When Tiger Woods takes to the golf course, fans and spectators are glued to his every step and stroke. So when the legendary golfer showed up to the President’s Cup in September 2017 with a new woman, Erica Herman, by his side, the golf world immediately took notice.
Since that first appearance, Herman has been a constant at the course whenever Woods is competing, though the couple have otherwise remained very private over the years (a notable difference from Woods’ previous relationship with Lindsey Vonn and his very public marriage and divorce from Elin Nordegren). The two are rarely seen out in public at non-golf events, and Herman has no social media presence, though she has appeared on Woods’ Instagram three times since October 2017.
And while a February 2021 car accident left Woods’ golf career in limbo, the iconic golfer is still living “a great life” off the course with longtime girlfriend Herman and his two children, son Charlie and daughter Sam. Most recently, Forbes announced in June 2022 that Woods’ estimated net worth had climbed to $1 billion, making him one of only three billionaire athletes along with LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
So who is the woman supporting Woods both on and off the course since 2017? From her restaurant beginnings to the sidelines of the PGA tour, here’s everything to know about Erica Herman and her relationship with Tiger Woods.
They’ve been together for almost five years
Woods and Herman first stepped out as a couple in September 2017, when she attended the President’s Cup with Woods while wearing a “player spouse” credential — which is generally reserved for the spouses or significant others of the event’s players and captains. In addition to joining Woods on the course during the tournament, Herman was spotted attending the opening ceremonies with the U.S. team’s wives and girlfriends, according to Golf.com.
One month later, the couple made things Instagram official when Woods shared a photo of the two at Dodger Stadium for a World Series game. The photo posted on the golfer’s Instagram showed Woods and Herman sporting matching Dodgers jerseys, though Woods did not name or tag his significant other in the post.
“No one has signed any paperwork,” a friend of Woods told PEOPLE in 2018 about the couple. “It’s not like they’re pledging their lives to each other. But she’s really nice and Tiger likes her.”
“Tiger doesn’t like to be alone,” the friend added. “But he doesn’t like to settle. Not anymore. So when he’s with someone, he really needs to be into her.”
Since then, Herman eventually moved into Woods’ Jupiter, Florida mansion. “They live together at his house now,” a source close to the golfer told PEOPLE.
She’s a native of Florida
Living with Woods isn’t what drew Herman to Florida, though — she’s lived in the Sunshine State since childhood. According to the Palm Beach Post, Herman grew up in Palm Beach County, attending Santaluces High School in the early 2000s, where she was a member of the school’s cheerleading team.
Herman stayed in her home state for college as well, attending both Palm Beach State College and the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, as Heather Smith, assistant director of media relations at UCF, told the Palm Beach Post.
She previously worked in the restaurant industry
Though Herman’s degree is in legal studies, the majority of her career was spent in the restaurant industry. While attending UCF in Orlando, Herman first worked as a bartender and was eventually named VIP manager at the Blue Martini lounge, her former co-worker told Page Six.
According to court records, in 2010 Herman also had ambitions to open a string of nightclubs in Florida with two business partners and a local investor — an endeavor that ultimately failed. She eventually became the general manager of Tiger Woods’ flagship restaurant The Woods Jupiter, which opened at Florida’s Harbourside Place in August 2015. It was there that Herman began working directly with Woods, former restaurant employee Luke Copeland told Page Six.
She supports Woods’ golf career
Since her first appearance with Woods at the 2017 President’s Cup, Herman has been a mainstay on the golf course when Woods is competing.
When Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship — his first victory in five years and 80th PGA title — Herman was waiting at the 18th hole to greet him with a celebratory hug and kiss. “Love you,” Woods was heard saying to Herman as she wrapped her arms around him.
In 2019, when Woods won the Masters, Herman was one of the first to congratulate him — along with his kids and mother — as he claimed his fifth green jacket. Later that same year, when Woods led his team to a President’s Cup victory, he held back tears as Herman ran to embrace him following the win. The two shared a long hug and walked away arm-in-arm.
But Herman hasn’t just been there for Woods’ victories; she’s supported him at tournaments around the world, regardless of the outcome. The couple shared a kiss following the 2018 PGA Championship and were hand-in-hand at the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. Herman also cheered Woods on at the 2022 Masters — his first tournament appearance since the February 2021 car crash that left him with multiple injuries.
“It’s miraculous,” Herman told Golf.com about Woods’ Masters appearance. “It shouldn’t be happening.”
She added, “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.”
She gets along well with Woods’ ex-wife and children
When it comes to Woods’ ex-wife Nordegren and Herman, there is no bad blood. “Elin has a friendly relationship with Erica,” a source told PEOPLE. “Tiger has come a long way and Elin acknowledges that. She is happy that he is dating Erica.”
Herman is also close with Woods’ two children that he shares with Nordegren. The trio are often in the crowd at Woods’ tournaments together, even donning matching outfits at the 2017 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “The kids like her,” the same source previously shared with PEOPLE.
Woods’ daughter Sam echoed that sentiment when she introduced her father at his 2022 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In her heartfelt speech, she referred to their strong bond as a family unit — including Herman.
“Through thick and thin, you, Charlie, Erica, [grandmother Kultida Woods] and I will always be a team,” she said.
She helped Woods recover from his February 2021 car crash
Woods faced an uphill road to recovery after his car struck a center divider and was in a rollover accident on Feb. 23, 2021 in Los Angeles. He sustained “multiple leg injuries” from the crash that required surgery, according to his agent Mark Steinberg, including fractures to his right tibia and fibula bones, and additional injuries in his foot and ankle.
The accident left Woods unsure if he would walk again or lose his right leg — let alone golf. But Herman, who was photographed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center the day following his accident, was a key part of his recovery, Woods shared in an interview with Golf Digest.
“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,” Woods said. “Throw me anything.”
After months of rehab, which Woods described as “more painful than anything I have ever experienced,” he returned to golf — playing in the PNC Championship in December 2021 with his son. And cheering from the sidelines was Herman, along with Woods’ daughter and Nordegren.