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Jordan quits Presidents Cup golf role as NBA lockout continues

updated 3:05 PM EDT, Wed November 2, 2011
NBA legend Michael Jordan (right) served as Fred Couples' assistant for the 2009 tournament in California.
NBA legend Michael Jordan (right) served as Fred Couples' assistant for the 2009 tournament in California.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Jordan steps aside as captain's assistant of U.S. golf team
  • Charlotte Bobcats owner does not want to travel while NBA lockout is still ongoing
  • Baskteball legend will be replaced by 11-time PGA Tour winner John Cook
  • The ninth Presidents Cup will begin in Australia on November 17

(CNN) -- Basketball legend Michael Jordan has stepped down from his captain's assistant role at this month's Presidents Cup golf tournament due to the ongoing NBA lockout.

Jordan, a keen golfer, is majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats franchise and did not want to travel to Australia for the teams event with negotiations over the delayed new season still continuing.

"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 told the tournament's official 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."

As the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, I feel it is necessary that I remain in the country
Michael Jordan

Jordan, widely considered the greatest basketball player ever after winning six NBA titles and five Most Valuable Player awards, will be replaced by 11-time PGA Tour winner John Cook as Couples' assistant.

The lockout has been in force since July, with teams and players failing to agree a new collective bargaining deal -- a contract which governs how NBA professionals are paid.

Jordan was alongside Couples for the Americans' victory over the International team at the last Presidents Cup in California in 2009, the country's sixth win in eight tournaments.

"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," Couples said.

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

Cook will now join former pro Jay Haas as one of Couples' assistants at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

The team will miss his friendship, spirit and leadership
Fred Couples

"Having achieved success at the highest levels in the golf world, I value his opinion greatly," 1992 Masters champion Couples said of the 54-year-old.

"Both John and Jay will provide tremendous support for myself and the United States team."

Haas' son Bill, the 2011 FedEx Cup series winner, is on the 12-man U.S. team, along with the likes of former world number one Tiger Woods and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson.

The International side, consisting of players from outside Europe and the U.S., is captained by Australia's two-time British Open winner Greg Norman.

The team includes Australian world No. 7 Jason Day, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and his fellow South African Ernie Els, a three-time major winner.

The Presidents Cup will begin on November 17, with the Internationals hoping to repeat their 1998 success at Royal Melbourne.

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