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Golf legend Jack Nicklaus 'battling to reclaim his own name and likeness after selling it for $145 million'

Ryan Smart

| Last updated 

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus 'battling to reclaim his own name and likeness after selling it for $145 million'

Golf icon Jack Nicklaus is locked in a battle to reclaim control of his name from a former business partner, it has been reported.

Nicklaus is one of the greatest players in the history of golf, winning 18 major championships throughout his career.

He ranks third on the all-time list of PGA Tour event wins with 73, behind Sam Sneed and Tiger Woods.

In 1986, at 46, he produced an infamous charge on the fourth and final day to win the Masters. He hit six-under-par on the back nine to claim an incredible one-shot victory.


Nicklaus played on until the age of 65, with The Open Championship in 2005 his final professional event.

Now 83, the American sporting icon is currently embroiled in a legal battle with former partner Howard Milstein.


Milstein, 70, is the chairman and president and chief executive of both the New York Private Bank & Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant Bank. He was named as a defendant in the case.


According to 8AM Golf, Milstein was originally selected by Nicklaus as his partner to 'ensure his legacy and institutionalise the Nicklaus brand', and is currently chairman of Nicklaus Companies.

Nicklaus 'in legal battle to reclaim name'

As per a report from Sports Illustrated, Nicklaus has been trying to regain control of his name and likeness in federal court.

He is claiming that he sold a non-exclusive right to use the property, with the defendant claiming that the rights sold to him in 1994, for a total of $145 million, were exclusive.


A Floridian federal court ruled that it could not grant Nicklaus any control of the property, stating that the 'central issue' was a question of exclusivity versus non-exclusivity.

A judge agreed with Milstein's argument that, because the New York court had 'already issued a preliminary injunction barring Nicklaus from using his name and likeness while it adjudicated the dispute', the federal court had 'no jurisdiction over Nicklaus's intellectual property'.

They separately moved Nicklaus' state law claims to another court in Florida. The case was previously elevated to federal level at Milstein's request.


As per Yahoo Sports, Nicklaus Companies purchased Nicklaus' intellectual property for $145 million in 2007, and has since used it to develop course design, real estate development and branded merchandise, among others.

Nicklaus and his legal representatives will continue fighting.

His lead attorney told Sports Illustrated: "It doesn't change anything. We will just be back in Florida State court where it started."

A Nicklaus Companies spokesperson said: "We are pleased the court ruled in favor of Nicklaus Companies and dismissed the elements of the case that arise under Federal law, noting that the New York court has already taken jurisdiction over the factual claims in this dispute.


"Nicklaus Companies will be seeking similar relief from the state court in Florida."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Golf

Ryan Smart
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