Forget Annika. A more historic cross-pollination of the game's
biggest tours occurred on Dec. 14, when the LPGA's Michelle
Louviere and the PGA Tour's Chris Riley were married in New
Orleans, becoming what is believed to be the first two-tour
household. PGA Tour members Craig Barlow and Chad Campbell and
LPGA players Liz Bowman, Jen Brodie, Amy Langhals and Ashley Winn
attended the wedding, which was strikingly absent of golf
iconography. "We wanted to downplay the whole golf thing," says
Michelle, and no wonder. From the beginning, their relationship
has been defined by the game. Michelle and Chris met in 1996. He
had just graduated from UNLV, and she was coming off a solid
sophomore season at LSU. They were among two dozen collegians
representing the U.S. at a tournament in Japan, and they happened
to be seated next to each other on the flight over. "It was love
at first sight," says Chris.
Michelle remembers it differently. "I thought he was ... nice,"
she says. "We were just friends for a long time, but golf was
part of the courtship."
Upon returning to the U.S., Michelle and Chris kept in touch. The
romance blossomed in 1998, when Chris was a rookie on the Nike
tour and Michelle was his most enthusiastic fan, but Michelle was
not content to be a cheerleader. They went their separate ways
for most of 2000 and '01 as she split time between the Futures
and LPGA tours. "We were both on the road, chasing the dream,"
Michelle says. "No relationship could survive that."
Near the end of the 2001 season--his third on the PGA Tour--Chris
invited Michelle for a romantic weekend away: at the Buick
Challenge. They fell back in love, hard. Adding more spice to the
relationship was their regular battle of the sexes on the course.
"We're competitive to the extent that if he is beating me, he
rubs it in, and I get pretty grumpy," says Michelle, who gets
three strokes a side.
Despite this taste for action, Michelle has put her career on
hold, content to travel with Chris, who is coming off a
breakthrough year. Says Michelle, "I don't miss competitive
golf--yet. I'm still on the high of getting to be together."
Says Chris, "I don't want golf to end for her. Whatever she
decides in the future, I'm behind 100 percent, but I'm not going
to lie--it's awesome having her with me. I'm the luckiest guy in
the world. I can talk golf with my wife, and she actually enjoys
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY HEINZ KLUETMEIER HAPPY COUPLE Louviere, 27, and Riley, 29, after saying "I do."
COLOR PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES (CAKE)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: FRED VUICH
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY HEINZ KLUETMEIER Fun & Festivities THE BRIDE and groom had a full schedule of prewedding activities(clockwise from top left). They started with a tour of the FrenchQuarter. Later, after the groomsmen were fitted for their tuxes,Michelle hosted a bridal luncheon at Bravo's restaurant--that'sher mother, Barbara, on Michelle's right--while the boys snuck ina quick round at Audobon Park. The girls, of course, had to havetheir nails done, and everyone in town for the wedding wasinvited to an informal fiesta at the Tropical Isle.
THREE COLOR PHOTOS: CHERYL GERBER [Fun & Festivities]
COLOR PHOTO: A.J. SISCO [Fun & Festivities]
SEVEN COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY HEINZ KLUETMEIER The Big Day AFTER A critical last-minute adjustment by one of Michelle'sbridesmaids, the couple said their vows at the Jesuit Church.Following the ceremony came the reception at the nearby AstorCrowne Plaza, during which Michelle and Chris shared the groom'scake honoring Chris's adopted hometown (where the newlyweds planto live) and got down on the dance floor. Before they werewhisked away from their guests, the happy couple was serenadedNew Orleans--style by a traditional second-line band.