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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus accused his former business partner of attempting to control “every aspect” of his life in court documents filed in New York.

The 18-time major winner was the subject of a lawsuit by Howard Milstein earlier this year which alleged breach of contract, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.

Milstein claimed Nicklaus was paid $145million in 2007 to provide exclusive services and properties to the Nicklaus Companies, which the golfer founded.

The pair’s business deal came about when Nicklaus turned his attention to course design and partnered with Emigrant Bank, controlled by Milstein, which bought 49% of the Nicklaus Companies via that $145m payment and 51% equity interest in the new company.

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As a result of the financial crash of 2008 the company required additional financing, which in turn led to Milstein taking control. Nicklaus attempted to leave, but was persuaded not to.

In court filings, Nicklaus said: “Once Howard had permanent control of the company, he acted as if he owned me. He tried to control every aspect of my life, from what I did, to whom I spoke with, to where I went, as if I was his property.

“I always tried to be respectful, but there was no respect in return. I also tried very hard to make the relationship work, but it became increasingly obvious that I had aligned myself with a person who didn’t respect me as a human being.”

Nicklaus eventually quit the company in May this year after his friend Scott Tolley was sued for carrying out tasks on his behalf.

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“I went from being the company’s owner to being a disrespected employee,” he added.

“I made a deal that I thought would allow me to continue controlling the business I had built, but it did not work out that way. Howard made a deal too, however and that didn’t include ownership of me for the rest of my life.”

As a result of an injunction granted last month, Nicklaus is prevented from agreeing new endorsement deals during the legal process. His motion to dismiss the lawsuit has also been denied.

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