Amanda Balionis is becoming a household name to golf fans who tune in to TNT and CBS Sports broadcasts. Here’s what you need to know about her.
Bethpage is a homecoming of sorts for her: Balionis attended Hofstra University in college, transferring from Kurtztown in Pennsylvania. Hofstra is a mere 12 miles from Bethpage Black.
She started small and worked her way up: Balionis climbed her way to the top, starting her media career in earnest at Hofstra, where she majored in broadcast journalism and worked at the student newspaper. She interned for CBS 2, ABC News NOW, the New York Islanders, and New York Jets. From there, she started her professional career at a local newspaper in Lancaster. In 2011 she started as a reporter for the PGA Tour, then went to Callaway, eventually working her way to CBS Sports in 2017.
She loves the Pittsburgh Steelers: Gotta cheer for the home team, right?
She’s golf-obsessed, but not golf-exclusive: She grew up in a family that loved golf, as she does. But she recently began covering college and pro football as well. She covered her first Super Bowl this year, which was a challenge she said she enjoyed. “I love being challenged and I love doing new things,” she told GOLF.com in an interview discussing her Super Bowl debut
She saw Brooks’ PGA triumph coming: During CBS’ Wednesday press conference, she was spot-on with her prediction of the underrated storyline of PGA Championship week: Brooks Koepka.
“It’s unbelievable what he’s been able to accomplish in such a short period of time, in all of the majors he’s been able to collect, and it still doesn’t feel like we talk about him enough, and we also don’t give him the credit I think that he really deserves, and especially coming off last week,” she said. “He’s in unbelievable form, and I’m not seeing his name all over the place when you think of guys that are going to be in contention this week. So I think to me, Brooks Koepka is still somehow one of the most underplayed stories heading into this week. I understand Tiger at the Masters. Tiger is Tiger, and he’s going to be talked about a lot. But that does not mean that we’re not going to see some tremendous things from elite players that are going to be around for a very, very long time and hopefully create some rivalries that we’re going to be really looking forward to for the next couple decades.”
She’s garnered golf tips from Peter Kostis and media tips from Jim Nantz: The duo makes for a nice, well-rounded skill set. “I’m too competitive to be okay with where my game’s at right now,” she said, discussing the advice Kostis gave her.
In her ninth year in the golf world, Balionis is a seasoned vet: At the PGA Tour she appeared on shows like “Trending on Tour,” “Buy a Mulligan,” and “PGA Tour Live.” By the time she made the move to CBS, Balionis was prepared for the new adventure.
She’s a dog-lover: Balionis is heavily involved in the charity “K9 for Warriors,” which trains dogs to become service animals for vets. She’s a humane society regular.
Her style is on point: In January, GOLF Magazine named her one of the Most Stylish People in Golf, a nod to her well-crafted fashion. In 2018, though, she noted that hasn’t always been the case. “When I started with PGATour.com in 2011, it was the first time I ever really had to style myself and do my own hair and makeup,” Balionis said. “Rugby shirts were really in then, and I had this thick, wraparound rugby polo. I wore it on camera one time, and my mom called me. It’s the only time she’s ever done this. She said, “Donate that shirt. I never want to see it on you again.” I went back and looked at it and thought, Oh yeah, that was bad.”
Balionis has crafted a large social media following: She has amassed over 80,000 followers on Twitter and over 113,000 Instagram followers — a clear sign of her influence in the golf media ecosystem. She frequently engages fans and retweets some of her interviews. Occasionally, she’ll even clap back at detractors.
Considering I asked zero of those things in that interview.. 🤔 I think I’ll keep doing my job ☺️ have a great day and hope you enjoy a great PGA Championship!
— Amanda Balionis (@Amanda_Balionis) May 17, 2019