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A day of fun, ribbing for celebrities during Quail Hollow pro-am

Carolina Panthers coach John Fox couldn't help himself Wednesday afternoon.

As he watched the Quail Hollow Championship's pro-am from the comfort of his backyard - he lives off the course's 14th fairway - Fox noticed something in one of the participant's swings.

So Fox strolled onto the fairway and began coaching up Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR Sprint Cup's four-time defending champ who was playing with pro Davis Love III and tournament chairman Mac Everett.

Johnson was really glad to see Fox. So happy, in fact, that he asked to use a bathroom in Fox's house before continuing.

When Johnson came back, Fox had this advice:

"I told him to stop guiding the ball," said Fox, who had played earlier in pro Jim Furyk's group. "He needs to just swing it. He's got a good swing."

Johnson was grateful for the tip. He said he has played just twice in recent weeks in preparation for Wednesday, scoring in "triple digits" each time.

"And then," he said, "you come here and have to hit the ball in front of all these people. You have no idea!"

That's it for Johnson and Fox at Quail Hollow for the week: Johnson is off to Richmond for Saturday's race; Fox will be at the Panthers mini-camp beginning Friday.

Fox was part of a significant football presence at the pro-am, which also included North Carolina coach Butch Davis and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.

But the biggest galleries were for basketball's Michael Jordan, the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats who played with pro (and Bobcats fan) Fred Couples and Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris.

Jordan, whose Nike golf bag is decorated with small pictures of vintage Air Jordan shoes, had fun with the crowd all afternoon, freely signing autographs and bantering with fans.

After he scorched a drive on No. 11 into the left rough, a fan yelled, "Good ball!"

Jordan turned and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

When Harris then hit the ball in the same direction, Jordan waved his arm to Harris and said, "Come on with me."

Jordan's most impressive drive was on No. 14, a 345-yard par 4 with a green that is reachable for pro players hitting from the back tees. Jordan, hitting from the regular tee, drove the green. He left his eagle putt short before making a birdie for his team.

"That (drive) was the best shot of the day for me," Jordan said.

Jordan played in the pro-am with Tiger Woods in 2007. Playing with the relatively laid-back Couples - who recently bought two Bobcats season tickets - was different, he said.

"It wasn't as competitive," said Jordan. "Fred is relaxed and enjoying himself and so am I. I enjoyed the day. With Tiger it's the same way. Either way, it's fun."

Joining the Jordan-Couples group was Bobcats coach Larry Brown, who might be thinking about leaving the team. Before Jordan walked off the 18th green, he said nothing's been determined yet.

"We've talked," Jordan said. "Larry's been honest. Everything he's said publically is what we've talked about. I'm not going to let him go too easily. There are a lot of rumors out there and right now that's all they are - rumors. So until he says something to me otherwise, it's business as usual."

Jordan was asked if there was a timetable for a decision: "Not from me," he said.

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