Nicklaus told Sky Sports that he thinks Woods is the best bet to win the tournament, which begins Thursday at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. Woods hasn't won the U.S. Open since 2008. It was previously his most-recent win at a major, before he won his fifth green jacket in April at the 2019 Masters Tournament.
Woods failed to make the third round cut in his most-recent major, carding a 5-over-par through the first two rounds at the 2019 PGA Championship. Woods also entered that tournament as a favorite.
"I would think Tiger [is the favorite]," Nicklaus told Sky Sports. "Tiger won there by a million there the last time he won, he grew around that area and he is smart, so knows how to play there."
"I think Tiger will play well but a lot of the guys are playing well too, so it'll be a good tournament."
If Woods wants to win his 16th major, he'll have to contend with Brooks Koepka. The budding superstar moved to the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Ranking after winning the PGA Championship and placing second in the Masters. Woods owns the No. 5 spot in the rankings. Koepka has won the last two U.S. Open titles.
Koepka is the betting favorite (+800) to win the 2019 U.S. Open, according to BetOnline.AG. Dustin Johnson (+900), Rory McIlory (+900) and Woods (+1200) trail Koepka with the best odds of winning the U.S. Open Championship Trophy.
Nicklaus won four of his record 18 major championships at the U.S. Open. Woods won by a record 15 strokes at the 2000 U.S. Open.