Tom Watson, five-time winner of the British Open and two-time winner of the U.S. Open, has resigned from the Kansas City Country Club after businessman Henry Bloch reportedly was denied admission to the club because he is Jewish.
"They put a prominent Jewish person up for membership and his application was withdrawn," Watson said. "It's something I can't personally live with because my family is Jewish."
Watson is not Jewish, but his wife, Linda, and their two children are.
Watson, 41, became a junior member of the club when he was 21 and has been a full-time member for the past six years.
Bloch, chairman and cofounder of the tax consulting firm of H&R Block, reportedly was turned down for application despite being sponsored at the club by three of the city's leading civic and business leaders: Donald Hall, chairman of Hallmark Cards; James Kemper, chairman of Commerce Bancshares, and Richard Green, chairman of UtiliCorp United All three belong to the club's membership committee.
L. Chandler Smith, president of the 94-year-old club, said the club had no blacks among its 400 foundation members. Asked if the club has any Jewish members, Smith said: "To the best of my knowledge, no."