As you might expect, Arnold Palmer had a busy day on Thursday.
He oversaw the first round of his Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where the strongest field on the PGA Tour so far this season has gathered.
He taped a promo for the Golf Channel. He signed autographs for fans. He spent some time with sponsors like Ketel One. He even gave Graeme McDowell a 1-iron out on the range.
And, oh yeah, he had dinner with Kate Upton.
Upton's manger is Lisa Benson, whose father is from Punxsutawney, Pa., and used to play golf with Palmer at Latrobe Country Club. She was looking for a job at IMG, which, in addition to managing sports and entertainment, also represents top models. Her father talked to Palmer, who talked to IMG to arrange an interview. She got the job and years later connected with Upton.
Upton grew up in Melbourne, Fla., not far from Orlando, and her parents were huge Arnie fans. Upton thought it would be a great idea to come to Bay Hill, meet Palmer and see the work he's doing with the two children’s hospitals that bear his name.
She also plans to take part in a social media campaign involving Palmer's iced tea-lemonade drink.
Every time I've met Arnie, I've gotten a hearty handshake. Upton, however, got a big smooch on the cheek (to which I say, way to go, Arnie!). Palmer also welcomed Upton into Arnie's Army by affixing one of his famous umbrella pins on her lapel – and earning, yet again, the respect and envy of every guy in the world of golf.