Tiger Woods’ dad, Earl Woods, passed away in 2006. The two were extremely close and Earl Woods would often be on-hand to support his son on the course. Tiger’s mom, Kultida Woods, is still one of his biggest supporters.
Woods isn’t currently married, but he has two children with his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren. His kids, Sam and Charlie, are also often seen on the course supporting their dad. He recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend, Erica Herman, according to court documents obtained by Heavy.
Here’s what you need to know about Tiger Woods’ family:
1. Tiger Woods Has 2 Children With His Ex-Wife, Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods and his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, were married for six years. The two tied the knot in 2004, exchanging vows at the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados.
The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Sam Alexis Woods, on June 18, 2007. Their son, Charlie Axel, was born two years later on February 8, 2009.
Sam has been attending golf matches since she was just a baby. When she was 5 months old, she attended the Target World Challenge at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, with her mom and her grandmother (Wood’s mom).
As she has gotten older, Sam has seemingly taken a liking to her dad’s sport of choice. In fact, she “worked” as his caddie during the Par 3 Contest ahead of the 2015 Masters Tournament.
Her younger brother, Charlie was also on-hand to help out that day. In fact, Charlie has even tried golfing himself — and he’s pretty good at it. According to Golf Magazine, Charlie finished a junior golf tournament near his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a score of 19 over par, landing him in the T2 spot.
“The kids played nine holes at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, not far from the Woods’ Jupiter Island residence. Charlie, who started on the 10th hole, had a tournament highlight of par on the 150-yard par-2.”
Back in 2015, Woods told Gold Magazine that his son excelled in the sport.
“He’s got some parts in his swing that I’m trying to do. It’s a little frustrating at times. When I played, I was so little. A par-4 is not a par-4. So my dad created my own par. So every time I would play the hole, whatever shots it took me to get to the green, reasonably, plus two. So sometimes it was a par- 12. And that’s what I did with Charlie… It’s about them enjoying the attention that it takes to try to get to par…What my dad did was genius because it kept me interested. It kept me focused on, my dad shot 2-over and I shot three, and I almost beat him. Even though I was making 11 and 12 on holes, but in relation that’s about right,” Woods told the outlet.
2. Tiger Woods Says He’s Deathly Afraid’ of His Mom, but Loves Her ‘So Much’
Woods’ mom, Kultida “Tida” Woods (née Punsawad), was born in Thailand. She chose Tiger’s birth name “Eldrick” because she liked that it starts with the letter “E” (for his dad, Earl), and ends with the letter “K” (for her name, Kultida), according to ESPN.
Over the years, Woods’ mom has been a huge supporter of his life, both on and off the course. Not only has she attended several of his tournaments, but she has also offered him her love and support when he lost his way in his personal life.
For example, in 2010, Woods received a warm embrace and a kiss from his mom after he made a statement about cheating on his then-wife, Elin Nordegren.
Despite her continuous flow of love and support, Woods will be the first to say that his mom is a tough woman. In fact, he says that he’s still “deathly afraid” of her.
“My dad was always the person who would plant seeds and give me encouragement but also would say things that would fester inside me that wouldn’t come to fruition for a while. He was very worldly and deep in his thinking. My mom was the enforcer. My dad may have been in the Special Forces, but I was never afraid of him. My mom’s still here, and I’m still deathly afraid of her. She’s a very tough, tough old lady, very demanding. She was the hand, she was the one, I love her so much, but she was tough. There was zero negotiation,” Woods told USA Today.
3. His Dad, a Vietnam Veteran, Died in 2006
Earl Dennison Woods was born March 5, 1932, in Manhattan, Kansas. He grew up playing baseball, and eventually lettered for Kansas State University. According to ESPN, Earl’s father, Miles Woods, “loved the Kansas City Monarchs (the New York Yankees of the Negro baseball leagues), and, because he lived in a military town and had four daughters, hated the Army.”
“Perversely independent, Earl rejected a contract offer from the Monarchs and became a career soldier,” reported ESPN’s Tom Callahan.
Earl Woods served in the United States Army during the conflict in Vietnam. Woods served his first tour as an infantry officer, before returning as part of the Army Special Forces. Earl retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel and moved into the private sector of defense contracting.
Earl Woods married Barbara Gary, mother of Tiger Woods’ three half-siblings, in 1954. The two divorced in 1968. When stationed in Thailand, Earl Woods met Tiger’s mother, Kultida Punsawad, who he would later marry in 1969. She gave birth to their son, Eldrick Tont Woods, on December 30, 1975.
Earl nicknamed his son “Tiger” after a comrade he fought alongside in Vietnam, Colonel Vuong Dang “Tiger” Phong.
