Tiger Woods at the Genesis Invitational
Tiger Woods blasts out of a bunker on the way to a two-under par opening round at the Genesis Invitational, his first US PGA Tour event since July. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP/RONALD MARTINEZ

World-famous golfer Tiger Woods is once again embroiled in a controversy stemming from his personal relationships. This time, his former girlfriend of six years, Erica Herman, is taking him to court with sexual abuse claims among a slew of other allegations. The exact details of the case are still unclear due in part to a non-disclosure agreement that Herman is also contesting.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

One of the main lawsuits that that Herman, 39, has filed against the golfer aims to void an NDA that she claims she was "forced to sign." In the process of filling out documents related to the case and the alleged coercion to sign the agreement, Herman ticked the "yes" box in a form where she was asked "Does this case involve allegations of sexual abuse?" The Daily Mail has shared a scan of the said document.

As of now, no details have been revealed about her claims of experiencing sexual abuse in relation to her case against the golf legend.

Herman may be unable to provide further details at this time unless she succeeds in getting out of the NDA which she says is being wrongfully enforced.

She is banking on the Speak Out Act in her bid to nullify the NDA. The Act renders NDAs unenforceable if sexual assault or harassment is involved during the time when the agreement was signed.

Emotional damage claims

Apart from the lawsuit surrounding the NDA and the mysterious sexual assault claims, Herman is also suing her former partner for severe emotional damage and is seeking $30 million (£25m) in compensation. According to Herman, she lived with Woods in his mansion located at Hobe Sound, Florida for the duration of their six-year relationship and the damages she is claiming is partly based on the substantial rental value of the home which she feels she has a right to live in for another five years.

When things turned sour in October 2022, she claims that Woods "tricked" her into going away on a short vacation. When she arrived at the airport, Herman says she was told by the golfer's representatives that she has been locked out and is no longer welcome to return to the mansion.

Apart from being kicked out of the residence, Herman also claims that representatives for Woods took $40,000 (£33.7k) from her and made defamatory allegations against her over how she got the cash.

In the filing, Herman says that she suffered emotional damages stemming from "breaches of duty" on the part of her former partner.

Oral Tenancy Agreement

Another interesting aspect of the case involves a claim by Herman that she had entered an Oral Tenancy Agreement. Under the said agreement, she claims to be entitled to live in Woods' mansion for another five years. However, she was tricked out of leaving and was subsequently locked out.

A trust called the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, is the legal owner of the property where Woods lives with his two children from ex-wife Elin Nordegren. According to Herman, while living there during her relationship with Woods, she provided "valuable services" at the request of the golfer and that they had reached the tenancy agreement.

She has not revealed the details of these services except they they were "extensive and of an extraordinary nature in light of the overall circumstances and environment in which she lived."

Exerpts from the filing obtained by the Daily Mail read: "All expenses that related to (Herman's) residency were fully paid by the defendant or its privies. This (oral tenancy) agreement was fully performed for the six-year period prior to the events giving rise to this lawsuit."

Relationship and break-up

Woods and Herman were regularly seen together out in public for the duration of their relationship. She often accompanied him to golfing events although he has not been as active as he used to be due to his numerous injuries over the years.

The pair also attended other non-golfing events together and would even occasionally engage in public displays of affection. However, the relationship reportedly came to an end after Woods engaged in "prohibited practices."

Woods' actions reportedly resulted in "severe actual, consequential and severe emotional damages" to the plaintiff. These actions include how she was tricked into leaving so that she could be locked out.

She claims that the golfers representatives presented her with options to "justify their illegal conduct." The golfer's team also paid for her accommodations at a hotel for a short period of time after they informed her that she was prohibited from returning to the home they once shared.

Woods has a different version

As in any dispute, there are at least two sides to a story. In this case, the golfer's lawyers admitted to the existence of an NDA which also states that disputes between the parties should be settled by an independent arbiter.

Woods also admitted that the relationship ended and Herman was told that she was "no longer welcome" in the Florida mansion. She was also referred to as a "guest" when she lived there with Woods and allowing her to stay even after the end of their relationship would be deemed as "directly adverse" to the interests of Woods and his family.