Inside Tiger Woods' Relationship With Erica Herman

Tiger Woods' reputation as a squeaky-clean golfer was damaged forever in 2009 when reports emerged that he'd been unfaithful to wife Elin Nordegren. In the months that followed, it seemed like a different woman came forward practically every day to disclose they, too, had been intimate with the regular world number one. His personal life all but imploded.

Unsurprisingly, Nordegren soon filed for divorce, with Woods later going on to date gold medal-winning Winter Olympics skier Lindsey Vonn and stylist Kristin Smith. But the sportsman's longest relationship since has undoubtedly been with restaurant manager Erica Herman.

In fact, the couple have now been together as long as Woods' marriage. So how did the unlikely pairing meet? And how have they continued to keep the magic alive amid all of the Ryder Cup winner's problems? From public displays of affection and tabloid rumors to family ties and a serious car crash, here's a look at their eventful love story.

They met several years before getting together 

You might not be aware that Tiger Woods and Erica Herman were introduced to each other long before they actually got together and went public with their relationship. The latter was still a college student when she first met the golfing legend while working at Orlando joint Blue Martini. Evidently, she left enough of an impression that Woods kept her in his Rolodex. According to Page Six, after she graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2008, she was offered a director of operations position at the sportsman's South Florida eatery, The Woods Jupiter. 

The staff there were made aware of Woods and Herman's bond long before they went public. "It was known that she had a close relationship with Tiger," one Woods Jupiter staff member told Page Six. "People were scared to get too close to her [because of her access to the owner]. They kept it professional."

They went public at the Presidents Cup 

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman first got tongues wagging outside the South Florida restaurant scene in 2017 when they made their first public appearance as a couple. And they chose a pretty high-profile event to do so: the Presidents Cup in New Jersey where the golfer was serving as Team USA's assistant captain.

The tabloids went into overdrive on the first day when Woods was spotted walking around the Liberty National course with a mystery woman sporting a Player Spouse badge. The plot thickened when she was pictured with the rest of the team's partners during the opening ceremony — she was also seen conversing with Jordan Speith's girlfriend Annie Verret. And after some digging, her true identity was eventually revealed.

Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, refused to comment on the matter when pressed by Golf magazine. But the press didn't have to wait too long to get official confirmation about the nature of Woods and Herman's relationship.

Erica Herman and Tiger Woods sparked plenty of rumors

It's fair to say that the press weren't too kind when news emerged back in 2017 that Tiger Woods was dating Erica Herman. As far as getting used to being a public figure was concerned, Herman was not exactly given a chance to ease into the spotlight; the speculation and rumors were rampant. Radar was particularly unlikely to receive a Christmas card from the restaurant manager. In 2018, the showbiz site quoted an insider who claimed that Herman was renowned for being both a party animal and only in it for the money. 

The anonymous source also alleged that Herman had first set her sights on the golfer when he was married to Elin Nordegren. "Erica's been chasing Tiger around like a puppy for close to ten years," the tipster claimed. "I'm not sure if his wife knew, but I'm not sure how she couldn't know. I can't believe Tiger is out in public with her now." The comments were accompanied by a photo, presumably meant to be incriminating, of the Florida native at a golf tournament Woods happened to be competing in several years prior.

As if that wasn't enough negative attention, another source claimed to Radar that Woods' relationship with Herman supposedly overlapped with his relationship with Kristin Smith. "Kristin eventually caught them together. It was a big mess," they alleged. 

They went Instagram official in 2018

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman appeared to make the fact they were a couple official in 2018 when the former shared an Instagram snap of the pair enjoying a baseball game together. Both parties were beaming from ear to ear as they stood by side at Dodger Stadium, decked out in Los Angeles Dodgers gear. 

Woods didn't provide any details about the relationship in the caption or reveal any further information about their sporty date. Luckily, an anonymous source was on hand to reveal the state of play in an interview with People. "No one has signed any paperwork," the tipster told the outlet. "It's not like they're pledging their lives to each other. But she's really nice and Tiger likes her."

The apparent friend went on to add, "Tiger doesn't like to be alone. But he doesn't like to settle. Not anymore. So when he's with someone, he really needs to be into her."

