve to 5-1 in the Sun Belt. Texas State had 31 hits in the first two games and rode the pitching of Blake Welden, Connor Reich and Braydon Theriot along with the hitting of Luke Sherley and Theodore Hoffman. The Bobcats faced Texas A&M on Tuesday night and were wearing blue laces to raise awareness for the fight against colon cancer. Harrington’s a cancer survivor and recently got another good checkup.
8. Our fantasy baseball draft is this week. My approach is go for power and strikeouts. I never pick players who start the season injured. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is my keeper. A few sleepers: Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove.
9. Rented “Demolition,” because Jake Gyllenhaal was in it. He grieves for his recently deceased wife and begins a relationship with a customer service rep when he writes a complaint to a vending machine company. You would, too, if it were Naomi Watts. Strange, quirky movie. Gave it six ducks. C razy prediction: The Houston Astros will win the AL West.
Dell Match Play champ Dustin Johnson remains unemotional and stoic on the course — and likely world No. 1 for the foreseeable future.