Keep an eye on how well the U.S. Ryder Cup'ers do this week

ATLANTA -- We're barely a week away from the Ryder Cup, and while most of the attention has been focused on the way that Paul Casey is making Colin Montgomerie look even more like a goof than usual, there are storylines afoot for the other side of the Ryder Cup fence.

Early in the week, Phil Mickelson said that the Tour Championship will provide a good opportunity for the U.S. team to stay sharp in advance of the Celtic Manor showdown. If that's the case, well ... we're in a heck of a lot of trouble.

Sure, Mickelson is playing well, as are Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan (right). But neither Stewart Cink nor Tiger Woods even made the Tour Championship. And check out the first-round scores of some other Ryder Cup team members: Matt Kuchar (2-over), Dustin Johnson (3-over), Steve Stricker (4-over), Zach Johnson (4-over), Bubba Watson (5-over), Jeff Overton (5-over).

That, friends, is not exactly confidence-inspiring. Sure, it's early, but those aren't the kinds of performances you want fresh in your mind when you're getting ready to start the Ryder.

Keep an eye on your U.S. team this week, folks. How well they do in Atlanta could have a significant impact on how well they do in Wales.

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