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In Custody Battle, Virginia Judge Bans Promising 10 Year Old Girl From Golf for One Year

On the face of it, this looks unfair. A 10 year old girl, clearly a child prodigy at golf, is mysteriously being banned from golf for one year while her parents fight over custody. From the Deadspin article:

“The ban comes as the kid is thriving on the links. By the count of Vechery [the father], a career real estate salesman and part-time golf coach, his daughter has won 11 of the last 12 tournaments she’s entered in the Mid-Atlantic region. In November 2014, just before she turned nine years old, she shot a six-under par 30 in the nine-hole NoVa Fall Tour Championship…. “She’s really good,” says Kris Tschetter, who like Vechery lives in Northern Virginia, spent 24 years on the LPGA tour and has given lessons to Vechery’s daughter. “Like, really, really good.” Tschetter gave a deposition in the custody case attesting to the kid’s potential as a future “phenom.” She told Vechery that his daughter is already talented enough to play college golf.”

Judge Jeannette Irby, a Circuit Court Judge in Northern, Virginia made the ruling in the barest bones possible – nothing in her order speaks any further about the issue; there’s no explanation or backstory whatsoever. It just bans her from any tournament and any lessons from a golf pro with the exception of the father.

We’ll be looking into this further, but for now Bob Toski, one of the greatest golf legends, has taken up the torch for the young girl. He gave her lessons and vouched for her character and work ethic to both the press and to Tim Finchem himself! In a quiet, but firm sign of approval, the PGA Tour recommended a local lawyer to the father. But to all the world, it sure looks like this hurts the kid worse than anyone else.

Here’s what possibly happened:

Scenario 1: The ruling says no tournaments and no lessons from pros. It does not say no golf. It does not say no golf travel. Maybe what happened was the father kept the child from the mother from either seeing the kid or coming to watch her play golf competitively. This could be the Judge’s way of compensating for some perceived wrong in prior visits.

With that in mind, If I were the father, I’d take the kid on a tour of the great courses of the country. This Judge just gave this kid the best PR ever: Who doesn’t want to help a sweet little girl? Private clubs should be falling all over themselves to invite the kid to come and play and practice at their clubs. What a story! And it doesn’t violate the order in any way.

Scenario 2: Representing himself, the father did something to piss off the Judge. We won’t know until we see transcripts or hear tapes, and review the case file. Irby is a Circuit Court judge – the entry level of the 3-tiered hierarchy. She is not a specialty court judge where procedures can be kept more secret. Either way, the while golf world is watching. It’s a little girl she did this to -and they hope there was a good reason…