Cartersville native, Cook, to coach U.S. team at Arnold Palmer Cup
Reprinted by permission. Competition to take place June 24-26 in Formby, England
Brunswick, Ga. – College of Coastal Georgia men's golf coach Mike Cook has been chosen as the coach for the United States team that will compete in this summer's Arnold Palmer Cup in England.
Cook's selection as coach for the U.S team was announced by the Golf Coaches Association of American on Tuesday at the organization's annual convention in Las Vegas. Cook was on hand for the announcement after receiving the Dave Williams Award for the NAIA Coach of the Year on Monday night at the GCAA yearly awards banquet.
Cook also will appear on the Golf Central show which airs at 6 p.m. today on the Golf Channel to talk about his selection as coach for the U.S. side in the annual Ryder-Cup style competition that matches the top U.S. collegiate players against the top European collegiate golfers.
This year's competition will take place June 24-26 at Formby Golf Club in Formby, England.
The coach of the two-time defending NAIA national champions is excited about the opportunity to coach in this prestigious international event.
"This is truly an honor being selected as the coach for the U.S. team for this year's Arnold Palmer Cup." Cook said. "To try and guide 10 of the greatest collegiate players from the United States through matches against Europe is a huge privilege. It will be future PGA Tour players against one another. I'm looking forward to the challenge this June at Formby Golf Club in England. I'm sure the United States will be ready."
The U.S. leads the Arnold Palmer Cup series 10-8-1. The U.S. team won 18-12 last year at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois under the leadership of Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler.
The U.S. team is 2-6-1 on foreign soil.
The competition features five four-ball matches, five foursome matches and two sets of 10 singles matches for 30 total points.
The teams are selected based on nationality and not the location of the players' colleges as several players who compete for Europe typically attend school in the States.
The teams are comprised of 10 players each. The U.S. team will feature the top six players in the collegiate rankings, three additional players chosen by a selection committee which includes Cook and also a captain's pick which Cook will use to round out his team.
Past participants include current Golden Isles residents Jonathan Byrd and Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell and Rory Sabbatini.
This year's European squad will be coached by Jean Van de Velde, who also coached the 2015 team for Europe.
Cook has coached at Coastal Georgia since 2010 when he was hired to start the school's new men's and women's teams. He has since been named the director of golf at the college and oversees both programs though his primary coaching duties lie with the Coastal Georgia men's team.
Cook led the Mariners to the school's first-ever national championship in any sport in 2014 and the Mariners won a second straight NAIA national title this past May.
Now in his sixth year with the Coastal Georgia men, Cook has guided the Mariners to 19 tournament wins while 14 players have also won individual championships.
In the two national championship seasons combined, Cook guided the Mariners to 13 wins in 20 total tournaments and the team never finished lower than third in any tournament appearance. The 2015 championship team won eight times in 10 appearances and included five players who were named All-Americans after the season.
Cook was named the NAIA Coach of the Year in both championship seasons and also was chosen for the Dave Williams Award as the NAIA's top coach by the GCAA both years.
In all, Cook has coached 10 NAIA All-American selections and 12 all-conference players. He also has coached four national scholar-athletes and seven conference all-academic team members.
"We're proud of Coach Cook's leadership and his mentoring of our student-athletes here at the College," said Dr. Gregory F. Aloia, president of the College. "Of course we are proud of what his teams have accomplished on the golf course. It's great to see him being recognized for his hard work and dedication with this great honor."
The Mariners started this season ranked No. 1 in the country and were fourth after the recently completed fall campaign in which the Mariners finished in the top three in all four of their tournaments including a victory at the NAIA Men's Golf Fall Preview held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
"We're obviously happy for Coach Cook. This is a great honor for him, and we're excited about the recognition it will bring to the College and also our outstanding golf programs. This is a great opportunity for Mike and it's something that is well-deserved," said Dr. William B. Carlton, athletics director for the College.
Cook is a longtime teaching instructor at renowned Sea Island Golf Club. He started with the Sea Island Company in 1991. He was selected among the top 15 teachers in Georgia by Golf Digest and has been named teacher of the year by the Georgia PGA East Chapter three times.
For several years, Cook had the responsibility of overseeing Sea Island's junior golf program, and in 2007, the Georgia PGA named him Junior Golf Leader.
Cook has worked with players of all ages and skill-levels, including top junior, collegiate and professional players.
Cook is a graduate of Cartersville High School and a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he was a member of the Bulldogs golf team. He helped Georgia to the SEC championship as a senior during the 1982-83 season and was named All-American and first-team All-SEC that year.
He played professionally from 1983-86 and was a member of the South African PGA Tour in 1984.
Cook won the Georgia PGA championship in 1998 at Sea Island and won the Georgia PGA Assistant Professionals championship in 1992 in Peachtree City.
He is married to wife Lori and they have a son Michael and daughter Madelyn.