United States Presidents Cup Captain Fred Couples announced today that 11-time PGA TOUR winner John Cook has been named Captain’s Assistant for the upcoming Presidents Cup matches. Michael Jordan, who was named along with Jay Haas as a Captain’s Assistant for The Presidents Cup 2011, will be unable to attend the matches due to pending responsibilities as majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.

Cook will join Haas as a Captain’s Assistant for the matches, to be played November 15-20, 2011, at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Cook will be participating in the Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney the week prior to The Presidents Cup.

“John has been a friend of mine since we broke in together on the PGA TOUR in the early 1980s,” said Couples, playing this week at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. “Having achieved success at the highest levels in the golf world, I value his opinion greatly. Both John and Jay will provide tremendous support for myself and the United States Team in the upcoming matches at Royal Melbourne.”

Cook won 11 times in his PGA TOUR career, including a 1992 season that included three wins and a runner-up at the British Open. Cook has eight career victories on the Champions Tour, including three in 2011. He enters this week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship fourth in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup. Cook also made one start on the PGA TOUR in 2011, finishing third at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

“I’m thrilled that Freddie has asked me to serve as a Captain’s Assistant for the United States Presidents Cup Team,” said Cook. “Jay has told me on several occasions that his 2009 Presidents Cup experience was one of his career highlights, and that meant a lot to me in making my decision. I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping the team retain the Cup.”

Jordan previously served as an Honorary Captain’s Assistant to Couples at The Presidents Cup 2009 at TPC Harding Park. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and owns six NBA Championship titles with the Chicago Bulls, five MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards and numerous NBA scoring records. In 2010, Jordan became the first former NBA player to become a majority owner of an NBA franchise with his acquisition of the Charlotte Bobcats.

“After careful consideration, it is with regret that I have decided to cancel my trip to Australia later this month for The Presidents Cup,” said Jordan. “With the NBA labor situation unsettled, as the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, I feel it is necessary that I remain in the country. It was an honor to have been chosen by Fred Couples to serve as a Captain’s Assistant. I wish Fred and the United States Team the best of luck.”

“I would like to thank Michael for his significant contributions, both as a Captain’s Assistant and his role as ambassador for The Presidents Cup,” said Couples. “While the team will miss his friendship, spirit and leadership, we certainly understand the complexity of his current team obligations.”

The Presidents Cup, a team match play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers – 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues. The Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international team match-play competition. The U.S. Team has won six of the eight previous Presidents Cups, and the only win by the International Team came at the 1998 event in Melbourne. The 2003 Presidents Cup ended in a tie.

Instead of playing for prize money, each Presidents Cup competitor designates charities or golf-related projects of his choice to receive a portion of the funds raised through the staging of each Presidents Cup. On behalf of the players, captains and captains’ assistants, more than $4.2 million was distributed to charitable causes from The Presidents Cup 2009. Additional donations were made to The First Tee of San Francisco and the Victorian Bushfire Appeal in 2009 and to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal following the Queensland floods in March 2011. In total, more than $23 million has been raised for charity since the inception of The Presidents Cup in 1994.

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