Instead, when he tapped in to confirm victory on Sunday, he moved to within three major wins of Nicklaus' record.
Despite a cluster of years that seemed to hack away at the legend of Tiger Woods, the 43-year-old came back this year and won the Masters, adding a fifth green jacket to his wardrobe and earning him his 15th overall major championship win.
Woods hugged his mother Kultida and children Sam and Charlie, who were waiting greenside, amid chants of "Tiger, Tiger" from the vast crowds thronging the green and the clubhouse.
"I was very fortunate to be given another chance to do something that I love to do", Woods said. The 79-year-old Nicklaus holds the record for most major golf championships with 18, with Woods now trailing the mark by three.
Woods signed for a two-under 70 in the final round, finishing on minus 13, just ahead of Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
'It doesn't change what I do, I won't change the way I prepare for majors.
"I was just trying to plod my way along the golf course all day", said Woods.More news: Marcus Smart Diagnosed With Torn Oblique, To Miss 4-6 Weeks
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Even a bogey at the last could not wipe the huge grin off Tiger's face as he basked in the glory of victory on the grandest stage, having feared he would never play again following a series of troublesome back injuries. "Prior to comeback, they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain".
"They were at the Open a year ago when I had the lead, made a few mistakes, and cost myself a chance to win".
Woods showed he still had the game to compete with the world's best when he triumphed in last year's Tour Championship, his first victory of any kind since 2013. "I'm at a loss for words really".
'Maybe next time would have been better for me, but it was nice to be out with him, he played well, hit the right shots at the right time and he deserved to win. "So I enjoy it, it's fun, getting definitely more comfortable with it as every major goes by".
'I fought hard today as well and think I made a few new fans with those two double bogeys.
Three-time Masters victor Nick Faldo said Sunday's win provided "the greatest scene in golf forever", while 1993 US PGA victor Paul Azinger told BBC Sport numerous game's elite names would now get their wish to compete against Woods.
"So, you know, he's got me shaking in my boots, guys".