Michael Jordan to take on Bethpage Black before U.S. Open

(AP) — Michael Jordan has played with Tiger Woods in a pro-am at the Wachovia Championship and competed in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. His toughest test might come next June at Bethpage Black in the days before the U.S. Open.

Jordan has agreed to take part in the "Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge," according to an official involved in the event. He will join Justin Timberlake, another celebrity and one amateur who best explains in a six-word essay why he or she can break 100.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the celebrities have not been announced.

Woods was the only player to break par when the U.S. Open was held at Bethpage Black in 2002, winning by three shots.

It was Woods' comment two years ago at Oakmont — that a 10-handicapper couldn't break 100 at the U.S. Open — that led Golf Digest and the USGA to put together a test in the days leading up to the event.

Earlier this year at Torrey Pines, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo shot an 84 in the challenge, while "Today" host Matt Lauer shot 100 and the amateur winner, Nebraska sales John Atkinson, shot 114.

For the amateurs, the biggest challenge might be writing such a short essay — six words, down from 100 last year. They also can submit a 60-second video. They have until Jan. 31 to submit their entries on www.gdopencontest.com.

Golf Digest will select five finalists, and the public will choose the winner in online voting. This year's contest generated 56,374 essays, and more than 117,000 people voted online.

NBC Sports will broadcast the event in a 90-minute program June 21 leading into final-round coverage of the U.S. Open.

"The passion for this opportunity that was expressed by golfers from every walk of life last year was overwhelming," Golf Digest chairman Jerry Tarde said. "With the help of the USGA and NBC Sports, we hope to again create a very special and emotional day for one deserving winner."

Along with his appetite for playing golf, Jordan rarely misses a Ryder Cup. U.S. captain Fred Couples has said he wants Jordan to be an assistant captain at the Presidents Cup in October, and the official said Couples was planning to caddie for Jordan at Bethpage.

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