AUGUSTA, Ga. – When Davis Love III found himself paired with Rafa Cabrera Bello at the Masters, his first thought wasn't that he wanted to beat Bello. It was that he wanted to scout him.
Turns out, he did both.
Love shot a second consecutive 73 in the second round, making the cut and finishing the day tied for 29th. Not bad for a Champions Tour player who's a little busy these days planning for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in September.
Love, the American captain, plans to visit Hazeltine again "when it's warm," or at least when he thinks it will be warm, perhaps in May or June. He finds himself thinking about his captaincy constantly, like when he was recently paired with U.S. team regular Steve Stricker, or anytime he looks at an Augusta National leaderboard.
"In some ways it's inspired me," said Love, who is six shots off the Masters lead. "I like playing out here and playing with those guys. I liked playing with Rafa. There's a guy I can scout a little bit.
"Then I played with a lot of guys that could play on our team. Being out here on the regular tour helps me. Time management, I need to get better at. And answering emails."
Love frequently mentions Jordan Spieth, as if he is the American team's default leader. "I really want to go to Hazeltine when guys want to go play," Love said. "If Jordan says, 'I'm going,' I told him, 'I'll go with you …" We just need everybody to get in there and maybe see it one time. Because they're going to be tired and I'm going to want Ryder Cup week to not feel like they have to play a whole bunch to learn the course."
Also at Augusta on Friday was Ryder Cup chair Patrick Hunt, who followed Minnesota amateur Sammy Schmitz in the morning. Hunt has worked closely with Love on team accommodations and course setup at Hazeltine.