“‘I knew, instinctively knew,’ Earl said, ‘that my son was going to have fame. Someday my old friend would see him on television, read about him in a newspaper or magazine, and say, ‘That must be Woody’s kid,’ and we’d find each other again,'” ESPN reported.
The two Tigers would never meet, according to the New York Times.
“In 1997, Tom Callahan of Golf Digest set out to find the first Tiger. He learned that after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Phong had been put in a political re-education camp and died of starvation a year later, eight months after Tiger Woods was born.”
Earl Woods served as Tiger’s golf coach and greatest advocate throughout his career. In 1998, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which returned in 2004. He died in 2006, at the age of 74.
“My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend,” Tiger Woods said in announcing that his father had passed away.
4. He Has 3 Half-Siblings Who Claim He Abandoned Them
Woods is the only child of Earl and Kultida Woods, but he has two half-brothers, Earl Jr., born in 1955, and Kevin, born in 1957, as well as a half-sister, Royce, born in 1958, from his dad’s first marriage to Barbara Woods Gary.
Woods isn’t close to his half-siblings, who have spoken to the media about being “abandoned” by the golfer. In a 2013 interview with ESPN’s Rick Reilly, Earl Jr. explained that his brother, Kevin, has been suffering from multiple sclerosis and that he calls Tiger to give him updates, but he never hears anything back.
“I leave messages. I leave updates on Kevin, but for whatever reason I don’t get a response. Kevin loves Tiger. A call from Tiger would really pump Kevin up. When he doesn’t call, it just makes him feel worse,” Earl Jr. told ESPN. Earl Jr. said that he hasn’t heard from his half-brother since their dad’s funeral.
This isn’t anything new, however.
“The more universal Tiger got, the less we heard from him,” Earl Jr. added.
Woods and his half-sister had a closer relationship back when he was still in college. In fact, Royce told ESPN that her half-brother bought her a house. However, she hasn’t heard from Woods since their father’s funeral either.
“I would live in a shack, literally a shack, if I could have my relationship with my brother back,” Royce told author Tom Callahan for his 2010 book His Father’s Son.
Woods’ half-siblings say that they don’t want money from him, they merely want a relationship with him. They are blood, after all.
“We haven’t asked Tiger for a dime. Not even tickets to a tournament. But Kevin’s losing his home. He needs a caregiver and he can’t have a caregiver and keep his home at the same time. And we can’t do that, we don’t have the means. He can’t move into Royce’s house because of the stairs. And he’s got a dog. Nobody’s asking for money here, but [a caregiver] really would be nice for Kevin. It would make Kevin comfortable. He wouldn’t have to leave his house. But we’d at least like to be able to find out how Tiger is, to find out if he’s OK, and to let him know if we’re OK,” Earl Jr. said.
“I’d like to [slap] Tiger, wake him up. I’d like to say, ‘Don’t come knocking on the door when you need a bone-marrow transplant.’ To see this is the response we get? Maybe when you see the world like he does, you don’t see what other people are going through. But, seriously? You’ve got problems with your knee? That’s nothing compared to what Kevin is going through. Nothing,” he added.
5. His Niece, Cheyenne, Is Also a Professional Golfer
Woods’ niece, Cheyenne, is also a professional golfer. She is the daughter of Woods’ half-brother, Earl Jr. and his wife, Susan. Her very first golf coach was her grandfather, Earl Woods.
She graduated from Wake Forest in 2012. She played golf in college and won 30 amateur tournaments, according to the New York Times.
In 2011, Cheyenne won the 2011 ACC women’s golf championship and she turned pro the following year. She made her professional debut at the 2012 LPGA Championship, at the age of 21.
“[She] posted rounds of 74-72 to take co-medalist honors in the two-day qualifier at Carolina Trace Country Club. While there will certainly be some butterflies when she tees it up in her first U.S. Women’s Open as a pro, she should feel at ease knowing it won’t be her first start on golf’s biggest stage. Woods will actually make her pro debut next week after receiving a sponsor’s exemption to the Wegmans LPGA Championship,” Yahoo! Sports reported at the time.
As of 2013, she still had a relationship with her uncle Tiger and the two would spend time together.
“Tiger had Cheyenne down to Florida for three days to spend Thanksgiving on his boat. I asked her [afterward], ‘Did he ask about us?’ She said, ‘No,'” Earl Jr. told ESPN.
Despite being Woods’ niece and having golf in her blood, Cheyenne has said that she wants to be recognized for her own talents.
“I want to be an established player on the LPGA tour, respected as a golfer rather than, y’know, Tiger Woods’ niece. But I realize it comes with the territory,” she told The Guardian in 2013.
In 2014, Cheyenne finished T-11th in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. And, in 2015, she finished T-13th in the Final Qualifying Tournament, earning herself a spot in the LPGA tour the following year.