Erica Herman was there for his big comeback in 2018

If there was any further proof needed that Tiger Woods and Erica Herman were indeed a couple, then it well and truly came at the 2018 PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta. For it was here that the former publicly declared that he loved the latter. Well, kinda.

Woods, who'd typically been a rather stoic figure, couldn't contain his emotion after emerging victorious for the 80th time on the PGA circuit — his first victory in five years. The first thing he did in the wake of his win was rush over to Herman who'd been watching from the sidelines throughout.

The restaurant manager then kissed her triumphant beau as he wrapped his arms around her before whispering — according to the New York Post — into her ear, "How about that?" and then those magic three words: "I love you." Herman was subsequently credited with inspiring Woods' return-to-form, and the sportsman appeared to acknowledge her influence in a post-win speech. "I just can't believe I've pulled this off," he told NBC Sports. "It's been tough. I've had it not so easy the last couple of years and I've worked my way back and couldn't have done it without the help of everyone around me."

Erica Herman set the record straight

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman continued to pile on the public displays of affection when the former won the fifth Masters of his career — and the first in over 14 years — in 2019. But having been inseparable on the golf course for the past year, rumors started to surface that the pair had separated when the restaurant manager appeared to go AWOL.

However, in a very brief interview with Radar, the first time that either party had spoken publicly about their relationship, Herman insisted that things were still very rosy. "We haven't split," she declared before revealing that reports to the contrary that she'd still been supporting Woods in person at every tournament.

When asked about the lack of photo evidence, Herman noted that she's not interested in being in the public eye. The Florida native then confirmed once and for all that she and Woods were in it for the long haul. "Our relationship is great," she said. "Great with no end in sight."

The pair enjoy family time

So how did Tiger Woods' two children with ex-wife Elin Nordegren, daughter Sam Woods and son Charlie Woods, feel about their father's relationship with Erica Herman? Well, judging by the handful of happy family photos that have surfaced online, the youngsters appear to be fully on board.

The first time that Herman was pictured with her significant other's kids came in 2019 when all three accompanied Tiger to the White House with his mother, Kultida Woods. Per People, the golfer had been invited by Donald Trump to the POTUS' residence to accept one of the most prestigious honors in America, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The next time that Herman was snapped alongside the Woods family was a slightly less formal occasion. In 2020, the PGA favorite uploaded a snap to Twitter of his nearest and dearest enjoying an alternative Masters Champions Dinner together. The annual event had been postponed in the wake of the pandemic but going by all the beaming smiles and Tiger's caption ("Nothing better than being with family"), everyone still enjoyed the at-home experience. And then in 2022, Sam referenced Herman while introducing her dad at his World Golf Hall of Fame induction. Sam said, "Through thick and thin, you, Charlie, Erica, [grandmother Kultida Woods] and I will always be a team."

Erica Herman rushed to Tiger Woods' bedside

Tiger Woods' tumultuous private life took another turn in 2021 when the golfer suffered a serious car accident in the California region of Rancho Palos Verdes. Per the Los Angeles Times, the sportsman was reportedly driving twice the speed limit when he hit a central reservation, street sign, and tree along Hawthorne Boulevard. His SUV flipped over numerous times.

Woods was rushed to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he underwent surgery to his legs. The star was found to have sustained major fractures to his right fibula and tibia. And as you would expect, Erica Herman was there for him for every step of the terrifying ordeal. 

"Erica dropped everything to be with Tiger the moment she heard what happened," a source told Us Weekly. "She's been by his bedside, holding his hand and telling him everything's going to be OK. He's a champ and he's got this."

Erica Herman supported Tiger Woods through his recovery

Tiger Woods thankfully made a full recovery from the horrific crash in 2021. And in an interview with Golf Digest, the sportsman revealed that he couldn't have done it all without the help of his long-term girlfriend.

Woods said, "There was a point in time when, I wouldn't say it was 50/50, but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg. Once I [kept it], I wanted to test and see if I still had my hands. So even in the hospital, I would have [girlfriend] Erica [Herman] and [friend] Rob [McNamara] throw me something. Throw me anything."

This wasn't the first time in 2021 that Woods had spent time in hospital. Just a month before his serious accident, the golfer announced on Twitter that he underwent a microdiscectomy after suffering a pinched nerve in the wake of the PNC Championship.

