What Is Tiger Woods’ Real Name?

The 15-time Major winner is one of the most influential figures in the game’s history, but what is his real name?

Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd after his second round at the 150th Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods is one of the most celebrated names in the history of sport. Not only has he achieved almost unrivalled success on the course, including 15 Major wins, but the American has also had a profound impact beyond it.

After Woods rolled in his final putt to win the 1997 Masters at Augusta National by an incredible 12 shots, an extraordinary talent introduced itself to the world. It wasn’t just his incredible ability that captured global attention, though. Woods also inspired a new generation to take up the game while forever altering perceptions of who the game is for.

Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the 1997 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Such is Woods’ ongoing legacy that he is a rare sports personality who transcends his profession. Evidence of that can be found when attention on Woods has turned to matters away from the course, such as when he suffered a devastating and career-threatening leg injury in a car crash in 2021. Whenever Woods has made big headlines beyond his on-course prowess, the story has gone far beyond the sports pages and into the mainstream news.

Given his extraordinary fame, it would surprise many to learn that Tiger Woods isn’t really “Tiger Woods” at all. Woods was born on 30 December 1975 to Earl and Kultida Woods, who named their newborn Eldrick with the middle name Tont. Woods’ mother chose Eldrick because the first letter is “E” for Earl while the last is “K” for Kultida (Tont, incidentally, is a traditional Thai name – Kultida hails from Kanchanaburi in Thailand). However, Earl’s father is responsible for what would become one of the most recognisable names in the history of sport.

Earl was a US Army lieutenant colonel, and it is from those origins that Eldrick became Tiger. Earl befriended a Vietnamese soldier, Vuong Dang Phong, during his time in the army and nicknamed him Tiger. Once Eldrick was born, he applied the same nickname to his son, and it stuck.

Sadly, Earl passed away in 2006, but not before he saw his son come to dominate the game with a nickname bestowed on him that was, by then, known throughout the world. Such has been Woods’ incredible influence on the game and beyond that the name is guaranteed to live on long after the man who carries it picks up a club for the final time.

Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.