CBS Sports broadcaster Amanda Balionis is now in her fourth year on the job for the network’s golf and football coverage. The 35-year-old’s charisma, astute interviewing skills and easy rapport with players have quickly made her one of the game’s biggest media stars.
While Balionis is responsible for conducting dozens of interviews over the course of a tournament week, it turns out there is one player who stands out as her favorite. On this week’s episode of Subpar, hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz asked Balionis is there’s anyone in particular that she always looks forward to interviewing, and she didn’t hesitate.
“Jon Rahm,” she said. “Always, always. I mean, and since our very first interview — you know, there are those guys that you’re just like, you’re built different. And it’s so obvious that he thinks differently, he handles himself differently. He studies philosophy in his downtime because he’s interested in it. He’s just such a well-rounded person, and looks at golf and life in this really holistic way. Really, I had to do a lot of introspection at some point in my life when I went through my yoga teacher training, and then my dad passing away, and figuring out, like, how do you balance life with work when all of those things are kind of all-consuming and intertwining. The things that he talks about, journaling every day, meditation, accepting where you are and who you are.
“I thought he embraced the whole thing — he was under fire for having a bad temper on the course,” Balionis continued. “A couple years ago it was all people talked about. But then you talked to him off the course, he’d be like, yeah, you know what, I had to let it out, and now I’m good. It’s not like he ever gave angry interviews. He was never doing things that were offensive. He was literally just letting it out, and then he was good. He just can’t keep it in. And I loved his acknowledgment, he’s a 20-something-year-old, just saying, yeah, you know what, I’m pretty fiery, I’m pretty passionate, but that’s what makes me great and it’s what makes me who I am and yeah, I’ll try to work on it if everyone’s upset about it.
“He just comes from this place of acceptance — this unbelievable acceptance of himself, and who he wants to be and the golfer he wants to be,” Balionis concluded. “He’s always working at how to be a better player and person in a very holistic way. So I feel like every time I interview him you learn something really insightful, not just about him the player, but him the person.”
For more from Balionis, including her biggest on-camera disaster and her picks for a broadcast dream team made up of PGA Tour players, check out the full episode below.