Happy Father's Day

I don't like to name-drop, but I'm going to.

I've played golf with Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson.

Really nice guy.

I've played golf with Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.

Not as nice.

My lone hole-in-one, I was playing with Jay Randolph's son on a media day event in St. Louis.

Jay Jr. is a jerk.

I've played golf with Tom Henke, Rod Smith, Wayne Gretzky,ã??Mickey Rooney and John Daly --- the latter, at least 40 times when he was in Jefferson City and attending Helias.

Wait, didn't want to gloss over that. But yes, Mickey Rooney, just nine holes, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. Mickey Rooney. How cool is that?

I played golf with Payne Stewart. Not 40 times like with long John, but five or six.

I played hundreds of times with Ed Loeffler. My dad. A great golfer who won the Missouri High School individual state championship, played on scholarship at LSU after serving in World War II, won the championship at Jefferson City Country Club countless times, finished second in the Missouri State Amateur in 1955, later won the Missouri Senior Amateur Championship, and gave John Daly numerous golf lessons.

My dad wasn't good at playing and teaching golf, he was great.

He passed away in 1991, but still ... Happy Father's Day, Dad. You are still sorely missed.

Payne Stewart grew up in Springfield and his father, Bill, was good friends with my dad. Thus, we had a natural foursome. The Stewarts won most of the matches, but the Loefflers came through a time or two. Mostly thanks to my dad.

My sister, Mary, dated Payne for a few months in the mid-70's.ã??Talk about name-dropping ... I never dated him.

"I met Payne the summer before he went to SMU," Mary Schreimann said. She's married to Don, twin brother of former Jefferson City Mayor, Duane.

"I think I met him in a golf tournament in Kansas that dad was playing in," Mary continued. "He was very personable. We were friends and we dated a little bit, but it was never anything serious.ã??We just enjoyed each other's company."

Did Payne wear knickers on the golf course back in the 70's?

"No," my sister chuckled, "he didn't."

Their relationship was brief, but still special.

"We corresponded after he went to SMU, but just the distance and the fact we weren't that serious, that kind of put an end to it," Mary said. "But I do still have his letters.

"There was a group of us who went to a nightclub one evening, and Payne and I danced to Stairway to Heaven. That memory will always be special to me."

Stewart, and four others, died in an airplane crash on Oct. 25, 1999, when the plane lost cabin pressure. All were dead before the plane ultimately crashed in South Dakota.

"I was devastated," Mary said. "I was working in Lee's Summit at the time and it came over the radio. I was so devastated, I had to leave work. It was just heartbreaking and I just went out and drove around.

"To hear that news about somebody so special and so full of life ... my heart ached."

On the 15th anniversary of Stewart's win this weekend at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst --- when he made one of the most memorable putts ever on the 72nd hole of a major championship --- here's to you, Payne. Heã??and his wife, Tracey, had/have two children.

Happy Father's Day to all of you, especially to my Dad. And to Payne. And Bill.

Sadly, our foursome only has one player left.