Woods, 37, once looked nailed on to sail past Nicklaus' mark and set new standards in the sport but after he returned from injury to win the 2008 US Open, his career hit a crossroads as his well-documented marital infidelities came to light.
He appears to have turned the corner in 2013, working his way back to the world number one ranking, but he has done so without adding to his long list of major wins.
While Woods admits he has lot some of the power from his game with age, he believes his experience brings its own benefits, and points to the examples of others in insisting he can win big again.
"A lot of golfers peak in their 30s," he said in an interview with CNN. "You start eliminating mistakes as you get older. I might not bomb it as far, but strategic awareness improves. You understand how to attack the golf course and that's why there are so many great players - (Ben) Hogan for instance, won most of his majors at my age and over. For Jack (Nicklaus) it took him until he was 46.
"You are going to have your years when you play really well - you may clip two or three - and then you have years when you just don't win anything - you are there, you just don't happen to win...quite frankly, since 2008, I've been there with a chance to win about a half of them. I just haven't seemed to have won one."
His best chance of adding to the list perhaps came at the Open at Muirfield this summer as he kept himself in contention all week, but then faded badly on the final round.
His disappointment still festers, and he has singled out a key moment on the Saturday as the moment his futures changed.
"At the British Open on Saturday at the 17th I just spun one up in the air and it ended up in the bunker. I blasted out, made bogey, Lee (Westwood) made birdie so there was a big shift there," he said. "I've been there with chances to win - I just haven't done it yet."