10-year-old golf prodigy ordered to stop playing tournaments amid parents’ custody battle
(ABC) -- A Virginia judge ordered a 10-year-old gold prodigy to stop competing in golf tournaments over the next year as part of her parents continuing seven-year custody battle.
The ruling, made last month by Judge Jeanette Irby of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, Virginia, comes at a time when her dad says the young golfer’s career is flourishing.
“She’s won I think 23 out of 33 tournaments in the last two years,” Michael Vechery told ABC News.
Vechery caddies for and coaches his daughter, whose name is withheld because she is a minor. Vechery said he bought his daughter plastic golf cubs when she was three years old and that she’s now developed into a promising young prospect.
George Danielson, a PGA member who said he’s seen the girl’s talent first hand, told ABC News he would rank her “in the top 10 percent in the nation” with her skill level.
“She is ready to obtain a scholarship to college and here she is only 10 years old,” Danielson said.
The judge’s most recent custody order demands that the child “shall not be permitted to play competitive golf for one year” and also bars her from taking any lessons with a golf pro, with the exception of her dad. The ruling allows the child to play one round of golf per week or five hours of golf, whichever is greater, according to court documents.
The child’s mother, Florence Cottet-Moine, has sole legal and physical custody. Neither she nor her lawyer replied to ABC News.
The judge in the case also declined to comment.
Vechery, who has also been ordered by the judge to take anger management classes, said he believes the judge thought his daughter was playing too much golf when she issued the ruling.
“I think the judge thought that she's playing five or six hours a day of golf with me and that's completely false,” he said.
Vechery is now appealing the decision.
ABC News’ legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, who is not involved in this case, said she suspects there is more information than is publicly known behind the judge’s ruling.
“There must be more because the legal standard is what is in the best interest of the child,” Hostin said today on “Good Morning America.” “This decision came after a full hearing and a trial so my sense is there’s more to this story we haven’t heard from the mother, even though we reached out for comment.”