The 77-year-old legend is just hoping that Woods will get his life in order.
"Whether he plays golf or not, I think he's got an awful lot to offer the youth of the country and the game itself," Nicklaus said in an interview with USA Today on Monday. "Tiger's a good kid, he cares about people, and we'll just see what happens.
"I hope he gets his life straightened out with the problems he's had and be able to lead a normal life, but also use what he has done and his legacy to help a lot of kids and a lot of other people."
The 41-year-old Woods, who has won 14 major titles, has been plagued by injuries and personal issues the past few years.
The most recent incident was a DUI arrest in Florida, which he said was caused by prescription medication after his most recent back surgery and a sleep disorder.
Woods announced that he will not attend this week's Quicken Loans National, the PGA Tour stop that serves as a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation's college access program for youth. In past years, he has attended even when he did not play in the tournament.
There is no indication from Woods when or if he will return to play on tour. The fourth procedure on his back in April was a major fusion surgery.
"He might come back and play -- I think it'd be pretty tough for him, after getting fused, and as many problems as he's had recently," Nicklaus said at the Creighton Farms Invitational in Virginia, a charity fundraiser for children's pediatric health care programs. "His problems are more life problems than they are golf problems right now."