Couples serious about bringing in Jordan, Williams as assistants

Updated: March 6, 2008, 4:58 PM ET
By Bob Harig | Special to ESPN.com

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Fred Couples got a lot of laughs when he said he wanted to name Robin Williams and Michael Jordan as his assistant captains for the U.S. Presidents Cup team.

Turns out he was only sort of kidding.

Couples has plans to name a traditional assistant captain in the coming months, but he also wants to have the comedian and former NBA superstar contribute in some way to the team that will take on an International squad next year in San Francisco.

"I think Michael is one of the greatest team players," Couples said Tuesday at the Innisbrook Resort, where he will play this week in the PODS Championship. "Everyone likes him. I certainly do. … Being around him, he has told me lots of things that maybe a Ray Floyd or Jack Nicklaus might not.

"As for Robin, I was hoping that we could meet him and have him come. If he comes to the tournament, great, come over and hang out with the guys. I have been on nine teams; this will be the 10th team I've been part of. It can get extremely boring. … In my opinion, to have someone of that magnitude come in and be funny and entertaining, would be a treat for everyone."

Couples, 48, was named captain last week -- along with Greg Norman for the International side -- by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. A four-time Presidents Cup team member, Couples also played on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams in a career that dates to 1981.

The winner of 15 PGA Tour events, including the 1992 Masters, Couples said he already has tried to contact Jordan. And he learned that Williams lives only a few minutes from Harding Park, site of next year's Presidents Cup.

"There are different ways to skin a cat," he said. "I just think all 12 guys will love having those guys around."

Couples' name has come up in the past as a possible candidate for the U.S. Ryder Cup team captaincy. But leading the Presidents Cup would seem to rule that out. Paul Azinger will lead the U.S. against Europe in September, and the captain for the 2010 team likely will be named before the end of the year.

That means Couples could not captain the team until 2012, by which time he will be 52.

"This would be enough for me," Couples said. "This is going to be a tremendous honor for me to be captain. … All of the players have been excited. It will be a dream of a lifetime to do that."

Couples played in just two tournaments last year and none was after the Masters because of back problems. This year, he has played four times, making three cuts and tying for eighth at the Buick Invitational.

"I feel like I'm on track," he said. "My goal is to really be ready for Augusta. I am playing here, in Orlando [next week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational], and keep working on my game and get ready."

Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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