MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- "I now pronounce you man and golf widow. You may kiss the bride."
OK, those aren't the exact words the justice of the peace used to punctuate the Wednesday night wedding of a charming Italian couple that took place here at the Golf.com World Amateur's 19th hole. But we can read between the lines.
Max Molino, 59, married his longtime girlfriend Pia Lale Damoz, 53. He's a 7 handicap playing in the event. She's not a golfer, but she is a good sport, as she demonstrated by agreeing to tie the knot here in the golf Mecca that is Myrtle Beach, all while the celebrant blessed the newlyweds: "May your drives be long and straight, and may all your putts be short and uphill."
How did a couple who've long lived together in a village in northwestern Italy end up exchanging vows here at the World Am? "They wanted to finally get married, and he loves golf, so they decided to do it during the tournament," said Albert Tamietto, a friend of the groom. This is Max's first marriage -- not counting his relationship with golf -- and Pia's second. How did Max pop the question? Through a translator he told us, "I just said to her, 'Hey, why don't we get married?' " That's not exactly dropping on bended knee on Pebble's 18th green, but what do you expect? They've been together almost as long as Phil and Bones.
Pia looked lovely in a sleeveless blouse and khaki pants. Max was dapper in a dark blazer and navy-blue pants. And like a certain Royal Wedding that took place earlier this year, this affair boasted both elaborate headgear (visors, caps, a couple bucket hats) and star power. Who needs Beckham and Pippa when you've got Peter Kessler? After their nuptials-sealing kiss, the bride and groom passed beneath a "saber arch," with the groomsmen's poised drivers substituting for swords. Then, the pair were promptly pelted not with rice but wiffle golf balls.
"This is our first wedding," said witness and World Am spokesperson Chris King. But it's not the first time love has taken flight on gossamer wings during the world's largest amateur golf tournament. "A few years back, a couple met here at the tournament and ended up getting married."
So where will the honeymoon take these crazy kids? The Greek Islands? The white sands of Bora Bora?
"Actually, they're just heading back home," said Tamietto, though they still have time to partake in Myrtle's nightlife. In that case, another blessing for the couple:
May your marriage be long and happy, and may your wedding night at Fuddruckers be plentiful. (Photo: Diana Eliazov/SI)