Who is the Mother of Tiger Woods?

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 17: Kultida Woods watches her son Tiger during the final round of the Target World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 17, 2006 in Thousand Oaks, California.
Tiger Woods' mother is Kultida (Punsawad) Woods, also known as 'Tida.'. Jeff Golden / Getty Images

Tiger Woods' mother is Kultida Woods, known as "Tida" to her friends.

Tida Tidbits

  • Year of birth: 1944
  • Place of birth: Thailand
  • Maiden name: Kultida Punsawad
  • Nickname: Tida

Kultida Woods' Early Years

Kultida Punsawad was born about 70 miles outside of Bangkok in the province of Kanchanaburi in Thailand. She had three siblings. Her parents divorced when she was young.

Her ancestry is a mix of Thai, Chinese and Dutch.

She was raised in the Buddhist faith and passed that faith on to her son. Another reminder of Tiger's ties to Thailand through his mother is his middle name of "Tont," a traditional Thai name that his mother gave him.

Kultida and Earl Woods' Relationship

In 1966, Earl Woods Sr., a member of the United States Army, was stationed in Thailand. Tida and Earl first met at that time, when Kultida was working as a secretary in Bangkok in a United States Army office.

She first left Thailand for America in 1968, and Tida and Earl got married in 1969 in Brooklyn, New York.  She was 25 years old at the time of the wedding. During those early years in New York, Tida worked in a bank in Brooklyn.

As an interracial couple in America in the 1970s, they sometimes encountered resistance or hostility. Once a rock was thrown through the window of a home they bought in a previously all-white neighborhood in California.

Kultida gave birth to Tiger in December of 1975 (after the move to California), when she was 31 years old. Her mother lived with the family for a couple years in Tiger's early life, and Tida took Tiger on trips to Thailand to help him learn about her native culture and meet her side of the family.

Despite alleged affairs by Earl with other women, Kultida and Earl remained married until his death on May 3, 2006.

Kultida and Tiger

Unlike Earl, who never shied away from the spotlight and frequently gave interviews, Tiger Woods' mother has kept a much lower profile. For most of Woods' golf career, Kultida was frequently seen in attendance, quiet and focused behind a pair of sunglasses, following her son. (She rarely attends events today.). Kultida has rarely has given interviews or sought attention for herself.

But her influence on Tiger's golf was felt early on through Woods' mental toughness and focus, qualities his mother possessed in abundance. Tida was the disciplinarian in the house. And it was Tida who, when Woods began playing junior golf, was the parent who drove Tiger to tournaments and followed his every more during them.

In a profile written for ESPN.com, golf writer Jaime Diaz quoted Kultida saying, "I am a loner, and so is Tiger. We don't waste time with people we don't like. I don't have many close friends. Never have. I am independent and strong-willed. That way, you survive." You can certainly see Tiger in those words.

Tida was staying at Tiger's house over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009 and was there the night Woods crashed his SUV, the event that wound up exposing Tiger's own marital affairs and, ultimately, broke apart his marriage to Elin Nordegren.

Kultida Woods was also present during the Tiger Woods apology speech (in the wake of Woods' sex scandal revelations) in February 2010.

Woods has said that his mother's reactions to those affairs "was brutal" and that she was very tough on him.

Early in Tiger's career, he played several pro tournaments in his mother's native Thailand. The most obvious impact Kultida had on Tiger's golf is in on display in those red shirts. Tiger Woods always wears red in the final round because his mother told him to.

A Few More Tidbits about Tida Woods

  • She now lives in Florida, close to Tiger.
  • She is known as an animal lover and has usually owned multiple dogs.
  • While almost always appearing stoic when she attended her son's pro tournaments, Kultida can be quite saucy - and blunt - conversationally. She likes to drop "honeys" into her speech when talking to others. She told Diaz, "Hey, when you get a chance, you got to have fun in life."
  • Like her son, Tida jealously guards her privacy.
  • She is a dedicated Buddhist.
  • Kultida is involved in philanthropy both in the United States (through the Tiger Woods Foundation, on whose board she sat) and in Thailand where she has financially supported children's homes and schools.

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