Ryder Cup preview? U.S. vs. Euro on Day 1 in Atlanta

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ATLANTA – From the “apropos of nothing” department, the American side of the Ryder Cup ledger had a better day on Thursday at East Lake than their European counterparts.

All 12 U.S. team players are at the Tour Championship and combined to shoot 17 under, with only Webb Simpson posting an over-par score (71). Just five of Jose Maria Olazabal’s crew are at the playoff finale and the group carded a collective 3-under total, with both Luke Donald (71) and Lee Westwood (72) coming in over par.

Both teams hold a share of the Day 1 lead, with Tiger Woods and Justin Rose tied at 4 under, but captain Davis Love III’s team also featured Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker (67), Zach Johnson and Brandt Snedeker (68), and Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson at 1 under.

Of course, the better measure of potential success next week at Medinah can probably be found in the putting statistics, which also seem to favor the U.S. side. Five Americans rank inside the top 10 in strokes-gained putting for the day in Atlanta. Just a single European (Rose) is among the top 10.