Woods, who has struggled with injuries in recent years, was awarded the medal by United States president Donald Trump after he shockingly took home the 2019 Masters title.
It was Woods' 15th major win but his first since 2008.
"Heartfelt congrats to [Tiger Woods] on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this evening!" Nicklaus wrote on Twitter.
Heartfelt congrats to @TigerWoods on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this evening! His impact on golf and his ability to inspire others to play this great game is on par with his incredible talent!
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) May 6, 2019
"His impact on golf and his ability to inspire others to play this great game is on par with his incredible talent!"
Woods became the fourth golfer to be honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Arnold Palmer received the award in 2004 while Nicklaus and Charlie Sifford followed in 2005 and 2014 respectively.
"Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive," Trump said on Monday.
"These qualities embody the American spirit of pushing boundaries, defying limits and always striving for greatness."
Woods was ranked as low as 1,199th in the world as recently as November 2017. He thanked his family and friends during the ceremony.
"You've seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows," Woods said. "I would not be in this position without all of your help.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom – along with the Congressional Medal of Freedom – is the highest award given to civilians in the United States.
Other notable athletes who have earned the medal include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, among others.
Photo Getty Images. Caption: Tiger Woods