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November 3 2011

12:20 AM

Cook’s history with Tiger helps ass’t job

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two years ago when Fred Couples tagged NBA superstar Michael Jordan to serve as one of his Presidents Cup assistant captains, it was in part as a nod to Jordan’s relationship with Tiger Woods.

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Circumstances have changed for Woods since the 2009 Presidents Cup, which the U.S. won at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, but again he’ll have a close friend in the assistant captain ranks later this month at Royal Melbourne.

This time it’s John Cook. Woods and the Champions Tour veteran go back many years, to when both lived in the same Isleworth neighborhood in Orlando.

“Without saying, there’s 12 guys on the team, (but) I felt like John and Tiger are very close, and that would help Tiger as much as any other guy,” Couples said Wednesday at TPC Harding Park, on the eve of the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

“If Tiger Woods and John Cook are really close friends and buddies, that’s an easy call.”

An hour after Couples heard from Michael Jordan, who backed out due to his commitment with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, he was on the phone to Cook.

“I’m honored, I really am. I think I can help,” Cook said. “Certainly my relationship with Tiger probably was an issue that helped Fred make his decision, that we’re very close. If I can make him comfortable doing anything, that’s what I’ll do. That’s my role.”

Woods has had mixed results and zero wins this year while rebuilding his swing with coach Sean Foley.

“I believe in what he’s doing … there’s not many people that believe in what he’s doing right now,” Cook said. “Maybe he’ll relax a little bit knowing he’s got a compadre there that really cares about him, genuinely, as a friend.”

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