JACK NICKLAUS believes Tiger Woods still has the talent and work ethic to surpass his record of 18 Major titles.
But the Golden Bear claims the number of fearless young contenders around will make the task difficult.
Woods goes into this week's Open looking to win his first Major since the 2008 US Open.
But the 36-year-old has been in good form.
Woods overtook Nicklaus in the all-time PGA Tour winners list this month with his 74th title, and third in recent months. He is now second only to Sam Snead, who won 82.
Woods has won 14 Majors and Nicklaus would not be surprised to see his own feat come under pressure.
He said: "I've said many times his work ethic is so good and his desire to pass my record is there. I think he is still plenty young enough.
"I believe he can but he has still got to do it. As each tournament passes, he has less chance."
Nicklaus is eager to hang on to his position as the greatest in the top four tournaments, and believes the emergence of 2011 US Open winner Rory McIlroy among other promising players could help keep him safe.
"With Rory coming along, Ricky Fowler coming along you've got Dustin Jo hnson, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Luke Donald. Every week you have another. That makes it more difficult for Tiger."