The untold truth of Tiger Woods' girlfriend, Erica Herman

Who exactly is Erica Herman? That was the question on everyone's mind following Tiger Woods' epic win at the 2018 PGA Tour Championship in September 2018, and the buzz returned when the golfer donned the green Masters jacket in April 2019. The disgraced golf pro, who used to be ranked the No. 1 player in the world, was on a five-year losing streak following a nasty cheating scandal, headline-making divorce, and spinal fusion surgery. His big win broke that curse, and the impressive comeback should have been the focus of all the coverage that followed, but instead, his public smooch and sweet profession of love for his girlfriend took viewers by surprise ... and intrigued them to no end.

Instantly, the world wanted to know more about the mysterious woman who, unlike his previous flames, seems to have zero ties to Hollywood and is certainly not famous. We dug deep and can now bring you the untold truth of Wood's new lady, Erica Herman.

Was she involved in his cheating scandals?

On Nov. 26, 2009, Tiger Woods' picture-perfect life crumbled around him following a cheating scandal so epic, it made international headlines.

Need a refresher? Woods' then-wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren, did some investigative work on Tiger's phone one night while he was sleeping. What she discovered prompted her to grab a golf club and essentially chase him out of their home. "Woods pulled out of the driveway at 30 mph, crushed some hedges, careened into a curb, then hit a fire hydrant before smashing into a tree. He wound up in the street, unconscious, bloody and snoring," reported the New York Post. Woods eventually admitted to sleeping with 120 women. His sponsors headed for the hills and so did Nordegren, negotiating a $750 million divorce settlement. 

Woods' next two serious girlfriends — Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and stylist Kristin Smith — also hit the road amid cheating rumors, but Erica Herman doesn't seem phased by the past. In fact, according to Radar Online, she may have been part of the problem. A source claimed Woods cheated on Smith with Herman. "Kristen suspected it, but he would always deny it by belittling Erica," the insider alleged. "Kristin eventually caught them together. It was a big mess."

She stole his thunder

It's hard to believe anyone could outshine Tiger Woods following his PGA Tour Championship win in September 2018. The Tampa Bay Times said the golfer belongs in the "Comeback Hall of Fame," and yet Erica Herman arguably upstaged him. 

Rather than focusing solely on Woods' accomplishment, the press honed in on his sweet exchange with Herman. "Tiger Woods made a beeline for his girlfriend after his historic comeback win on Sunday night." That's the first line of a report in the Daily Mail, which goes on to describe Woods rushing to find "his restaurant manager flame" to shower her in affection. People magazine made it a point to note that this wasn't the first time Herman and her man displayed some major PDA on the sidelines. At the PGA Championship in St. Louis in August 2018, she reportedly gave him "a smooch — and a few taps on the rear," despite his loss.  

Oh, and by the way, Woods played a pretty good game of golf, too.

She's connected to his restaurant biz

Tiger Woods' girlfriend is certainly not a new fixture in the pro golfer's life. In fact, the pair has reportedly been dating since September 2017. According to MSN, Herman worked as a general manager at the golfer's restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, in Florida. She reportedly held that position until about February 2018. She's now the restaurant's "director of operations," earning about $1,589 weekly, according to the Daily Mail.

These two made their relationship official in public by stepping out together at the Presidents Cup in autumn 2017. Herman apparently let the entire world know she was dating Woods by proudly sporting a "Player Spouse" badge, which is strictly reserved for wives and girlfriends, according to Golf MonthlySince then, the pair has made no effort to hide the blossoming romance. Not only has Herman become a fixture on the golf course, but she was snapped spending time with Woods' kids (and ex-wife!) on a family holiday in the Bahamas, reported MSN. She even accompanied Woods to court when he pleaded guilty to reckless driving under the influence in 2017.

She's more than $240K in debt

According to the Daily Mail, Tiger Woods is worth an estimated $740 million, including the cool $1.62 mil for winning the 2018 PGA Tour Championship in September 2018. Erica Herman, however, is reportedly in the red — more than $240K in debt, to be exact. How did that happen?

The same outlet reported on failed business ventures launched by Herman, her then-boyfriend Jesse Newton, and another business partner named Ricky McIntosh. The trio opened a chain of nightclubs in Orlando, Fla., and with an additional $200,000 from investor Tom Morris, opened the doors to Lotus restaurant. When the ventures soon went sour, Morris sued to get his money back. Herman was reportedly ordered to pay Morris $240,233.08 to cover the initial investment, plus interest and fees, but she did nothing of the sort. 

Now that she's working at Woods' restaurant, the Mail reported that her wages are being garnished to pay Morris back. She's supposedly shelling out $295.60 each week. and that rate, she won't be in the clear until 2085! Maybe she should ask Tiger for a raise?

