Air Jordan Grounds Himself for Presidents Cup

In light of the ongoing lockout in the National Basketball Association, Michael Jordan has decided to step down as the assistant captain for next month's Presidents Cup. The biennial event that pits an American squad against a team of international players will be held November 15-20 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.

Jordan, an avid long-time golfer, was slated to assist captain Fred Couples of the U.S. team. But the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats said he would not travel to "Down Under" with the 2011-12 season in abeyance as the NBA owners and players continue their contract negotiations.

"After careful consideration, it is with regret that I have decided to cancel my trip to Australia later this month for the Presidents Cup," the 48-year-old Jordan told the Presidents Cup website (

"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 U.S. team the best of luck."

Jordan will be replaced by John Cook, an 11-time PGA Tour winner and current regular on the over-50 Champions Tour. Cook will join Jay Haas as the assistant captains.

"John has been a friend of mine since we broke in together on the PGA Tour in the early 1980s," said Couples. "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.

"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," added Couples. "While the team will miss his friendship, spirit and leadership, we certainly understand the complexity of his current team obligations."

"I'm thrilled that Freddie has asked me to serve as a captain's assistant for the United States Presidents Cup Team," the 54-year-old Cook said. "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 served as Couples' assistant in the 2009 Presidents Cup at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, which the Americans won 19 to 14.

The Presidents Cup is a team match-play competition involving two 12-man teams from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe. The Americans have won six of the eight previous Presidents Cups. The only win by the International Team came in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. The 2003 Presidents Cup at The Links at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate in George, South Africa, ended in a tie.