What Is Tiger Woods’ Real Name?

Published 09/10/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 23: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts during the trophy presentation ceremony after winning the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Tiger Woods, widely referred to as one of the top golfers in the world, has been in the headlines for several reasons. Whether that be for winning title after title, his personal life drama, or even his many accidents, the pro golfer has been through a lot. But, did you know that Tiger Woods is not his real name?

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In fact, his real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. He was born in California to parents Earl and Kultida Woods, and that is the name on his birth certificate. It is also interesting to note that he belongs to around 5 different ancestries! He is part Caucasian, African American, Thai, Chinese and Native American.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – DECEMBER 02: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts to his par on the fifth green during the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on December 2, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

His mother supposedly chose his first name, ‘Eldrick’, as it began with an ‘E’ (for his father) and ended with a ‘K’ (for his mother). They chose the middle name as a tribute to his mother’s Thai ancestry, as ‘Tont’ roughly translates to ‘beginning’ in English.

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Why did Tiger Woods change his name?

The unusual name ‘Tiger’ appears to have a rather sweet reason. His father served in the U.S. Army, and was deployed to Vietnam during the war. There, he befriended a South Vietnamese Colonel, Vuong Dang Phong, who was also known as Tiger. To honor his friendship with Phong, Earl Woods gave his name to his son.

 

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In fact, his father also insisted on calling him Sam, simply because he looked like one! In an interview with People, he said, “My father had always called me Sam since the day I was born. He rarely ever called me Tiger. I would ask him, ‘Why don’t you ever call me Tiger?’ He says, well, you look more like a Sam.”

After his father’s death, Tiger Woods named his first daughter ‘Sam’ as a tribute to him.

Did Tiger Woods formally change his name?

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Woods, however, did not get his name changed on paper. The official documents still go by his birth name and the certificate of his divorce with Elin Nordegren still refers to him as Eldrick Tont Woods.

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Ishita Bhargava

56 articles

Ishita Bhargava is a golf content writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, she has a keen interest in sports and fitness. When not playing or watching a sports event, Ishita can be seen spending time with her pets or binge-watching.

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