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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has been given the green light to work on his own golf course designs after a judge ruled in his favour.

The 18-time major winner is being sued by Nicklaus Companies, which he founded, after a business deal turned sour.

It is alleged he is guilty of breach of contract, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.

Following a three-day hearing, Justice Joel M. Cohen ruled the 82-year-old is “free to compete” with the company for golf course design work and other business, excluding commercial endorsements.

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After the ruling was handed down it was announced Nicklaus and his wife Barbara have set up a new design business, 1-JN.

Earlier this month it emerged the Golden Bear had lodged a court filing accusing former business partner Howard Milstein of trying to “control every aspect” of his life.

Milstein claimed Nicklaus was paid $145million to provide exclusive services to Nicklaus Companies.

After the financial crash of 2008 Milstein took full control of the firm, at which point Nicklaus attempted to leave but was persuaded not to.

He eventually quit the company earlier this year after his friend Scott Tolley was sued for carrying out a task on his behalf.

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“Once Howard had permanent control of the company, he acted as if he owned me,” he said via a filing to the court.

“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.”

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