ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman celebrate after the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Tiger’s ‘gold digger’ girlfriend

A SMILING Tiger Woods, punching the air in front of cheering crowds over the weekend, is a far cry from the mugshot taken just over a year ago.

In May 2017, Woods was arrested for Driving under the influence, eight years after being battered by his wife with a golf club when she discovered his cheating - but now he's back on form, publicly acknowledging the formidable female force by his side, The Sun reports.

After five years without a win, his whispering of "hmmm….I love you" in his girlfriend's ear showed it was no coincidence that this landmark victory was linked to his romance with Erica Herman, 33.

As well as being arrested for having five different drug types in his system and falling asleep at the wheel, Woods underwent surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his lower back last year.

It marked the pinnacle of a disastrous few years for the player, who has been dogged by scandal after he reportedly slept with around 120 women during his marriage to Elin Nordegren.

So who is this woman who's tamed the Tiger?

THE PARTY GIRL WHO CHASED TIGER LIKE A PUPPY

ERICA announced the couple's official status by wearing a "player spouse" badge, normally reserved for WAGs at the President's Cup last October.

It's believed that the golf star met his first brunette girlfriend in more than a decade through his pop-up restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, in Florida, where she worked as a general manager for several months last year.

When their romance was made public US site Radar Online reported that Erica was known as 'a gold-digger' and a 'big partyer' within her inner circle.

Insiders also said that Erica, who has a background in the hospitality trade, had been hoping to date the pro golfer for a decade.

They claimed: "Erica's been chasing Tiger around like a puppy for close to ten years. 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".

It's not clear whether Tiger hired Erica or whether the recruitment for the restaurant is done in-house but they will have crossed paths on several occasions.

The uber-luxe sports bar, where staff wear Nike trainers and classy sportswear while providing guests with hot towels after their finger food, is said to have a tight-knit staff team.

But Erica stopped working at The Woods in February this year.

THE RELATIONSHIP WITH TIGER'S EX-WIFE

JUST two months after they made their relationship official last October, Erica accompanied Tiger and his two children with Elin - daughter Sam, 11, and nine-year-old Charlie - to the Bahamas.

The restaurant manager was also spotted sat next to the children at the US Open in September 2017, although she and Tiger had not made their relationship public.

There were rumours at the time that Tiger had cheated on his Texan stylist ex, Kristin Smith, with Erica.

It was reported that Tiger was dating Kristen in November 2016, although the pair are said to have split just nine months later in August last year - a month before he was spotted with Erica.

At the time a source told Radar Online: "Kristen suspected it, but he would always deny it by belittling Erica."

LOVE BLOSSOMS IN A COURT OF LAW

JUST two days after making their relationship public, she accompanied him to court in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where he pleaded guilty to reckless driving being found asleep in his car last May.

She later joined him in the Royal box at Wimbledon in July - putting on a united front once more.

When his six year marriage to Elin was breaking down in 2009, there were numerous reports he'd spent thousands on escorts while on golf tours.

The final straw for Elin came when it was claimed his affair with New York nightclub boss Rachel Uchitel was uncovered.

Elin left their marriage with a $130 million (£72m) settlement, and Tiger started sex addiction therapy.

Tiger then went on to date Olympic skier Lindsey for three years from 2012 to May 2015, when Lindsey revealed they had parted ways due to spending "the majority of our time apart."

But a friend of the golfer later claimed he had been unfaithful again with a "nameless, faceless woman".

"Lindsey found out about women again, always while he's on the road. Just like when he was with Elin.

Yet this time around, it seems Tiger is willing himself not to fall in to same trap, with Erica being seen been by his side at all major tournaments.

And judging by the level of PDAs on the green yesterday, she's likely to be spotted at far more.

- This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk


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