They reportedly now live together

After several years together, Tiger Woods decided to take the next step in his relationship with Erica Herman by asking her to move into his Florida mansion. And unsurprisingly, the restaurant manager didn't need to think too long and hard about cohabitating with her longtime beau. As a source told People in 2021, "They live together at his house now."

Herman was no stranger to the Sunshine State, of course. She'd grown up in Palm Beach County where she enjoyed cheerleading at Santaluces High School. Ann McCurdy, her former coach, later told Palm Beach Post that her former student was fearless when it came to positioning herself at the top of a pyramid.

The golf WAG also attended her local college before accepting a place at the University of Central Florida, graduating in 2008 with a degree in legal studies. And it was in Florida, of course, where Herman first met Woods while working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, Orlando's Blue Martini.

Erica Herman was there for Tiger Woods' return in 2022

In 2022, Tiger Woods returned to a major golf tournament for the first time since the car crash that nearly cost him a leg. The sportsman finished 13-over-par at the Augusta National, the worst Masters score of his entire career. However, following the injuries that he'd suffered just a year previously, most believed it was a miracle he was even on the course at all.

Girlfriend Erica Herman, however, had no doubt that Woods would last the distance, telling Golf magazine, "I mean, nothing ever surprises me about him. But he'd just worked so hard to be here, that was the one thing I knew: once he got here, he wasn't going to go home."

Herman, who was in attendance with Woods' children and mother, went on to add that familiarity also helped with the golfer's return to the sport. "This feels like a home game for him," she said. "This has been his home turf for so long. Everybody around the club knows him. They know us now, too."

Erica Herman gets on well with Tiger Woods' ex-wife

By all accounts, Erica Herman seems to get along well with Tiger Woods' children, Sam and Charlie Woods. But is there any awkwardness whenever she bumps into their mother, and the woman whose whole world collapsed in 2009 when news of the golfer's multiple infidelities broke, Elin Nordegren?

Well, according to one of People's insiders, everything is hunky-dory between the pair. "Elin has a friendly relationship with Erica," the source told the outlet. "Tiger has come a long way and Elin acknowledges that. She is happy that he is dating Erica."

After divorcing Woods in 2010, Nordegren went on to date philanthropist Chris Cline and have two children with her current partner, former Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron. By all accounts, she is now in a relatively healthy situation with her ex. People's source added, "Elin put her own feelings aside to make sure the kids have a great relationship with their dad. They do a great job of co-parenting."

They largely shun the media 

Although Tiger Woods and Erica Herman haven't been averse to the odd public display of affection on the golf course — particularly whenever the former has emerged triumphant — they largely like to keep their relationship on the down low.

Indeed, the pair have never given an interview to the press together, and Herman is notably absent on all the major social media platforms. And although Woods has posted more than 390 times on Instagram, only a handful have ever featured his other half.

The publicity-shy couple will occasionally be seen at occasions outside of the golfing circuit. In 2022, for example, they were pictured watching friend Serena Williams battle it out on the court at the U.S. Open. And they were also photographed alongside Woods' children and mother when the sportsman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. But it's unlikely we'll ever see them open their lives up to the cameras for a Kardashians-esque reality show any time soon.

They were both sued in a wrongful death case 

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman both found themselves caught up in a wrongful-death lawsuit in 2019 because of their ties to The Woods Jupiter restaurant. As reported by TMZ, the drama began when the family of bartender Nicholas Immesberger claimed he'd been served alcohol by staff who knew that he'd been struggling with alcohol misuse. 

Herman is the restaurant's director of operations, while Woods, of course, is its owner. And the couple were also accused of drinking alcohol with Immesberger just a few nights before his passing. The 24-year-old died in a car crash after leaving the establishment with a blood alcohol level three times the Florida legal limit.

However, both Woods and Herman were eventually dismissed from the suit. Per Golf Digest, attorney Barry Postman said in a statement, "It has been clear from the beginning that neither should have been included in the suit despite the claims that they somehow contributed to the accident. While the untimely passing of a young man is tragic, the decision to over-consume alcohol, take a significant amount of illegal drugs and then get behind the wheel of a car and drive at an excess high speed rests with Mr. Immesberger alone."