Critics claim she's 'angry and controlling'

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman have repeatedly been snapped looking and sounding lovey-dovey on the golf course — a mic caught Woods sweetly whispering, "I love you" to her after he won the PGA Tour Championship in September 2018, but their relationship may not be as perfectly romantic as it seems.

According to Radar Online, this couple isn't so happy behind closed doors. "Erica controls Tiger," a source told the tab, alleging Herman is so afraid of losing her spot by Woods' side that she "gets rid of people around him because she is threatened and jealous." Dubbing their relationship "toxic," the anonymous insider claimed Herman "has a temper" and said the pair "fight and argue," alleging Woods "seems miserable with her" but "doesn't want to be alone." 

Haters say she's a 'gold-digger'

Although some see Erica Herman as a positive influence on Tiger Woods' life, others couldn't disagree more. Unnamed insiders told Radar Online that Herman is a "gold-digger" and a "big partier" who attracts legal trouble. "There was always a rumor that Tiger helped Erica and gave her money," a source alleged.

Most shocking of all, however, is the claim that she's had her sights set on Woods for a decade. "Erica's been chasing Tiger around like a puppy for close to ten years," a source told the tab. "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."

Like it or not, this couple has most certainly gone public. In fact, Woods and Herman got all glammed up (pictured above) to join other professional golfers and their significant others at the Ryder Cup Gala at the Palace of Versailles in France.

She may have a 'grounding influence' on Woods

Seasoned sportswriter Chris Baldwin had a lot of positive things to say about Tiger Woods and Erica Herman in a July 2018 article for Paper City. He suggested that Woods' seemingly much calmer, happier personality may be because of Herman's "grounding influence in his new life." 

When the British Open didn't go his way, Woods didn't leave the tournament in his customary "fit of simmering rage," Baldwin wrote. Instead, he walked out calmly with his kids and Herman. "He wasn't leaving any of his loved ones in the dust either." That was another departure from his past, Baldwin said, when the golfer "almost appeared to forget" that his wife was with him on the course. "This new 2018 Tiger finds the positives and smiles at his kids."

Maybe Herman is exactly the type of partner Woods needs? She's "not a celebrity, a Las Vegas model or a knockout Swedish nanny," Baldwin said. She appears to be sort of an average Jane who's helped one of the world's greatest athletes become "a good dad and a good boyfriend first."

She likely won't become Mrs. Woods anytime soon

Despite their headline-making displays of affection, it sounds like Tiger Woods and Erica Herman won't be tying the knot anytime soon. At least that's what one source told People in April 2018. That insider claimed Woods' seemingly sunnier disposition is actually the result of his positive relationship with former flame Lindsey Vonn from 2012 to 2015. "That was a turning point for him. And it ended, but not in a bad way," the source said. 

As for Herman? We'll just have to wait and see. "No one has signed any paperwork. It's not like they're pledging their lives to each other," the insider said. "But she's really nice and Tiger likes her." That doesn't mean he's ready to walk down the aisle. "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."

She's his biggest fan

April 14, 2019 was a momentous day for Tiger Woods. After a drama-filled period packed with personal hurdles and no big wins in more than a decade, the golfer "rolled back the years at Augusta," donning the green winner's jacket at the Masters. Cheering him on from the sidelines was his No. 1 fan: Erica Herman.

Following his historic win, at age 43, Woods proceeded to celebrate with his family. He hugged his kids, Sam and Charlie, then his mother, Kultifa, and then he embraced his girlfriend. Wearing a floppy black hat and a red blouse that matched the golf pro's red shirt, Herman waited patiently for her turn. Woods enveloped her in a massive bear hug as she kissed him on the cheek. The PDA made its own set of headlines. In fact, the New York Post dedicated an entire story to the exchange, titled: "Tiger Woods kisses girlfriend Erica Herman after epic Masters win."

So there you have it: Say what you will about this couple's controversial pasts, Herman and Woods appear to be mastering this relationship.

Legal troubles have been trailing her for years

Erica Herman's massive debt isn't the only legal issue she's had to deal with over the years. According to the Daily Mail, Tiger Woods' lady love may have a pattern of living beyond her means. 

"In 2012, Crescent Bank sued Herman in Orlando to repossess a $13,000 BMW she bought with a loan," the Mail reported. That same year, her landlord tried to evict her and her then-boyfriend for failing to pay their $1,300-per-month rent. Almost unbelievably, the landlord supposedly tried (and failed) to evict the couple a whopping seven times, but following each official warning, they managed to turn up with the necessary cash, the tab said, noting that the landlord finally evicted the couple in March 2014. 

After she started working at Wood's restaurant, Herman was slapped with a lawsuit from a debt collector for $26,635.80, reported the Mail. That figure was supposed to cover a slew of supplies purchased on credit for her failed nightclub, but the suit "was dismissed in July [2018] after the debt collector failed to locate Herman," the tab said. If only that collector knew to knock on the door of Woods' mansion.