Tiger Woods was the talk of the golfing world during the 2018 Tour Championship on Sunday, when the 42-year-old icon scored his first victory in five years by finishing the Atlanta tournament with a final round 71 and a two-stroke win over Billy Horschel.
The milestone marked Woods’ first win since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013 and his 80th PGA win, reminding fans of his once unquestionable dominance.
After finishing the 18th hole, Woods was greeted by his girlfriend Erica Herman, who gave him a celebratory hug and kiss. “Love you,” Woods was heard saying to Herman, 33, as she wrapped her arms around him.
The couple’s PDA was also on display during the PGA Championship in St. Louis in August. Though Woods didn’t win a new title, he did earn a smooch — and a few taps on the rear — from Herman. The loving moment between the couple, which was caught by cameras, became a topic of conversation for many fans on social media, as many commenters on Twitter expressed their confusion and surprise upon finding out Woods has a new flame.
But his relationship with Herman isn’t so new after all.
The couple has been together since at least last year, when they were pictured together at the Presidents Cup in New Jersey in September 2017. It was there at the tournament — where Woods served as an assistant captain for the United States squad — that Herman wore a badge reserved for the girlfriends and wives of players, according to the United Kingdom’s Golf Monthly.
Herman has accompanied Woods to many other events since, and was even featured in a photo taken during the Presidents Cup with former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama (she can be seen standing directly behind Bush).
In December, Herman and Woods’ children — Sam, 11, and Charlie, 9, who he shares with ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, 38 — were pictured wearing matching red and black outfits as they cheered on the golfer during the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
The couple has also been seen enjoying romantic date nights, as they were pictured leaving the popular Malibu sushi restaurant, Nobu, following the Genesis Open in February.
Tiger gets the ole kiss on the lips and a good game before turning in his scorecard...
"Wow. That was fun to watch." pic.twitter.com/VOpWIfbmNW
— Daren Stoltzfus (@DarenStoltzfus)
August 12, 2018
For a time, Herman previously served as the general manager of the golfer’s restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, which opened at Florida’s Harbourside Place in August 2015. Since at least February, Herman no longer works for the restaurant, according to TMZ.
A friend of the golfer told PEOPLE in April that while Woods and Herman may not be tying the knot any time soon, he has developed a fondness for her.
“No one has signed any paperwork,” the friend said. “It’s not like they’re pledging their lives to each other. But she’s really nice and Tiger likes her.”
The source added: “Tiger doesn’t like to be alone… But he doesn’t like to settle. Not anymore. So when he’s with someone, he really needs to be into her.”
Golf fans may have been surprised by Herman’s presence at the tournaments since she is decidedly more low-profile than Woods’ most recent girlfriend, champion skier, Lindsey Vonn, 33.
Woods’ relationship with the Olympic gold medalist began in 2012 following his divorce from Nordegren, sparked by a sex scandal that revealed he had participated in numerous extramarital affairs. Woods and Vonn eventually split in 2015.
In the years since Woods’ affairs came to light, his performance on the golf course suffered dramatically. This, coupled with his DUI arrest in May 2017, left many wondering if he would ever make a comeback.
After his stunning performance on Sunday, with Herman there to cheer him on, 2018 Tiger Woods has captured his former magic — and happiness — once again.
“For a long time, there was a cloud over Tiger,” a source close to Woods previously told PEOPLE. “He had his surgeries, his setbacks. He’s only human, and those things were like a weight on his shoulders. But today, he’s happier than he’s been in years.”