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Woods faces legal clash with ex-girlfriend as Masters approaches


Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend is seeking to nullify a non-disclosure agreement she signed with golf’s biggest star in a legal dispute over allegations of an abrupt split after six years together.

The court documents have come to light a month before Woods, whose comeback from injuries has restored his popularity, returns to Augusta National to play in the Masters.

Lawyers for Woods’ ex-girlfriend, Erica Herman, are asking for clarity on what she can and can’t say, according to documents filed with South Florida’s Martin County Circuit Court.

Woods lives in Hobe Sound in Martin County, north of West Palm Beach, and according to the complaint, Woods and Herman lived together.

According to the complaint, a trust controlled by Woods is trying to silence Herman with a non-disclosure agreement she signed while involved in a “personal and professional relationship” with Woods.

The complaint argues that it should be nullified under the “Speak Out Act,” which became federal law in December and prohibits a non-disclosure agreement from being imposed when there is evidence of sexual assault or harassment.

Herman did not specifically accuse Woods of sexual assault; the civil cover page indicates that there is sexual abuse.

Herman filed a separate complaint on Oct. 26 accusing the trust established by Woods — the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust — of violating the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act.

She claims they had an 11-year verbal lease and five years left when she was evicted from the property by what she described in the complaint as “cheating.”

Herman, who once worked at his Jupiter Woods restaurant, claims Woods’ agents persuaded her to pack for a short vacation. She claims that when she got to the airport they told her she was locked out and wouldn’t come back.

She also claims that the officers “tried to justify their illegal behavior” by paying for a hotel room and certain expenses for a short period of time. The indictment says the officers took her belongings and embezzled $40,000 in cash that belonged to her, “with gross and defamatory allegations about how she got the money.”

Woods’ agent at Excel Sports Management, Mark Steinberg, did not respond to a call and text for comment.

Woods and his wife divorced in 2010, some nine months after he was caught in a series of extramarital affairs that cost him top corporate sponsors and tarnished an image that was largely beyond reproach.

He has since had a series of injuries and surgeries, including fusion surgery on his lower back in 2017, and shattered bones in his right leg after a February 2021 crash in Los Angeles when he drove his SUV off a coastal road while driving around. 85mph.

He returned from four back surgeries to win the 2019 Masters for his first major in 11 years and his 15th career Grand Slam title. Equally noteworthy was coming back from the car accident that he said nearly led to amputation of his right leg, playing in the Masters – and making the cut – just over a year later.

Woods can only play a limited schedule due to his injuries and people keep following him. In Los Angeles three weeks ago, fans lined just about every fairway to catch a glimpse of him.

Woods opted to sit out The Players Championship this week, resting instead for the Masters on April 6-9. He needs one more PGA Tour win to set the career record he shares with Sam Snead at 82.

He was first seen in public with Herman at the Presidents Cup in late September 2017, and she was a regular at the bigger events, such as the 2019 Masters. But she wasn’t with him at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in the first week of December, nor at the Genesis Invitational he hosted three weeks ago in California’s Riviera.

The complaint filed Monday with the NDA does not detail what information Herman would like to reveal or make specific allegations against Woods.

The complaint says that because of “aggressive use” of the non-disclosure agreement, Herman is unsure whether she can disclose “facts giving rise to various legal claims she believes she has.” It also says that she is not sure what other information about her own life to discuss and with whom.


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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.